Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury’s world heavyweight title showdown has moved a step closer with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn saying a two-fight deal has been signed.
The winner of the all-British bout will become the undisputed heavyweight champion.
The locations and dates are yet to be confirmed.
Joshua, 31, holds the WBA, WBO, and IBF belts, while Fury, 32, has the WBC title.
“All parties have now put pen to paper and we will be working hard over the next few weeks to confirm the site and date for the biggest fight in boxing,” Hearn told Sky Sports on Monday.
Fury said on Friday that he had stopped training because a deal was “nowhere near” being finalized.
Hearn told ESPN on Monday they are aiming to get a venue “confirmed in the next month” and that they have already had offers from “eight or nine sites” across “multiple countries in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Europe, and America”.
The fight between Joshua and Fury will see all four belts contested in a heavyweight bout for the first time.
The last undisputed heavyweight champion was Britain’s Lennox Lewis from 1999 to 2000, before a boxer had to also hold the WBO belt to be recognized as undisputed champion.
Joshua has a record of 24 wins and one defeat from 25 professional bouts. He lost his three world titles in a shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 before regaining them in a rematch in December that year.
He defended them by knocking out mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.
Fury is unbeaten in his 31 professional fights, having survived two knockdowns to draw with American Deontay Wilder in 2018 before taking the WBC title by winning their rematch in February 2020, the last time Fury fought.
He won the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts by beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 before nearly three years out of the sport during which he overcame depression and also accepted a backdated two-year UK Anti-Doping ban.
There are still hurdles to be overcome but all signs are positive and this fight promises to be as big as anything in British boxing history – certainly bigger than anything I’ve covered – and with global significance.
No heavyweight has ever held all four recognized versions of the world title and that could be put right when these two finally walk up the ring steps.
There seems to be a general move towards the rematch being in the UK but the first fight is highly unlikely to be in the UK and the Middle East is still the favorite.
I’m told the money for the first fight would be split 50/50 and then 60/40 in favor of the winner of the first fight for the rematch.