A heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury appears to be edging ever closer amid speculation that the pair could finally meet in the ring before the end of the year. Both fighters have previously announced their intentions to face each other, with Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn repeatedly claiming that an agreement is just a matter of time.
It has been suggested that Joshua and Fury could fight twice before the start of next year, with Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States among the nations that have expressed an early interest in staging an event.
Joshua currently holds the WBA, IBF and WBO versions of the heavyweight title while Fury is the WBC champion, meaning that a bout would crown the first undisputed king of the division since the days of British legend Lennox Lewis.
All parties are understood to be optimistic about the chances of both fights being made.
Hearn revealed on Wednesday that Matchroom, Joshua’s promoters, have exchanged provisional details with Fury’s camp with a view to a final agreement within the next couple of weeks.
“The first draft of the contract has now gone out to Bob Arum [Fury’s promoter], which is obviously a good thing,” Hearn told the Daily Mail.
“The contract reflects the positive nature of the discussions we have had so far around this fight. We now await their comments before we all move on to agreeing a location.
“We hope to have something signed within the next two weeks.”
Fury’s team are expected to respond with any amendments before the deal is formally signed off.
The report states that the first fight will take place in June, with Joshua and Fury sharing a 50/50 split of the purse.
It is said that each fighter could end up claiming more than £100million after pay-per-view earnings and other fees are taken into account.
In the rematch, the winner of the first fight will benefit from a 60/40 split in their favour.
Many fans will struggle to predict the outcome of a meeting between the two British champions, who have established themselves as the heavyweight division’s standout competitors in recent years.
However, Hearn is confident that Joshua will come away with the spoils despite the threat posed by Fury, who remains unbeaten and will go into the fight off the back of a resounding win over Deontay Wilder last year.
“I believe he [Joshua] knocks Tyson Fury out,” Hearn told the Toe 2 Toe Podcast earlier this month.
“You know, I know that Fury got up from a Wilder shot, the two-shot combination, which he wrote very well.
“None of those shots hit him particularly clean. They were still heavy shots. But you know, you’ve seen him down against [Steve] Cunningham.
“You know, you’ve seen him hurt before and other fights, and AJ is a different kind of beast.”