Fight fans were led to believe that the Canelo-Saunders event in America on May 8 was going to provide the perfect platform for the announcement of the Joshua-Fury undisputed mega-fight, yet it didn’t happen, and the silence has extended even further into the following week.
There’s been a location and date revealed – Saudi Arabia on August 14 – but the all-important binding contract has still not been signed.
Danny Flexen from SecondsOut interviewed Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren on Monday, May 10 to find out exactly what’s holding up the announcement for the undisputed world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Warren said candidly, “I’ve hardly made any statements, every time I get asked a question I say what the reality is. I’ve been accused of being negative and that I don’t want the fight, which I find pretty stupid really, but what is there to say until the contract’s signed?
He continued to elaborate on the ongoing negotiations, “You can only sign a contract when all the parties agree on it, and we’ve got a contract at the moment that all the parties don’t agree on. And we’ve got a contract at the moment that Tyson Fury will not sign.
“One of the things in that contract that will enable us to get over the hump is the guarantees, so if the guarantees are there then it’s not a problem, and I’m not even getting down the road of where the fight is going to take place, who the negotiations are with... because it’s all moot at the moment.
“We’re now how many months on? Four months on, we are where we are, every day there’s gonna’ be announcement but until we agree the terms, until Tyson Fury, who we represent, until he’s happy with the terms, it won’t get signed, and he’s not happy at the moment. I don’t know what Anthony Joshua’s position is because we have nothing to do with that.”
He went on to reveal in further detail just what it is in the contract that Tyson Fury isn’t satisfied with, “What it is, is a guarantee for the amount of money that is being paid; until there is a guarantee, until Tyson is satisfied that the money that’s in that contract is guaranteed by bank, then it ain’t gonna’ get signed.
“That’s the main issue and, hopefully, that’ll get addressed; that’s the crux of the matter, that’s 85% of what it’s all about.”
Despite the uncertainty around the deal, the talks persevere to hopefully reach an agreement soon.
Warren provided an update, “I think the lawyers are going to talk again today, our lawyers and everybody else’s lawyers will speak and afterwards, hopefully, they’ll come away with some accommodations to give everybody the comfort level they need.”
Tyson Fury has been seen attending meetings with his US promoter Bob Arum, with rumours of the trilogy with Deontay Wilder being revisited.
Warren stressed that his heavyweight charge is not going to wait around for much longer, even narrowing it down to a “Couple of days” and explained why: “Because we are going to get to the stage where he’ll want to fight, and I know Bob Arum in the States is talking about if he wants to fight in the States, that’ll be in July, so this will need to be settled very quickly one way or another.”
Warren is holding out hope that the talks wil soon get over the line, despite everything going on in the background, “All these things can happen providing that Tyson Fury is happy with the terms, and the comfort level he requires is there. If it’s there, then it’s a no-brainer.”
Eddie Hearn recently provided an update with two dates in August suggested for the Saudi Arabia showdown, with one preferred over the other, and Warren supported the choice, stating, “They were talking about the 7th, which was the Olympics, and UFC have got a pay-per-view that night, so that would be crazy to do, so the 14th, I think, everybody is cool with that day.”
Whilst the discussions drag on, there is a queue beginning to build up in the heavyweight division, with the patient Ukrainian, Oleksandr Usyk, waiting for his title shot at the WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO titlist, Joshua, having earned the mandatory position with the WBO some time ago.
“If it [the deal] isn’t done then AJ will have to have his mandatory against Usyk,” Warren warned. “If Tyson and AJ doesn’t happen and they order AJ to fight Usyk, and they will order it; if he fights Usyk then the good thing is that Joe [Joyce] will go in as the mandatory challenger.”
In an ideal world, however, to appease fight fans the world over, Usyk will meet Joyce, as initially intended, and Fury and Joshua will also meet this summer to crown the first undisputed heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Watch the full interview on SecondsOut YouTube channel here: