Tyson Fury is currently signed on to face Francis Ngannou in October, and Oleksandr Usyk soon afterwards, with both locations happening in Saudi Arabia.
Many pundits didn’t think Fury would be interested in facing Usyk in that undisputed title unification bout, but it looks like the controversial Saudi government’s sovereign wealth fund put up a figure that he couldn’t refuse.
Tyson Fury could get $200 million for Ngannou and Usyk fights
If Bob Arum is to be believed, Tyson Fury will be getting an astronomically huge payday for the two fights.
In his latest interview, the Top Rank promoter denied the $100 million figure for the Usyk fight, only to give an even bigger amount.
“I didn’t say ($100M),” Arum told ESNews. “I said Fury, in that (Usyk) fight and the Ngannou fight, in the near future, we’re hoping that he comes in at around $200 million.”
Arum also questioned the reported target date for the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk mega-fight, when he spoke to Seconds Out on the same media event
“I don’t know where the 23rd of December came from. If Fury avoids any injury inshallah, as they say, then the fight will be when Prince Turki (Alalshikh) wants to do the fight,” he said. “It’s not my call. It’s not Frank Warren’s call. It’s the guy putting up the money.”
‘Idiots’ botched Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua booking
Arum then went on to seemingly take a jab at Eddie Hearn and his team for the recently scrapped plans of hosting Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
“We’re not idiots,” Arum said. “We studied, and we knew that Turki was the head of the entertainment division of the sovereign fund. What he says goes in spending money on entertainment and sports in Saudi Arabia. Everybody else was a middleman.
“Wilder and Joshua made a deal with Saudi people, but they were middlemen. They have to go to him to get the money, but there was no assurance that they would get it from him. If you’re dealing with the guy that’s in charge of the money, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.”
Arum also discussed the Wilder vs. Joshua booking with Seconds Out.
“They were dealing with a Saudi middleman, Skills Challenge, and Skills Challenge was out of favor with the government. So if Skills Challenge made a deal as it apparently did for a Joshua fight with Wilder, they had to go to the government for the money, and there was no chance, so it fell apart.”
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn doubts the $200M amount
Eddie Hearn, who as noted earlier also tried to get that Saudi money for Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua, says he doubts Tyson Fury would be getting that big of a payday.
“What do you think? In one interview, it’s $100 million, and in another interview, it’s $200 million,” Eddie Hearn told iFL TV, doubting the amount.
Hearn isn’t exactly unbiased being a rival promoter, but he also gave an estimate of what he thinks Tyson Fury will receive for the two bouts.
“I would say (Tyson Fury is) making over $100 (million) Ngannou & Usyk. It’s probably 30 & 70 and 30 & 80, but I’ve heard, there’s a rematch clause whatever happens. So, it’s probably plus.”
Saudi Arabia and Sportswashing
Rival promoters Arum and Hearn did agree on one thing though. According to both, for Wilder and Joshua to happen, their expectations for the purse sizes should be “realistic” and a lot lower, as there won’t be the same offers outside of the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has been spending billions upon billions in various sports (including MMA now), giving paydays that can’t be matched by the regular market elsewhere. These deals are only possible as Saudi is seemingly not really concerned about profit margins. Their controversial government has been criticized for using these massive events with international fanfare simply as a way to “sportswash” their terrible human rights record and revamp their image with the rest of the world.
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