Everything we know about Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury ahead of announcement

The fight boxing fans craved but often doubted they would see could be announced as early as next week.

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are on the verge of agreeing terms for one of the biggest fights in the sport's history.

Not since Floyd Mayweather took on Manny Pacquiao six years ago has there been such clamour for two men to trade blows.

Should pen hit paper in the coming days, both men look set to earn £100million each, blowing their previous purses out of the water.

The fight would also end the debate as to who is the best heavyweight in the world today, although Fury remains the odds-on favourite with bookmakers.

Here is everything we know so far about the fight…

1. How did we get here?

Twelve months ago, the heavyweight title picture looked very different. Tyson Fury was still one week removed from his rematch with then champion Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.

Fury had recently changed his training team, ditching Ben Davison, the man who had dragged Fury from the edge of the abyss following his three-year drink and drug-fuelled depression.

In Davison's place was SugarHill Steward, nephew of the late, great Emmanuel. Former world champion Andy Lee had also been recruited as had renowned nutritionist George Lockhart.

Fury was promising a change in tactics from his draw with Wilder 14 months previously which saw the Brit twice climb off the canvas only to be denied victory by the judges.

In the event, Fury was true to his word as he stopped Wilder in the seventh round to become world champion for the second time.

And with two Brits holding the four belts, there were ambitious suggestions that they could clash before the year was out.

But at that stage, there were a number of formidable hurdles in the way of the £200m fight. Not only would Fury have to defeat Wilder for a third time, but he would likely then have to face mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte.

And on the other side, Joshua was facing back-to-back mandatory defences of his own, against first Kubrat Pulev and then Oleksandr Usyk.

Then came coronavirus.

Fury's fight with Wilder was moved first from July to October and then to December before the champion walked away from the trilogy.

Whyte, meanwhile, was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin which put his title aspirations on hold for the foreseeable future.

That left Fury free of obligations and all eyes were on Joshua who ensured a collective sign of relief when he stopped Pulev in their ninth round a fortnight before Christmas.

While this was playing out, promoter Eddie Hearn surprised everyone by announcing in June that Joshua and Fury had agreed a 50/50 split for any future fight.

Such a bout was far from agreed but given previous arguments about who would be the 'A-side', it was a significant step forward.

2. What remains to be agreed?

Eddie Hearn has been promising an announcement in the "next couple of weeks" for at least a month.

He remains confident, however, that contracts will be signed soon with just a number of outstanding issues to be resolved, including who walks to the ring first and whose name appears first on the poster.

Contracts have been sent from Joshua's promoter Matchroom to Fury's at Top Rank and revisions have been returned, all of which are agreeable, according to Hearn.

Presumably that includes which broadcasters will show the fight. Somehow, Sky and DAZN (Joshua) have to reach an agreement with BT Sport and ESPN (Fury) which keeps everyone happy.

3. Where and when will the fight be held?

It had been hoped that the date and venue would be revealed at the same time as the announcement but that will no longer be the case.

Once the final contract has been signed, the fight will be put out 'to tender' with interested hosts invited to bid for the right to stage it.

There is no chance the fight will be held in the UK, and that would have been the case without the pandemic. Hearn has said several times that he would be asking the fighters to take a 50 per cent pay cut.

The smart money is on the fight taking place of Saudi Arabia, the venue of Anthony Joshua's revenge mission against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, although Singapore, China, the United States and emirates across the UAE have also registered an interest.

The fight was initially pencilled in for May but now looks set to be held in June, and could clash with the Euro 2020 Championship.

4. How many belts will be on the line?

Although the fight has felt inevitable for some time, there remained a question over whether the winner would be crowned the undisputed heavyweight world champion, the first, indeed, since Lennox Lewis in 2000.

The stumbling block was Oleksandr Usyk who by virtue of being the WBO's cruiserweight world champion, was automatically instated as the sanctioning body's mandatory challenger at heavyweight.

His bid to take on Anthony Joshua had already been delayed by the pandemic and in the interim he took on Derek Chisora in his second fight at the weight.

He made it clear after his points victory that he would target a clash with Joshua which meant all eyes were on the WBO and their stance.

Incredibly, in a sport renowned for giving itself a black eye, the WBO has decided Usyk should fight Joe Joyce for the interim title, allowing Joshua to take on Tyson Fury for all four belts.

5. What about a rematch?

When Eddie Hearn announced financial terms were agreed last summer, he also revealed a two-fight deal had been struck.

The contract states that while the purse for the first fight will be split 50/50, the winner would then earn 60 per cent of the purse in the sequel.

It is hoped a rematch would take place in November or December with Cardiff's Principality Stadium touted as a possible venue.

The number of belts on the line for a second fight would depend on the sanctioning bodies. It is almost certain the WBO title would not be on the line with the winner of the first fight having to vacate, promoting the winner of Joe Joyce vs Oleksandr Usyk to full champion.

The WBA could intervene to order their mandatory with the last one taking place in 2018 when Anthony Joshua knocked out Alexander Povetkin.

But we suspect nobody will complain if there are no belts on the line – seeing the biggest fight in boxing a second time will be more than sufficient.

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