‘You could do a massive site deal abroad for rematch and go to Wembley first,’ Hearn says about Joshua-Fury
EDDIE HEARN has appealed to the government to allow Joshua-Fury to take place on home soil despite planning a ‘worldwide tour’ comprising six meetings about the clash in four different countries.
Although Hearn’s recent revelation that contracts for the first ever four-belt heavyweight unification clash in history had been signed, it appears as though discussions regarding a venue, or even a host country, have not moved much beyond square one.
As such, the Matchroom boss will this week cross continents for a series of meetings in a bid to somehow reach a deal for the fight, between IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua and WBC king Tyson Fury, to take place in June or July as planned.
It is obvious that Saudi Arabia, who fronted the mega money that lured Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz to Diriyah in 2019, would much rather stage the fight in the winter again. But with Hearn’s insistence that the initial encounter on the agreed two-fight deal must take place before July is out, he is on the hunt for alternatives.
And he has now revealed that Wembley is somehow back on the table and that there is currently dialogue with government officials about the possibility of opening the doors of the national stadium for a July showdown.
Per the current roadmap back to normality, fans will be allowed back to sporting events in limited numbers from May 17 while the accelerated anti-Covid vaccination programme has suggested that all restrictions on social contact could end by June 21.
That, however, remains a far cry from cramming 100,000 people into Wembley Stadium within six weeks of that date but Hearn remains hopeful that Wembley Stadium and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport could make it happen and are holding talks to that end.
But without the gate income which a full Wembley Stadium would yield, there is no way Britain can raise the requisite funds to lure such a potentially lucrative fight to these shores.
“You almost feel guilty with everything going on, to go to the government and ask for a site fee at Wembley,” Hearn said.
“But they could help us out by letting us have 100,000 at Wembley in July but that’s another conversation. The trouble is at the moment nobody really knows.
“You go to a lot of these countries and the site fee comes from the government; if we go to Saudi or any of those countries that comes from the government.
“But there are other ways our government can help. I’m not joking about Wembley when I say that if they can give us full capacity we can do it.
“Ultimately this is a two-fight deal and we need to present something to the fighters where over those two fights it makes sense.
“You could do a massive site deal for a December rematch [abroad] and then go to Wembley first. But you can only ever consider Wembley with 100 per cent capacity.
“There’s going to be less money to go to Wembley, we know that, but everyone would quite like to do it at Wembley.
“The fighters want to go to Wembley but at the same time they don’t want half the money. It would possibly mean half as much money as they could get abroad… definitely a 30 or 40 per cent pay cut.”
However, so fanciful is talk regarding Wembley Stadium this summer that Hearn has arranged a number of meetings in other territories about the clash, for which the two heavyweight champions will receive a 50 per cent cut of the pot.
Once he is finished in Gibraltar, Hearn will head east across Asia and then on to America, which has re-emerged as a potential host, in an attempt to do business before the 28-day contractual deadline comes to an end.
“I am going all around the world to meet people to try and get it over the line,” Hearn added. “I am going to the Middle East, the Far East and America to meet people,
“It is half a dozen meetings in four countries. We’ve got this self-inflicted time cut-off where we want to get things moving.
“I spoke to [Fury’s American promoter] Bob Arum on Monday night and we had a really good chat. We are talking to everyone, he is talking to everyone and we have loads of ideas about how to do this.
“But now we need to start moving to contracts with the sites.
“I had a good chat with Bob where I said ‘where is your mojo? You do want this fight don’t you?’ It’s not that anyone has got other options so we just need to find a way to do it.”