A closer look at the British heavyweight showdown set to rock the world

The two British heavyweight world champions look to be a step closer to back-to-back bouts.

The all-British world heavyweight title showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury has moved a step closer, according to Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn.

Hearn told ESPN that both parties have signed a two-fight deal which will see them put their respective belts on the line in back-to-back showdowns.

When can we expect the fight?

It is a significant development, but don't book your big fight tickets just yet. Fury's side are yet to confirm their satisfaction with the alleged deal, and further negotiations will be necessary before a date and venue are can be set in stone.

Throw in Fury's notorious unpredictability – only at the weekend was he claiming the fight was "nowhere near" and that he was subsisting on 12 pints of lager per day - and, of course, the vagaries of a global pandemic, and the showdown still seems a long way off.

Negotiations had advanced on the basis that the pair would split proceeds 50-50 from their first fight, with the victor taking a 60-40 cut for the rematch. Joshua's WBA, IBF and WBO belts, and Fury's WBC title, will be on the line, politics permitting. It has been estimated that each man could earn more than £50million from their first fight alone.

Where will it take place?

Not Britain. Hearn claims up to nine venues have expressed an interest in staging the all-British contest, but nowhere in the UK could come close to stumping up the gigantic site fee that would entail.

Inevitably the focus falls on the United States and the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia probably favourite having already staged Joshua's rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019.

With a live audience nowhere near as crucial a factor in the Kingdom, it could shrug off the losses incurred by any prospective coronavirus restrictions, something which would keep prospective American hosts sweating, considering the desire to push through the first fight this summer.

Who is the favourite?

Tyson Fury (left) looks set to face Anthony Joshua for all four major world title belts on the line
Tyson Fury (left) looks set to face Anthony Joshua for all four major world title belts on the line

Based on their most recent outings alone, Fury must start as favourite and is so, according to Sky Bet. He bashed Wilder into submission, while Joshua merely did what was required of him in dispatching Ruiz second time round, followed by Kubrat Pulev.

But Fury brings with him that self-proclaimed drinking binge and – assuming no time for warm-up fights – inactivity stretching back to February last year. There are too many imponderables at this stage to make an educated judgement either way, and that, of course, is part of what gives this fight its appeal.

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