For weeks we’ve been hearing very good things about the long-awaited Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury boxing “super” fight, the biggest heavyweight battle to go down in decades. Well, it will be if it comes together. Because despite word that the fight is completely sorted and “all but signed,” a very frustrated Tyson Fury came out over the weekend and said he was shutting down his training because the fight was going nowhere.
“Everyone in this building knows more about this fight than I do,” Fury said (via Boxing Scene). “Apparently, it’s done, it’s signed. We got a date, a venue. News to me. I don’t know jack. I don’t know anything. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not even training anymore. I’ve stopped training. (Trainer) Sugar Hill (Steward) has gone home. He went home in November, end of November. (Assistant trainer) Andy Lee’s gone home. I’m burnt out, ya know? I need a rest, mentally and physically and emotionally.”
Boxing Scene spoke to Fury’s promoter, Bob Arum, who blamed the holding pattern on COVID-19.
“Nobody is going to put up money while the virus will impact spectators and everything,” Arum said. “All these athletes are unhappy but so am I unhappy. So is everybody unhappy. Just be patient and it will straighten out ... The problem is when can we schedule the fight and where. Everybody is in the same boat. Nobody is going to allow a big crowd except the f—king governor of Texas, who don’t give a s—t. Everybody else is going to take precautions.”
And as Dana White has learned to his frustration, while the Governor of Texas doesn’t give a s—t, the mayors of Texas cities with big arenas are less excited about hosting potentially epic super spreader events.
“The governor is announcing that Texas is open,” White said at the UFC 259 post-fight press conference. “Texas isn’t open.”
“Let’s just say a lot of people moved to Texas, and they’re going to screw up Texas now, too, like they did some other states,” he said to BT Sports (via MMA Fighting).
So no matter how gung-ho a promoter may be about holding events, there’s still no location willing to open up all seats for a fight. Which, considering the new more contagious COVID-19 variants, seems wise. But with a fight like Fury vs. Joshua capable of pulling more than $20 million on the gate, you aren’t about to see its promoters willing to move forward without a full crowd.
It all adds up to frustrated fans ... and a frustrated Tyson Fury.