Reports did indicate that Saudi Arabia were considering a deal to put on a four-man heavyweight tournament, which would have included Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua and Wilder. And as part of that process, the latter two fighters had agreed on terms verbally, pending a contract. Although that may have been the case, an offer never came as Skill Challenge Entertainment’s pulling power waned. Instead, the General Sports Authority has taken control over which fights will be staged in Saudi Arabia, as they have gone ahead with the Fury-Ngannou bout on October 28th, 2023. And that has understandably frustrated Hearn.
“You know what we wanna do – we wanna fight Deontay Wilder. That was supposed to happen in January, we accepted the offer. We know it’s not materialised now. Because it was made by someone who couldn’t deliver the fight at that time. It’s alright, that happens,” Hearn
That has resulted in the promoter seeking out other venues in order to make the fight happen. Vegas and Wembley could be possibilities, but they are unlikely to give the fighters the purses that they require. Meanwhile, now that the General Sports Authority has developed close ties with Frank Warren and Queensbury Promotions, Hearn does face a danger of being phased out. Nevertheless, the promoter is still intent on making it happen.
“We’d agreed, Wilder had agreed, now we’re talking to other sites about that fight in February or March and that’s still the plan, very much the plan,” Hearn
The response on social media was one of frustration. Large numbers of boxing fans were unhappy, given that the fight had been talked about all the way since 2018 when they could have fought for undisputed.
Social Media Reaction
This is why a lot of people are falling out of love with boxing. The fact that fights don't happen because of money or contract disputes is shameful.
Many top fights didn't happen over the years because of this. Needs to be fixed for the fans.
— Michael Dewhurst (@mdewhurstuk) September 29, 2023
The fights happen if the money is right the same old story with boring boxing these days always the same
— Jamie (–) (@Jamie_mills22) September 29, 2023
— Paul Hickman (@PaulHic85721620) September 29, 2023