29
Nov
2020

Why staging Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia is MADNESS

Phil Jay 27/01/2020
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury

📸 Mark Robinson / Mikey Williams

Comments came to light over the weekend spelling serious bad news for UK fans over a fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

What would be the biggest Great British battle in many, many years may NOT take place on home soil, according to Matchroom Boss Eddie Hearn.

The Essex man has stated a huge offer from Saudi Arabia would be too good to turn down. Something which could net both fighters nine-figures each.

In other words, he’d be willing to take the money (for the fighters, of course). Dollars over the prestige of a huge spectacle staged in the capital city.

Personally, I can’t see how Saudi Arabia would want to pay that amount of money for a clash which is effectively not even a Pay-Per-View affair in the United States.

Also, add to that the fact the lack of need to drive subscribers to DAZN (as DAZN is not available in the UK). There seem to be no real reasons for Saudi to put up that kind of money.

Whatever the case, Hearn says it’s there for the pair if they wish to accept it. And that means UK fans having to travel to Saudi Arabia if they want to witness BRITISH history.

A highly unfathomable and WRONG situation.

I can understand Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao having enough worldwide appeal to cater to everyone. Therefore taking Saudi money makes more sense than not.

But two BRITISH fighters fighting OUTSIDE the UK in an encounter which doesn’t have that planetary focus seems crazy.

If it’s money you want, and that’s all Joshua vs Fury is about, I’m sure the fans would fork out extra ticket money or Pay-Per-View costs to keep the contest at home.

At least have a forum with the fans to discuss it.

The Joshua vs Fury fight could possibly be the biggest in British boxing history if organized correctly. But taking it to Saudi Arabia is madness.

You’d be looking at filling a purpose-built arena for less demand. Rather than packing 90,000 Brits into Wembley Stadium for an ‘I was there’ moment of significant magnitude.

It could be a fight to tell your grandkids about. But there certainly won’t be many travelling to Saudi Arabia in order to tell their grandchildren about Joshua vs Fury – if it is indeed staged there.

Essentially, UK punters – who at one stage turned the British market into the most enviable fanbase on earth, would be robbed of their opportunity to see the bout live and in person.

For once, this should not be all about the cash.


PPV RECORD

Joshua and Fury can easily make £30 to £50 million ($40 to $60 million) each from the Sky Sports Box Office receipts. Buys which would probably go over two million for the first time.

Times those two million purchases by a PPV price hike of £34.95 or even £39.95 under the condition of a one-time deal (or twice for a rematch) and the fighter’s purses are covered.

Asking those who have filled Wembley to watch Joshua campaign over the years, making him the biggest British star of recent years and earning him millions in sponsorship deal, to now pay out their hard-earned cash to fly to Saudi Arabia just ‘because that’s where the money is’ – would be shocking and little reward for their loyalty.

Throw the choice over to the public in the form of a referendum – at the very least.

Taking the money would be yet another sordid example of boxing moving away from the fans. Simply becoming all about the readies.

This is an opportunity to restore faith in our sport. So please, don’t let it be passed by.

The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay