Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will stage the heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, but hurdles remain before the fight is finalised.
Options had been considered across three continents, but Hearn has now verified the open secret that the mega-rich desert state has landed the bout, with a date of either August 7 or 14.
The site fee will be in the region of £107 million, and Sportsmail understands the city of Jeddah is preferred, though there are still complications to iron out in the deal.
Not the least of which is the situation around Joshua’s trainer, Rob McCracken, who is also the performance director of the British boxing team that will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics between July 23 and August 8.
No convincing explanation has yet been offered for how he can juggle those obligations, including the key final stages of Joshua’s training camp, unless the ever-shifting date is pushed back further from August.
“I think it’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia,” Hearn said. “To be honest with you, I don’t mind giving you that information. Bob Arum [Fury’s US promoter] has already done it.
“August 7 or 14 is going to be the date. Of course you’ve got the Olympics finishing on August 7, so in terms of a global spectacle, it would make sense to go on the 14th. That’s one of the things to tick off in the next, hopefully, few days.
“We’re in a stage where people are getting frustrated. The deal is done.
“Now we’re on the finer details of the contract, which came back last Friday. It went back last night. They are on calls now in the office about it, and I think at some point people are going to have to take a little bit of a leap of faith in this deal.
“From our perspective and AJ’s perspective, we’re ready to go. From Tyson Fury’s perspective, they’ve got a couple of lawyers across it from their point.
“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen this week. This is kind of like the moment where you could actually turn around at this point and say: ‘This is dragging on too long, or I can’t be dealing with this anymore.’
“But we have to nail this, and I’m not going to stop until I nail it, and everyone has just got to move forward collectively.
“We’re ready to go from our side. We’re not far away from their side and it is inevitable, but at the same time, we’ve got to close the door on it.”