First thing this Monday morning the video lines between the leafy surrounds of Brentwood, England and the more salubrious Las Vegas strip will have been gridlocked. Any other business in the Brentwood area will have been frustrated in any attempt to get a connection if that were their, admittedly unlikely, chosen destination.
The line will, by all accounts been taken up by urgent and suggested well developed discussions between Matchroom Boxing and Top Rank Boxing Inc. headquarter’s.
Also throw in Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions based in the equally green confines of Hertfordshire, England and the triangle of influence will have been complete.
The spark for this tripartite re-engagement has been the explosive outcome witnessed at Wembley SSE Arena on Saturday night in which IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua literally blew away his mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev.
In doing so after 2:58 secs of the ninth round, inflicting four knockdowns in the process, with an almost surrender in the third round when the Bulgarian turned his back on the champion, Joshua showed that his ‘mojo’ had returned.
His devastating finish to the contest with a triple uppercut salvo dropping Pulev and then on the challenger’s rise following up with a ballistic right hand to close the show has given Matchroom the impetus to get on that phone and in their CEO Eddie Hearn’s words deliver “the only fight to be made in boxing”.
That is disputable, certainly from a promoter who has a number of irons in the fire, most notably Callum Smith’s challenge to reputed pound-for-pound #1 Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this Saturday in San Antonio, Texas, but it certainly will be “the biggest fight in British boxing history”.
The numbers in purse, gate and worldwide viewers will be staggering for the most anticipated heavyweight fight in over two decades between the unified champion Joshua and his domestic and world nemesis, WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson ‘Gypsy King’ Fury.
Top Rank Boxing CEO claims it will be the “biggest fight since Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier in 1971”. Some statement and challenge that.
Yesterday Hearn suggested the fight (or fights) could take just “a couple of days” to be finalised. Prior to Saturday it was claimed that negotiations had already taken place for a two-fight deal in 2021 in which we would clearly establish who is the better fighter.
Despite this optimism, so much has to be worked through – mandatory obligations and outstanding rematch clauses, purse split (rumoured to be 50/50 and usually the biggest stumbling block), venue and site availability, fight dates and broadcasting rights. However, most importantly, even more so than purse, is that both boxers want the fight. Fury took to social media moments after Saturday’s exhibition to proclaim he would knock Joshua out inside three rounds.
They both recognise that this is indeed the biggest fight in boxing and a ‘must have’ contest. To say the whole sport depends on it is hyperbole and exaggeration, but it is dam right important. And has to happen.
2021 is when the fight should happen, rumoured to be late May with a rematch later in the year – obviously dependent on the first outcome and further shenanigans.
When the two Brits face off in the ring, wherever, whenever, we will truly know the results of those telephone conversations this morning – but critically – we will know who the Heavyweight Champion of the World is and the first undisputed champion since 2002. What we do know is he will be British again.