Bob Arum had NOT been optimistic that a Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua fight would get off the runway this summer.
But the tune changed, and on Thursday afternoon, the Las Vegas based deal-maker told me that he is indeed optimistic that this super fight, pitting the No. 1 and No. 2 heavyweights of pugilism in a box-off, in Saudi Arabia, will come off.
Fury's promoter in the US told me that he's feeling like the deal terms for an Aug. 14 date in Saudi can get wrapped up in a bow, and the fight can be officially announced next week. As of April 30, Arum was telling me that his hopes were fairly dim, and we wondered if maybe the prospect of Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder 3 could be in play for sooner rather than later.
“These deal are very, very complex,” Arum told me. “Especially when it's a lot of money, like this, it's very, very complex. Everybody has been trying to get this done, and we have a couple of issues, nothing between the fighters, to deal with. They're not unusual issues, but they have to be resolved. We sent (deal principals in Saudi Arabia) a memo, on behalf of the promotion, and they said it's the holiday, the end of Ramadan, and nobody is in the office. They need the minister of sports' approval, and they told us we should expect an answer Saturday or Sunday.”
The month-long fasting period of Ramadan (“Eid”) ends with a time to acknowledge the end of the session, and this year, that will go from the evening of May 13 to the evening of May 14. (Saudi Arabia is seven hours ahead of us on the East Coast, US.)
“Friday is a holiday,” Arum continued, “so hopefull they'd accede to what we've asked for, and I'm optimistic they will. Then, we can do a proper announcment of the deal, not Frank (Warren, who handles promotional matters for Fury in the UK) and Eddie (Hearn, promoter for Joshua) spouting off. I'm very optimistic.”
Arum said yes, he is liking that targeted date, Aug. 14, because the Olympics in Tokyo will be complete.
August 7 had been discussed but the Games were going then, and also the UFC has an event. “We have reserved Aug. 14 for pay per view in the US,” Arum stated.
Premier League games will be in motion Aug. 14, but would be over by the time the British area fans will be wanting to tune in to see if their man AJ can topple the Traveller, Fury, who has promised he will drop and stop Joshua.
“Hopefully,” Arum said in closing, “we'll be in a position to announce the fight next week.”