Belts remain the big issue for Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua as promoters on both sides know the battle has to keep its undisputed tag at all costs.
A record-breaking UK Pay Per View with significant interest from the United States due to stateside Fury’s profile is at stake as negotiations continue.
The champions have moved significant steps closer to making the heavyweight battle every Briton and his dog wants to see.
But there’s an ongoing ruckus with the WBO over Oleksandr Usyk getting his opportunity next.
The Ukrainian is the mandatory challenger and doesn’t want to wait until a two-fight Fury vs. AJ saga is over to get his chance.
Now, Joshua’s handler Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum on the side of Fury are talking a conflicting game.
On one side, there are statements that ‘the fight doesn’t need belts’ and ‘AJ could drop the WBO as it doesn’t matter about titles’ have been bandied around freely of late.
The truth is, everybody knows that the selling point to worldwide audiences for this fight is the simple fact that all the marbles will be up for grabs.
Joshua isn’t the biggest name in America. In slight contrast, Fury has breached some households due to his exploits against Deontay Wilder.
Therefore, it’s no secret that ensuring the WBO ratifies the bout as undisputed is essential.
PPV sales, which play a massive part in this fight, making anywhere near the $200 million predicted, would be far lower than expected should the contest become a unification.
The glamour division had craved a clash with all four major belts on the line for years when Wilder and Joshua held the straps from 2017 onward.
US fans won’t get an American involved as they previously wished. But the sheer fact that two men will hope to crown one sole champion in the top division will have major eyes on it.
ESPN is preparing their paid platform to host. Simultaneously, DAZN will have to be cut in somewhere in the deal on the AJ side.
As for the UK TV rights, Sky and BT are almost sure to broadcast the battle on both stations simultaneously.
Fury vs. Joshua will break British records, previously held by the Joseph Parker unification and involving the latter. But making a dent in America is in doubt unless those belts remain involved.
The difference between 500,000 sales in the US and over one million could hinge on it. Also, the price must be reasonable to keep stateside fans on board.
US audiences won’t pay a hundred bucks Floyd Mayweather charges. Therefore, keeping the price reasonable is paramount if they want to blow that million mark away.
As for the price for a Briton’s privilege of watching the fight live, Fury vs. Joshua could break the mold at an eye-watering £49.95 ($70).