The best destinations for Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury mega clash
By Ziyad Jamal
With the hugely anticipated heavyweight showdown between British pair Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury finally being confirmed as a two-fight-deal, details are soon to be announced on the date and the venue for the first bout. The stage for arguably the biggest fight in combat sports has seen many locations around the globe touted as possible destinations for the undisputed heavyweight world championship fight.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, and Fury’s promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum of Top Rank will for sure be locked in serious talks with one another over the coming weeks to decide a venue. Offers to host the fight have reportedly come from the Middle East, Asia, America and Eastern Europe.
There may be whispers out there on which locations are more likely to hold the fight, with Saudi Arabia looking like the favourite, but here is a breakdown on what would be some of the ideal and memorable places for the biggest fight in British boxing history.
"Joshua in bester Plauderlaune. Foto DPA" by quapan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Where better to hold an undisputed heavyweight world title fight between two British fighters than the iconic Wembley Stadium. The home of English football is no stranger to hosting massive boxing events, as well as being the destination for two of Joshua’s headlining fights in his career. These two fights saw Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko in a stunning eleventh round knockout in 2017 and Alexander Povetkin in 2018 through a seventh-round finish.
The stadium capacity being able to host 90,000 people with the addition of seating on the pitch area means this would be a perfect venue considering the large interest in this fight in Britain alone.
Unfortunately, it seems as if Wembley is out of the running, for the first fight at least, as the first bout is targeting a June or July date. With there being uncertainty on whether England will be able meet their final provisional lifting of COVID-19 restriction date on June 21st, it is too much of a risk for the promoters involved to have Wembley host the fight. Even if the first fight were to take place in late June or July, there may not be a full crowd, which would be unfitting for such a big occasion.
With Fury being Manchester-born and a massive Manchester United fan, Old Trafford could be an ideal destination for this massive clash. Like Wembley, The Theatre of Dreams has played host to boxing before when it was the venue for Chris Eubank’s fight with Nigel Benn for the WBC and WBO super-middleweight titles.
Another thing to consider here is Old Trafford has not welcomed fans back in any capacity since the Manchester derby on March 8th, 2020. With such a long spell with no fans at one of the country’s iconic sporting locations, what better way to welcome people back than the biggest and most anticipated fight in combat sports.
Sadly, like Wembley, due to being in England there are restrictions that may or may not be lifted this summer so the likelihood of the fight being held at Manchester United’s 75,000 capacity home is very small. Also, it would be unlikely as well that a full crowd would be present and that would feel very underwhelming.
Watford FC’s home would be a fitting destination for this clash with it being in the area where Joshua was born and raised. Vicarage Road does not have the experience of stadiums in hosting boxing events, but they did stage an Elton John concert in 2005 so they do have some idea on how to organise a massive event. Furthermore, Joshua has stated before of his desire to fight at the stadium so it would be a fitting destination for the biggest fight of his career.
Whilst Vicarage Road may not possess the attractiveness, history and be of the size of the previous stadiums mentioned, that could actually be a plus point in realistically having the first fight there.
The promoters may feel there is much sense in having a smaller sized venue host the event as it will be easier to manage and there can at least be some sort of atmosphere. This will be as there will likely be the same number of fans if it were to be at the previous stadiums mentioned, but they will have gaps throughout which would drown out the atmosphere. Vicarage Road would ultimately be a manageable and suitable venue that would keep the atmosphere intact.