‘No reason’ Joshua v Fury fight in Saudi Arabia won’t be finalised this week

Eddie Hearn has insisted there is “no reason” why Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight unification showdown with Tyson Fury will not be finalised this week, with the fight expected to take place in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on either 7 or 14 August.

Hearn’s pronouncement came after Joshua expressed his frustration at the lack of a deal, saying on social media that he was “tired” of waiting before demanding “less talk, more action”. Fury then responded by calling his rival a “big ugly dosser” and suggesting he was “no talk, no action”.

Hearn was more upbeat, however, saying a contract for the fight was close, even though Fury is yet to agree terms. “From our perspective and AJ’s perspective, we’re ready to go,” he said. “From Tyson Fury’s perspective, they’ve got a couple of lawyers across it from their point.

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen this week. We’re not far away from their side and it is inevitable, but at the same time we’ve got to close the door on it.”

After confirming the fight would be staged in Saudi Arabia, Hearn said his preference was for it to take place on 14 August. “You’ve got the Olympics finishing on 7 August, so in terms of a global spectacle it would make sense to go on the 14th. That’s one of the things to tick off in the next, hopefully, few days.”

Fury has been inactive since he stopped Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC title 15 months ago, while Joshua has not fought since defending his WBA, IBF and WBO belts with a knockout win against Kubrat Pulev in December. And while talks about a reunification match have dragged on, Hearn insisted people should not read too much into Joshua’s and Fury’s barbs on social media.

“We’re in a stage where people are getting frustrated,” said Hearn. “The deal is done. Now we’re on the finer details of the contract. At some point people are going to have to take a little bit of a leap of faith in this deal.”

However one potential stumbling block for an August date is over how Joshua’s coach Rob McCracken will divide his loyalties. As well as preparing Joshua, McCracken is also responsible for training and coaching the GB boxing team for the Tokyo Olympics in July and early August.

Fury’s British promoter, Frank Warren, has also suggested a deal will not be signed until his man is guaranteed the fight purse, but Hearn insisted the Saudi backers would deliver.

“We know the magnitude of the people we are dealing with,” he added. “We’re probably a little bit more comfortable than they are, because they are new to this, and I get that, so we have to make them comfortable.”