Sports

Fury vs Joshua fight date ‘100 per cent’ confirmed in Saudi Arabia

Joshua and Fury will contest all four world heavyweight titles for the first time in the sport’s history, with Fury confirming the date via social media on Sunday.

In a video posted to Twitter, 32-year-old Fury said: “I have got some massive news. I have just got off the phone with Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia and he told me this fight is 100 per cent on, August 14.”

Fury, the WBC champion, added: “All eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“I cannot wait, I repeat, cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all-time.

“This is going to be the biggest sporting event ever to grace the planet Earth. Do not miss it.”

AFP via Getty Images

Joshua, a year younger than Fury, holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.

Plans for a fight between the pair were set in motion when Fury defeated Deontay Wilder to capture the WBC title in February last year, just a couple of months after Joshua avenged his only career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua retained his three belts last December with a ninth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev but the unbeaten Fury’s planned trilogy fight against Wilder has failed to materialise.

A proposed homecoming against Agit Kabayel in December was scotched, meaning Fury, who proclaims himself as the lineal champion in the division, has not fought in more than 12 months since stopping Wilder in Las Vegas.

Saudi Arabia’s hosting of Joshua’s rematch with Ruiz has attracted condemnation from campaigners, who accused the Middle East country of trying to “sportswash” its human rights record – and the criticism will continue ahead of August’s fight.

Last week, in response to promoter Eddie Hearn’s revelation that the bout was on course to take place in Saudi Arabia, Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said in a statement to the PA news agency: “It comes as no surprise that Saudi Arabia is once again set to use a major sporting event as a means to sportswash its atrocious human rights record.”

She urged Fury and Joshua to speak out on the issue in the build-up to the fight, saying: “A few well-chosen words about human rights from Joshua and Fury would mean a lot to Saudi Arabia’s beleaguered human rights defenders, helping to counteract the intended sportswashing effect of this boxing match.”

Additional reporting by PA.


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