Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have signed a two-fight contract to unify all four belts in the heavyweight division. The winner will be the undisputed heavyweight champion, something that has not been done in over 20 years since Lennox Lewis. The winner will also be the first man to be the undisputed heavyweight champion during the four-belt era, when Lewis was undisputed, there were only three recognized belts.
The announcement comes after a seemingly endless period of negotiations, but boxing fans can rest easy now that both men have put pen to paper.
Per ESPN, the first fight in the two-fight deal will see a 50-50 purse split. The second fight, however, will have a 60-40 split in favor of the winner of the first fight. ESPN also reports that in an ideal world, both fights will take place in 2021, with the first in the summer and the second in the winter.
While the terms have been agreed upon, the venue has not been made official yet. According to Eddie Hearn, they have been approached from “eight or nine” sites between the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the United States. This is the biggest fight to make in boxing, and there will be no shortage of venues that would love to host this event.
The ideal location to host the event, however, seems to be the Middle East. When Saudi Arabia hosted Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz for their second fight, Eddie Hearn was paid a site fee of $40 million. Given restrictions on in-person attendance due to Covid-19, a larger site fee will help both fighters earn the amount of money they deserve.
Both Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have arguments that they are the true heavyweight champion, and that is what makes the fight so intriguing. Tyson Fury ended the Wladimir Klitschko reign in 2015, and was the king of the division. However, Fury’s well-documented issues with mental health and weight gain kept him out of the ring, and he lost all of his belts.
While Fury was out of commission, Joshua quickly climbed the heavyweight ranks, picking up three of the four major belts, and also defeating Klitschko in a fight of the year candidate.
Fury feels he is the true champion because he is the lineal champion and never lost his titles in the ring. Joshua feels he is the top dog in the division because he holds three of the four belts.