Published: 15:31, February 1, 2021 | Updated: 02:55, June 5, 2023
Joshua, Fury edging closer to mega-fight
By Murray Greig

This combination of pictures created on Dec 14, 2020 shows boxer Tyson Fury (left) during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on Jan 25, 2020, and British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua during a press conference in Ad Diriyah, a Unesco-listed heritage site, outside Riyadh, on Dec 4, 2019. (FAYEZ NURELDINE, RINGO CHIU / AFP)

With Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua each expected to pocket US$100 million, the list of potential hosts for their heavyweight title unification bout has been trimmed to three: China, Singapore and an unnamed country in the Middle East.

Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) cemented himself as the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by stopping previously unbeaten Briton Callum Smith

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) has the WBC belt.

"The contract is over with, and we're proceeding with plans for the fight," Bob Arum, CEO of Las Vegas-based Top Rank Promotions, told US podcast Three Knock Down Rule on the weekend.

"I've got the first draft, and hopefully the fight takes place in June. It doesn't belong in America, even though Tyson has kind of Americanized himself with the events he's done here.

"So we're looking at Asia and the Middle East. Those are the two possibilities for where the fight will happen. It could happen in Macao, it could happen in Singapore or it could happen in a country in the Middle East.

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"It'll be massive, but again, you can't count the chickens before they've hatched. But I am optimistic at how well this fight will do, both at the site standpoint and the pay-per-view standpoint, particularly in the UK, where we predict we'll do over two million buys."

Arum, who promotes Fury, is working closely with Joshua's promoter, Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn.

Five months ago Hearn signed an exclusive deal with unbeaten Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei from Zhoukou, Henan province, and if Fury vs Joshua lands in Macao, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound (1.98-meter, 118-kilogram) southpaw would likely feature on the undercard.

Zhang (21-0, 16 KOs) won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and dropped a close decision to gold medalist Joshua at the 2012 London Games. He's currently ranked No 11 in the world by the WBO and No 12 by the IBF.

Meanwhile, Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine world super middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim on Feb 27 in Miami Gardens, Florida, live on DAZN in over 200 countries and territories.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) cemented himself as the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by stopping previously unbeaten Briton Callum Smith in front of a sold-out socially distanced crowd in Texas in December.

"Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," the Mexican slugger said in a weekend interview with

"I'm very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained. February 27 will be a great night for the sport."

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) will be aiming to shock the world two years after losing to Anthony Dirrell in their clash for the then vacant WBC crown.

"I am honored as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt-thank you to everyone who is involved," said Yildirim. "I always give my all, and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud-I am representing the whole of Turkey."

This is the first in a two-fight deal that Alvarez inked with Hearn's Matchroom Boxing last month.

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"It is an absolute honor to promote the pound-for-pound number one and I'm so excited to head to Miami and the home of the (NFL's) Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium," said Hearn.

"Even in a pandemic, Canelo is looking to be more active than ever, and in his plan to be undisputed he must overcome his mandatory challengers to keep his belt. Yildirim is the first of those challengers who will be attempting to dethrone the king, and we look forward to a huge night of boxing on DAZN and the start of a huge year for Canelo."