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Talks Of “Heavyweight Tournament” In Middle East Negate Truth Of “Negotiations”

Talks Of 'Heavyweight Tournament' In Middle East Negate Truth Of 'Negotiations' featured image
Oleksandr Usyk with Prince Fahad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Weigh-In for Oleksandr Usyk v Anthony Joshua Rage on the Red Sea event at King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 19, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

With the boxing world beset by news of an apparent Heavyweight tournament in the Middle East that involves four of the (arguably) best Heavyweights on the planet ― Tyson Fury, Deontay WIlder, Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, few have actually bothered to point out that no official negotiations have started. The four boxers would apparently be matched with one another ― with Fury facing Usyk, and Joshua facing Wilder ― on the same fight card, but there has been no viable agreement made between the four fighters or their promoters.

Widespread reports are currently circulating about the tournament, but they lack the proper context to point out that this tournament is only an idea. Though such a four-man tournament would naturally draw a lot of interest by the public ― and therefore profit for all sides, neither of the fighters involved or their representatives have confirmed there to be official talks or negotiations. Skill Challenge Entertainment, a Saudi boxing promotion, have since then come out to confirm their own interest in holding such a tournament, but it is unknown if they are the subject of the rumors that surround the current idea of a Heavyweight tournament in the Middle East.

Tyson Fury has already squashed any idea of him partaking such a tournament with his recent message on Instagram where he derided the rumors as “absolute bullsh**”. The WBC Heavyweight champion is, however, preparing himself for a match come summer which is rumored to be against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Though Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua have all been spotted in Dubai in the past half year ― which likely led to the onslaught of rumors of a mega-fight ― neither they or their representatives have painted the rumors as something that is legitimately in the works, especially considering some of the rumors seem to indicate the fight will be held in Saudi Arabia rather than the UAE where Dubai is based.

Eddie Hearn, the promoter of Anthony Joshua, has remarked that there had been no “negotiations for that fight”, and that any talk of such a tournament or event was only “mentioned” in private talks between him and some of the parties from the Middle East that were interested in holding such an event. He did confirm, however, that Anthony Joshua would be involved in a big fight in December with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder in the Middle East, but not in relation to the rumored Heavyweight tournament that was rumored to be held in December.

Deontay Wilder’s coach, Malik Scott, painted a frivolous story of the amount of money that could be made in the Middle East, but he too could not verify whether official negotiations were going on between all the parties. Scott did however seem to lend credence to Hearn’s remark that certain in the Middle East had been privately talking of such a tournament with Wilder or his representatives.

To conclude, the rumors are just that, and even with Skill Challenge’s interest in such an event, the Saudi company seems to have misled the public into believing that actual talks or negotiations have started, or the public has determined these talks to be official. Based on the fighters’ and/or their representatives’ words, this is clearly not the case, though there is a decent chance of such a mega-fight occurring between one of the four Heavyweights in the Middle East, if Eddie Hearn’s words are to be believed surrounding Anthony Joshua’s next fight.