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Heavyweight title showdown in Saudi Arabia

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Tyson Fury (left) said on May 15 that his long-awaited world heavyweight title unification bout against Anthony Joshua would take place in Saudi Arabia on August 14. AFP

Heavyweight title showdown in Saudi Arabia

Tyson Fury said May 16 his long-awaited world heavyweight title unification bout against Anthony Joshua would take place in Saudi Arabia on August 14.

“Massive announcement FURY VS JOSHUA IS ON AUGUST 14 in The kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The world’s [sic] biggest sporting event all eyes on us,” Fury tweeted.

Between them, the two British boxers hold all four major versions of the heavyweight title.

Saudi Arabia staged the 31-year-old Joshua’s rematch against Andy Ruiz, when the Briton regained his WBA, IBF and WBO titles in December 2019, putting him on a collision course with Fury, who became the WBC champion shortly afterwards.

In a video posted on Twitter, Fury said: “I have got some massive news. I have just got off the phone with Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia and he told me this fight is 100 per cent on, August 14.”

Fury, a year older than Joshua, added: “All eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“I cannot wait, I repeat, cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all-time.

“This is going to be the biggest sporting event ever to grace the planet Earth. Do not miss it.”

What is widely expected to be the richest fight in British boxing history started to loom into view when Fury stopped Deontay Wilder to win the WBC title in February last year after Joshua had avenged the only loss of his professional career by defeating Ruiz.

Joshua retained his three belts in December with a ninth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

Meanwhile a third fight between Fury and Wilder has failed to take place, meaning the ‘lineal champion’ has been inactive in more than 12 months since stopping Wilder in Las Vegas.

Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum recently said a fight in July or August was “dead in the water”.

But earlier this week, Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, said the two camps were close to securing a date as well as a venue.

“August 7, August 14,” Hearn told Sky Sports when asked about a date for Joshua-Fury.

“It’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia. I don’t mind giving that information, Bob Arum’s already done it.”

Hearn added: “It’s the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz, that event was spectacular. As partners, they were fantastic as well, so we’re very comfortable.

“We’re very comfortable. Anthony’s comfortable, he knows those people. They delivered on every one of their promises last time – we’re ready to go.”

Hearn indicated then that August 14 was the more likely date so as to avoid a clash with the Olympics, which are scheduled to finish six days earlier provided the coronavirus pandemic does not force a change or even scupper the already delayed Tokyo Games completely.

Joshua warned on Twitter May 17, he was “tired” of waiting around for Fury and demanded “less talk, more action” from his rival.

That in turn led Fury to tell Joshua: “Come get some then you big ugly Dosser???? YOUR [sic] NO TALK NO ACTION.”

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