EXCLUSIVE: Tyson Fury locked in talks to face the winner of Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk in HUGE undisputed world heavyweight title bout in Saudi Arabia just days before the World Cup final… with AJ and Usyk’s initial rematch confirmed for August 20
- Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk booked in for August 20
- The British fighter lost to the Ukrainian convincingly in London last year
- A formal announcement of the $100m bout is expected next week
- Tyson Fury’s retirement could end as he is in negotiations to fight the winner
Anthony Joshua’s much-delayed rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is fixed for Saudi Arabia on August 20 and Tyson Fury is in negotiations to fight the winner there in December for the undisputed world heavyweight title.
A formal announcement of the hundred-million-dollar plus deal for Joshua v Usyk II will be made early next week. The Middle East Kingdom is poised to invest even more extravagantly in the Gypsy King’s return from brief retirement for a spectacular which they regard as ‘the next Rumble In The Jungle.’
This ends unfounded speculation that Joshua may hang up the gloves rather than go through with a return bout with Usyk, who stripped him of his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts with an embarrassingly one-sided upset at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.
The formal announcement of the rematch in Saudi Arabia is expected early next week
But the hopes of British fans of Joshua and Fury that the next mega-fights might take place in London are dashed.
Joshua’s August bid for redemption after that second defeat in his last four fights will take place in a lavish, newly-constructed indoor stadium in Jeddah. It is being entitled ‘Rage On The Red Sea.’
The bid by Fury, as holder of the WBC title, to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion is being pitched for between the World Cup semi-finals and Final in Qatar, probably on December 17, while tens of thousands of football fans are in the Middle East.
Anthony Joshua will be looking to win back his heavyweight titles lost to Oleksandr Usyk
The defeat to Usyk was Joshua’s second in his previous four bouts – but they will do it again
A source close to the Saudi Royal family says: ‘This is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030 project to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to the Kingdom alike, leading towards net zero carbon emission.
‘The Crown Prince wants the world to recognise Saudi Arabia as much more than an oil country, of which sports and culture are an integral part.’
The mega-bucks deal has been brokered for the Saudi government by long-time boxing fan Prince Khaled bin Abdulaziz through Skill Challenge Entertainment, who have secure the global rights for Joshua v Usyk.
Tyson Fury said he was hanging up his gloves after stopping Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April
Fury is waiting in the wings to fight the winner of the rematch between Joshua and Usyk
Prince Khaled, who took Joshua’s Clash On The Dunes rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr to Jeddah, says: ‘We are on our way to even greater change in the Kingdom and welcome the world on that journey through sport and specifically more boxing.’
This venture follows the purchase of Newcastle United, the introduction of Formula E motor racing and big name tennis events to Saudi and more recently the launch of the multi-million LIV golf tournaments which have stirred controversy by encouraging leading players to defect from the PGA tour.
The government source there says: ‘Now the eyes of the world will be firmly on the Kingdom for Joshua v Usyk as a prequel to Tyson Fury against the victor for the undisputed crown, a generation-defining event comparable to Muhammad Ali’s Rumble In the Jungle.’
Prince Khaled (L) was influential in bringing Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz to Saudi Arabia in December 2019
The enormous scale of the money added to Prince Khaled’s friendship with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn made the Ruiz and Usyks rematches possible.
A similar relationship with Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has helped engage the Gypsy King in discussions to put a predictable end to premature retirement following his recent spectacular victory over Dillian Whyte at Wembley.
Fury declared himself ‘done for good and ready to devote my time to my family’ but it was always likely he would be tempted back into the ring by a huge purse for a history making fight after his dramatic knockout of Dillian Whyte.
The bout between Joshua and Usyk will be the second time the Briton has fought in Saudi Arabia
The Joshua-Usyk return was originally set for April but that date was lost as the Ukrainian hero volunteered to fight in his country’s war with Russia.
When Usyk was given his government’s blessing to leave the front line in order to train for a fight valuable to Ukraine’s propaganda efforts a July 23 date was mooted. That has slipped by during complex television negotiations.
Sky are Joshua’s long-term broadcaster but that contract with the former Olympic champion ended after his London defeat by Usyk and Hearn wants his prime asset to move to digital network DAZN who screen the rest of Matchroom’s fights.
Clearly that situation has been resolved, seemingly in favour of DAZN.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in attendance for the ‘Clash of the Dunes’