Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are close to agreeing a deal for their world heavyweight title unification fight, Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren has told ESPN.
Fury told ESPN on Wednesday that the fight with Joshua was no closer to being finalised but Warren eased concerns around the two English rivals meeting this year for all four major titles.
"The fight is very close to being done now," Warren told ESPN. "It's all COVID-19 related but I think it will go on some time in June, latest July. It's going to be a two-fight deal, and it depends what happens in the first fight and agreement of all parties as to where and what happens after that."
IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), 31, and WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), 32, who has not fought since stopping Deontay Wilder in February 2020, agreed to fight each other in June last year, but no date or venue has been announced yet.
Obstacles such as restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rival broadcasters, Wilder's claim Fury contractually owes him a rematch and Joshua's mandatory defence against Oleksandr Usyk will not stop the fight from happening next according to Warren, Fury's other co-promoter Bob Arum and Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn.
However, Fury told ESPN earlier this week: "They've had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn't happened as of yet. We're no further forward today than we were a year ago. The way [COVID-19] is at the moment, I don't think [it has] got much to do with the fighters. It's to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It's to do with everything but the fight itself."
Warren also said the coronavirus pandemic is determining where the fight will be staged, as capacity crowds at outdoor venues in London like the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Wembley Stadium will not be allowed this summer.
Fans could be allowed back at sports events in the United Kingdom from May, according the British government earlier this week, but Warren says that will not change the likely venue for Fury-Joshua with Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia the leading contenders to host the megafight.
"There are a number of territories that want to put it on but COVID is in their areas now," Warren added.
"But I still don't think it will happen in the UK, it will go where the most money will be made. It's a big fight and they need to make the most money from it because the loser could be finished."
Joshua, who impressively knocked out Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in December, also said this week an announcement is getting closer.
Warren's promotional company Queensberry Promotions will stage a card on Saturday despite the main event falling through after Leon Woodstock, who was due to challenge British super-featherweight champion Anthony Cacace, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Warren also told ESPN he is working on making a heavyweight clash happen between England's Joe Joyce and Ukraine's Usyk.