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Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are finally set to meet in Saudi Arabia on August 14, 2021, and bookmakers are already seeing huge betting interest in what is being billed as the biggest heavyweight title fight since Muhammad Ali first fought Joe Frazier in 1971.
Frazier inflicted Ali’s first ever professional defeat in that bout – which was billed as the ‘Fight of the Century’ – and 50 years on the current top two in the heavyweight division look set to leave their own mark on the 21st century.
The undefeated Fury, who confirmed the date and location via Twitter on Sunday, is the early favourite with Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfair all going 4/7 on the WBC world heavyweight champion, with a draw priced up at 22/1.
That makes IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua an 11/8 'underdog', with BetVictor offering the biggest price on AJ (13/8) in what will be the first time all four heavyweight belts are contested.
Most of the early money is going on the value with AJ attracting a larger volume of bets so far, with his supporters still buoyed by the ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev last December which paved the way for talks with Fury’s camp over a 2021 super-fight.
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Fury's co-promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren have not yet confirmed their boxer's announcement of the fight being set for August 14, while Joshua's promotor, Eddie Hearn, has so far only confirmed that it will indeed take place in Saudi Arabia.
"I think it’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia," he told Sky Sports last week, hinting at either August 7 or 14 for the date.
"It’s the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz, that event was spectacular. As partners they were fantastic as well.”
Regardless of conclusive confirmation from the promoters involved, bookies are taking bets on the fight under the premise that it happens at any stage in 2021, with bets to be refunded should the two fail to fight before the year is out.
In his post-fight press conference following the Pulev win, Joshua was asked if he had any thoughts on the fact that bookmakers see Fury as the favourite over him.
He said: "I've been to his fights, I've watched him, so when I fight him it will be good to change those odds and put them in my favour."
Joshua's most likely method of victory is thought to be a knock-out win, with betting apps offering 5/2 on a stoppage win for the 31-year-old, while Fury on points is considered more likely at 7/4.
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