Promoter Eddie Hearn says talks for a heavyweight unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are under way and they “can’t let politics get in the way” of it happening this year.
Joshua’s promoter Hearn says everyone involved is desperate to make the fight happen as soon as possible, but he admits staging the bout in the United Kingdom could be a challenge.
“We’ve got two Brits who can unify and become the undisputed champion of the world, we must take that chance and we will take it,” he told BBC Sport.
The British heavyweights now hold all of the division’s belts between them, after Fury, 31, beat Deontay Wilder, 34, to claim the WBC title last weekend.
“Three months ago [Wilder and Andy Ruiz’s promoter] Al Haymon and the Americans had the heavyweight division on lockdown, now we control it all,” Hearn added.
“Everyone is combined to try and make it happen and talks are already under way.
“Because me, AJ, Tyson Fury, [Fury’s co-promoter] Bob Arum, all these people, they want that fight to happen.”
‘We want the fight in the UK’
Hearn says the preference is to stage the fight, likely to be in winter 2020, in the UK.
It is anticipated the contest will take place after Fury’s rematch with Wilder and after Joshua faces mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, a fight Hearn says he expects to announce next week for 20 June at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
However, Hearn warned that ultimately money will talk when it comes to the venue, having already staged Joshua’s last fight with Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.
“Everyone says, ‘tell the guys not to worry about the money, just do it in England’, but it doesn’t work like that, unfortunately,” Hearn said.
“Everyone wants to do it in England, I want it in the UK, AJ wants it in the UK, Fury will, but these guys have teams who will say ‘can you tell us all the offers.’
“If one offer is five times the other, then that is where they are going.
“But our job is to make sure the money is in the UK, whether we have to beg for it, go to the government for it, whatever we have to do to make that fight in the UK.
“It is the undisputed world heavyweight championship between two Britons. If we can do it in the UK, it is something that will never, ever be forgotten.
“But we could be talking it being worth an extra £40, £50, £60 million each having it elsewhere.
“And we can’t forget this is prize fighting. Whilst everyone wants the fight in England, remember you can get hurt in this sport, we have seen fighters lose their lives recently in this sport.
“We can’t take these fighters for granted and we will try and deliver everything we can for them.
“But if we can make it in Britain, I’ll even become popular, so that will be the aim.”
‘We can’t let the politics get in the way’
Hearn says he is happy to sit down with rival promoter Frank Warren and promised fight fans that politics between the promoters will not prevent the all-British showdown from becoming a reality.
Warren told the BBC’s Costello and Bunce podcast that “Eddie boy has his nose pressed up against the window looking in,” but Hearn dismissed the notion of the two being unable to work with each other.
“Frank is not really involved with Tyson Fury, he goes along for the ride and takes a few quid on the side and it is great for him,” Hearn said.
“It’s good for British boxing. But we’ve got to keep our heads. If we start digging at each other and making it all about ego and stuff like that, I am not really interested in that, all we have to do is make the fight.
“To do that we have to sit down with Bob Arum and [management company] MTK, who call all the shots on Tyson Fury, and try and make it happen. We will always have pot-shots at each other, but the key is it is not about me, it is not about Frank Warren, it is about the people who can make this fight happen and that is us and Bob Arum.
“We can’t let the politics get in the way.
“I’m not having a pop at Frank when I say he hasn’t got any say, he hasn’t, but I’m happy to sit down with Frank.
“I’m not saying ‘leave him alone and I will deal with Bob’, we will all sit down together to make it happen.
“When there is an opportunity like this, I will never let ego get in the way, I won’t say I won’t deal with Frank.
“It’s not my style. If we can deliver for the broadcasters and the fans, let’s make it happen.”