Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have signed a two-fight deal to unify the heavyweight belts, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. The plan is for both fights to take place in 2021, with the first in June or July and the rematch later in the year in November or December. A venue is yet to be decided for either fight.
Joshua’s promoter Hearn says the hard work has been done and now it is about finalising when and where the fights will be.
“We’d like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month,” Hearn told ESPN.
“The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters.
“I actually feel we’ve done the hard part.”
Hearn says he has been inundated with offers from up to nine sites to host the fight between Joshua and Fury.
He continued: “Speaking for myself, Anthony and his team at 258 management, I know how hard we’ve worked hard these last couple of months and I just feel that this fight is so big it’s not a difficult sell.
“We’ve already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, eastern Europe and America.
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself.”
ESPN report that the contract will call for a 50-50 split in the first fight and 60-40 in the rematch, with the winner taking the higher amount.
Only days ago Fury had told reports that he was currently not training and was taking a break from the sport.
But Hearn says Fury’s comments must be taken with a pinch of salt.
“You never really know with Tyson,” said Hearn. “It could be mind games.
“He could be having a bad day. He could be a little p***ed off. Or he could be having a joke.
“One of the fascinations about this fight will be the build-up because they’re two totally different characters, two totally different personalities.
“The mind games will be on another level for this fight. Tyson is very good at that.
“Anthony is excited by that… He’s so pumped, so focused, he hasn’t stopped training since the [Kubrat] Pulev fight [in December]. He’s like a caged lion. The buildup is going to be epic.”
WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champ Joshua, cleared his final hurdle, beating Kubrat Pulev in December of last year.
Fury has been out of the ring since that win over Wilder and has admitted that he has stopped training, until a date is finalised.
Speaking to iFL TV, the WBC title holder said: “I am not going to put all my eggs in one basket because I have been guilty of doing that before and, when the fight doesn’t happen, that is when I end up in a massive depression and feel like killing myself.
“I am not going to say ‘it is definitely happening in June or July.’ I have stopped training at the moment, I am on holiday.
“I am drinking anything between eight, ten, 12 pints of lager a day, at the minute. But I am not eating so I am getting my calories through alcohol.”
The long-anticipated ‘Battle of Britain’ between the two men who hold all the marbles in boxing’s heavyweight fold, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, has taken a giant step forward as Eddie Hearn confirms contracts have been signed.
Both Fury and Joshua have long stated their ambitions to fight one another in what would be the highest stakes heavyweight bout in a generation – but top level negotiations between the Fury and Joshua camps (and their respective exclusive broadcasters ESPN and DAZN) had repeatedly hit a brick wall.
Until now, it seems. It was revealed by ESPN on Monday afternoon, via Joshua’s promoter Hearn, that contracts between the two giant fighters have been signed for TWO fights to take place, with at least one of them expected to take place this year.
As of yet, no details regarding the date or the location have been released but it is thought that promoters are still accepting site bids from regions thought to be interested in hosting the fight.
The ongoing situation regarding Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, which would otherwise have almost certainly hosted the fight, means that other territories such as various regions in the Middle East have pulled ahead as potential locations – though it is understood that no decisions have yet been made in this regard.
The signing of the contract between the two fighters represents the culmination of years of speculation of a high profile showdown between the two. The fight has seemed at risk due to language in Deontay Wilder’s contract following his two-fight stint opposite Fury in which he is guaranteed a third fight.
The American indicated after his seventh-round defeat to Fury more than a year ago that he intended to make good of this particular clause. Fury, who openly pined for a fight with Joshua, expressed his reticence at the idea – and finally seems to have secured the blockbuster fight he has been chasing. Also on rt.com12 pints a day: Boxing champ Tyson Fury reveals he’s back on the booze and Anthony Joshua megafight is ‘nowhere near’ being agreed
The Fury-Joshua megafight, when it happens, will unify the major recognized titles in boxing’s heavyweight division – with the winner being crowned boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champ since Lennox Lewis twenty years ago.
Predictably, fight fans are already having their say as to who will come out on top when Fury and Joshua finally step into the ring, with some speculating that Joshua will “win by KO” while others just seem to be content that the fight appears to have finally been agreed after months of promotional foreplay. Also on rt.com‘Joshua is mentally hurt since Ruiz. Fury would outbox him’: Former foe Wallin on potential heavyweight unification
Twins Jedward, 29, have sparked outrage on social media after they voiced their opinions on the Winston Churchill statue, which is based in Parliament Square, London. The former X Factor contestants argued that the sculpture of the former British prime minister “has no place in today’s society”.
Jedward – which consists of twin brothers John and Edward Grimes – also shared a suggestion about what should be done with the statue, as they hit out at former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, 55.
The pop stars penned in view of their 632,000 followers last night: “Get that Winston Churchill statue and f*** it into Piers Morgan’s back garden it has no place in today’s society!”
Piers replied to Jedward’s tweet this morning, writing in view of his 7.8million followers: “a) I’d be honoured to have that statue in my garden. b) Churchill saved Britain from the Nazis & contributed more to society every time he breathed than you talentless disrespectful clowns have done in your combined 58 years of gormless tuneless imbecility.”
Twitter users also took to the comments section of the singers’ post to share their thoughts on their controversial statement.
Some criticised the Irish duo’s words, with one person saying: “Yes, Churchill was racist, but he got us through the worst period in time ever.”
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A fourth said: “Keep going lads, you’re doing brilliantly. I completely agree with you.”
Jedward’s comments come after the Metropolitan Police were pictured forming a protective ring around the statue of Winston Churchill after a protest in Westminster had finished.
Thousands of people gathered together outside Scotland Yard on Sunday to protest police use of force at a vigil for Sarah Everard.
Reacting to the police’s move, crowds could be heard chanting: “Protect women, not statues.”
Sarah, 33, is alleged to have been kidnapped and murdered by a serving police officer while she walked home from a friend’s flat in south London.
The Churchill statue was previously defaced with the words “was a racist” at an anti-racism demonstration in June last year.
Some have argued the monument should be taken down as Churchill held racist views.
Speaking to the Palestinian Royal Commission in 1937, the late politician said: “I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia.
“I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”
Tyson Fury has suggested that his highly-anticipated heavyweight unification fight with Anthony Joshua may not be as close to fruition as previously reported. A meeting between the two British champions has been in the works for some time, with Fury’s promoter Bob Arum claiming earlier this month that a deal has been agreed and is ready to be signed off.
Negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage, with only a few details including the fight date and location yet to be ironed out.
Both Fury and Joshua have repeatedly expressed their desire to face one another over the last few months.
The eventual winner of the bout would become the first undisputed champion of the division since Lennox Lewis in 1999, with all four versions of the heavyweight title up for grabs.
Although all the murmurs since Joshua’s victory over Kubrat Pulev in December have pointed to a unification fight happening sooner rather than later, Fury has poured cold water on the possibility of an imminent announcement.
The ‘Gypsy King’ told IFL TV that a number of potential setbacks could still put an end to negotiations, claiming that Arum and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn are only talking about the bout in order to maintain the buzz and anticipation surrounding it.
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“Eddie Hearn’s a boxing promoter, so is Bob Arum. It’s their job to sell the fight,” said Fury, who has not entered the ring since his win over Deontay Wilder in February of last year.
“Joshua is saying what he’s saying, I don’t know what he’s saying, I’m not on social media at the moment at all. So whatever they say is very unimportant to me.
“Until I’ve got a date, a fight date, and a hell of a load of money in my pocket, there’s no fight. There’s a lot of things going on, that people don’t know [about] behind the scenes, that could scupper a fight like that.
“So nothing’s actually on until you’re actually in the ring. We’re nowhere near that at the moment.”
When pressed on what he could do in order to push through a deal, Fury argued that his hands are tied as he is not involved in the crunch talks between Arum and Hearn.
He stressed that nothing is imminent, but expressed his belief that he will eventually trade blows with Joshua at some point regardless of how current talks proceed.
“It’s out of my hands, it’s nothing to do with me,” added Fury. “Nothing to do with me at all, I’m just a boxer.
“There’s a lot of things behind the scenes going on like I say that can alter a fight.
“Do I think I’m going to be fighting Joshua in the next ten minutes? Hell no. Do I think the fight will eventually happen sooner or later? Yes.
“It has to happen, but do I think it’s imminent, right next minute? No, I don’t. We’ve seen Mayweather and Pacquiao, how long did that go on for?”
Fury is yet to taste defeat in his professional career but could face his toughest challenge to date against Joshua, who has just one stain on his otherwise unblemished record.
The Watford-born fighter was sensationally stopped in 2018 by Andy Ruiz Jr, a result that was successfully avenged a year later.
Fury’s closest shave came in the final round of his first meeting with Wilder, when he was brutally knocked to the canvas by the big-punching American.
The 32-year-old somehow rose to his feet to see out the fight, which ultimately ended in a controversial draw.
Don’t Rock the Boat: Freddie Flintoff hosts ITV reality show
The TV star has found fame on reality shows League Of Their Own, Top Gear and more, after 11 years as an England cricketer. Flintoff, who features on the ITV Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey tonight, candidly spoke out about his struggles in the sport and bravely admitted his battle with bulimia. The 43-year-old has seldomly spoken out on politics but in one tweet seemed to reveal his concerns over Brexit.
Flintoff appeared to be worried about the UK’s decision to leave the EU five years ago.
His apparent unease with Brexit came in spite of 52 percent of the public voting to depart from the bloc.
The celebrity joined a list of sportspeople who seemed in opposition to the referendum’s result on Twitter.
Match Of The Day star Gary Lineker claimed there had been “disgusting lies” in the campaign and felt “ashamed” of his generation.
Andrew Flintoff called ‘start today again’ after the UK voted for Brexit in 2016 (Image: BBC / GETTY)
Andrew Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp will star on ancestry show Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey tonight (Image: ITV)
He tweeted: “We’ve let down our children and their children.’”
Former British athlete Paula Radcliffe said she was “in shock” on Twitter and felt people “forgot” the EU was set up “to end wars and create unity and strength”.
On the day of the EU referendum’s results – June 24, 2016 – Flintoff also made his thoughts known, when he wrote: “Can we start today again please?”
His tweet was liked by 1,200 people on Twitter and retweeted 340 times.
JUST IN: Freddie Flintoff: Tragic snub that led TV star to hid bulimia battle
Andrew Flintoff spent 11 years on the England cricket team (Image: GETTY)
One Flintoff fan argued that he shouldn’t be so downbeat about the result and wrote: “Change is good! Exciting times ahead!”
A second quipped that it was “not a good time for a Boris Johnson lookalike to be wandering the streets” and advised him to “stay indoors”.
A third added: “Freddy (sic) does this mean we get the Ashes back?”
The individual referred to Flintoff’s call for a rerun of the referendum, which they felt could also be argued for cricket.
Andrew Flintoff turned down from TV show after ‘failing to impress’ [INSIGHT] Freddie Flintoff: Tragic snub that led TV star to hid bulimia battle [VIDEO] Andrew Flintoff: Heartbreak behind star’s ‘bulletproof’ image [INTERVIEW]
Express.co.uk relay the Brexit timeline (Image: EXPRESS)
Another remarked: “We all know a t*** who voted Remain.”
Flintoff didn’t respond to the tweets but some appeared to support his call to “start today again”.
One quipped: “It’s yesterday that needs to be started again, Andrew.”
Others interpreted Flintoff’s remark to be a call for a second EU referendum.
Andrew Flintoff revealed he battled with bulimia while on the England cricket team in a BBC show (Image: BBC)
One user wrote: “I wonder if we could start the voting again, this time, based on truth?”
A second added: “We’d welcome all the Remain voters.”
A third questioned whether “the North of England” could “secede from the UK along with Scotland”.
In a 2018 Lancashire Post article, Flintoff was referenced as a positive point for Brexit.
Top Gear: Freddie Flintoff takes on terrifying Wall of Death
The piece argued that leaving the EU could lead to “a spike” in “staycation holidays” – a term for people vacationing in their own country.
Rachel McQueen, the then-CEO of Marketing Lancashire, felt there was a “window of opportunity” for the UK to become more attractive to holidaymakers.
She felt Lancashire needed to “maximise” and “attract people” to the county to take advantage of the uncertainty of being able to holiday abroad.
Ms McQueen said: “The domestic market is strong and we already get many visitors from overseas from within the EU and outside of the EU.”
Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey, which reveals celebrities’ family histories, stars Andrew Flintoff tonight (Image: ITV)
In 2016, Lancashire attracted 67 million visitors – generating £4.13billion and supporting 59,000 jobs in the county.
The Post argued that celebrities and tourism based around them could help to bring more people to Lancashire.
They cited Flintoff and Good Morning Britain star Ranvir Singh as potential “high-profile ambassadors” for the area.
Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey, which stars Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp, airs tonight at 9pm on ITV.
Canelo Alvarez is back in the ring tonight just two-and-a-half months after his last outing against Callum Smith in December. The pound-for-pound great defends his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim in Miami.
It’s the first bout of the two-fight deal he signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing following his recent split with Golden Boy Promotions.
The Turkish underdog is ranked No 1 with the WBC but has not fought in two years, when he was beaten by Anthony Dirrell in Minneapolis.
Yildirim comes into the fight as a massive underdog, as Canelo looks to warm up for a potential mega-clash with Billy Joe Saunders in May.
British fans may remember him after he was on the end of a brutal knockout from Chris Eubank Jr in the World Boxing Super Series in 2017.
Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilea, who is tipped to fight Anthony Joshua one day, is also on the card.
Elsewhere, Tyson Fury’s younger brother Tommy is back and will headline BT Sport’s card tonight.
The broadcasters saved the show after the main event between Anto Cacace against Lyon Woodstock for the British super-featherweight title was cancelled.
Woodstock tested positive for Covid but Fury will still get the chance to fight against 0-9 Scott Williams.
Here are the important details you need to watch the action…
Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim
Zhang Zhilea vs Jerry Forrest
Diego Pacheco vs Rodolfo Gomez Jr
Marc Castro vs Raul Corona
Aaron Aponte vs Harry Gigliotti
Keyshawn Davis vs Lester Brown
Alexis Espino vs Ashton Sykes
BT Sport Show
Anthony Cacace vs Lyon Woodstock – OFF
Tommy Fury vs Scott Williams
Kaisy Khademi vs Ijaz Ahmed
Nathan Heaney vs Ryan Oliver
Sam Noakes vs Delmar Thomas
Masood Abdulah vs Taka Bembere
Amaar Akbar vs Chris Adaway
Adan Mohamed vs Brett Fidoe
Canelo vs Yildirim will be live on American streaming service DAZN.
If you’re interested in watching, you can do so in the UK at the cost of £1.99.
The fight can then be streamed via the app or online.
BT Sport will be showing the full Fury card on BT Sport 1.
It is also available via the app which can be streamed on laptops, smart TVs, phones, tablets and game consoles.
Canelo vs Yildirim is set to take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, UK time.
The main event is expected to get underway at around 4am, although there is every chance the undercard could slightly overrun.
As for Fury, the undercard will get underway from 6pm.
He is expected to make his way to the ring at around 8pm.