Boxing: Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury to fight for unified heavyweight division in August, says Eddie Hearn

A long-awaited world heavyweight boxing unification fight between British rivals Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will be held in Saudi Arabia in August, says promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua, 31, holds the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO titles, while Fury, 32, is the WBC beltholder.

"August the seventh, August the 14th... I think it's a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia," Hearn, head of Matchroom Sport and Joshua's promoter, has told the UK's Sky Sports.

"It's the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz and that event was spectacular. As partners, they were fantastic as well."

Joshua won back his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr at Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, in December 2019, after losing them to the Mexican-American in an earlier shock defeat.

Hearn says Fury's lawyers are going through the fine details, but an announcement could come this week.

"We're very comfortable, Anthony's comfortable, he knows those people," he says. "They delivered on every one of their promises last time, we're ready to go." 

He says August 14 makes more sense in terms of the global spectacle, with the Tokyo Olympics finishing on August 8, but hopes to nail down the date and venue in the next few days.

In March, Hearn said Fury and Joshua had agreed a two-fight deal to unify the title, although Fury's co-promoters subsequently cast doubt on that.

Fury has not fought for more than a year, since his knockout win over American Deontay Wilder. Joshua's last fight was against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in December.

Both have both been active on social media recently, trading barbs.

Fury said in a podcast with Hearn last week that he would expose Joshua in the ring as a fake and cut him down "like a hot knife through cheese".

He said the real difference between them was that Joshua was a businessman, while he was a "Spartan".

Joshua tweeted: "Spartan, I’m tired. My fans are tired. Your fans are tired. We're all tired of the talk. Less talk. More action!"

Fury responded that Joshua was "no talk, no action".

Hearn says he will be talking to Fury's people later.

"We're in a great place, we're very comfortable with the deal now, and we want to move forward and we want to get it done," he says. "I want to be able to stand here and not say 'give me a couple of days or next week'.

"We just have to get everybody comfortable to shake hands and say 'we're in this as a team, we're in this for boxing. Let's move forward and make this fight'."