The Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua rematch is reportedly set to break all records for a boxing site deal, but AJ may still earn less than he did for his last fight in Saudi Arabia.
Back in 2019 following his defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr, Joshua took the rematch in Diriyah after his promoter Eddie Hearn secured site deal from the Arab nation.
As the first fight between them was merely a voluntary defence, Ruiz Jr did not have a strong hand in negotiations.
He signed for a rematch clause and agreed a deal which saw him earn significantly less than AJ, even in the second fight.
Therefore the majority of the purse money from the reported $60million (£48.7million) Saudi deal back then went straight to Joshua.
This time around with Usyk though, things are different. As he was a mandatory challenger, the Ukrainian had more leverage.
He too agreed a rematch clause, but only on the condition that the second fight was a 50/50 purse split.
According to the Star, the Saudi deal this time around is in the region of $80million (£65million) for the bout on August 20 – breaking the record set by the Ruiz Jr fight.
What this all means is that, although the Usyk vs Joshua rematch is set to break the record for the biggest ever boxing site deal, it might not be the biggest purse of AJ’s career.
There has also been criticism of the pact amid claims of Saudi Arabia sportswashing.
Amnesty International have said it is time for the participants to use their platforms to spark debate over human rights issues in the country.
“As we said with golfers in the LIV series and with the sale of Newcastle United, we’d like to see high-profile sporting figures speaking out about human rights to break the malign spell of Saudi sportswashing,” said Peter Frankel, economic affairs director at Amnesty International UK.
“We would urge Anthony Joshua to use his platform to show solidarity with those who’ve been persecuted under Mohammed bin Salman’s sweeping crackdowns.”
Promoter Hearn told talkSPORT on the issue: “Boxing, quite frankly, is not golf.
“You’re dealing with people who are putting themselves on the line, putting their health on the line. It’s also, by the way, a 50/50 split, so we have absolutely no choice.
“We would have loved to have done this fight in London at Tottenham, because it gives a fighter home advantage. But, guess what? Usyk’s team was not really prepared to go to London when there was four or five times the amount of money to go elsewhere.
“This is a very interesting debate. I’ve seen all the stuff going on with the PGA Tour. I repeat – This is not a game of golf.
“I have a responsibility to make sure these fighters come out of this sport with enough financial security to secure the next generation.”
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