Tyson Fury’s chief negotiator for the proposed Battle of Britain fight with Anthony Joshua has disclosed that there’s no possibility the fight will take place on December 3.
George Warren’s comments come shortly after AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn stated on Monday afternoon that the highly-anticipated bout was officially off the cards.
Warren said he is not ‘looking to point the finger at any particular individual’ but insisted his team were pushing to get the deal finalised.
Hearn and Warren both featured on TalkSPORT radio on Tuesday morning October 4, to discuss the collapse of the deal and share their perspective on what went wrong.
Hearn was the first to appear on the TalkSPORT Breakfast show. He said: ‘I mean the fact is, huge fights like this don’t get made in two weeks.
‘That’s the reality, when two guys have huge commercial deals with different broadcasters, it takes time.
‘And we worked away with George Warren and it was actually going very, very well. Tyson Fury put us on the clock – on a 48-hour clock where the contract was nowhere near ready.
‘He told us the fight was off, two days later Queensberry popped over and said, ‘Oh no it’s not, we’ve convinced him’. Then he gives us another day.
‘You know these things take time. And you should look at AJ’s resume to know that he’s never ducked one fight, and I work for Anthony Joshua.
‘So when he instructs me to make a fight, and when he agrees terms, I don’t pull out of those terms or try and go the other way.
‘Bob Arum said I think two or three weeks ago, ‘There’s no chance in the world this fight gets made’, and then yesterday came out and said, ‘No everything’s agreed, it’s just Eddie Hearn’s fault’.
‘So I’m the easy one to blame. And even when there’s a bad fight I get the blame. And I’ve got used to it now, I don’t mind.
‘But I work for Anthony Joshua, he accepted the terms that were put to him. In the meantime, don’t forget Anthony Joshua represents Derek Chisora.
‘Derek Chisora received a contract last week for the Tyson fury fight. Obviously AJ sees that and thinks, ‘What’s going on?’
‘We’ve apparently missed two deadlines now that are the final deadlines, so I don’t know. I’ve not spoken to Queensberry since Thursday of last week.
‘As far as AJ is concerned, Fury’s told AJ the fight is off and Derek Chisora has the contract. Happy to keep on talking, but I just don’t see the solution because I think Tyson Fury wants to fight Mahmoud Charr or Derek Chisora.’
George Warren – who was Fury’s chief negotiator for the proposed Battle of Britain bout – spoke to TalkSPORT immediately after and laid out exactly what happened.
He said: ‘I think the first thing to say is there’s always gonna be a difference in opinion in the extent of what needed to be done to get that deal over the line last week.
‘My personal opinion is that everyone was working hard. There seemed to be intent from the AJ side to try and do this, there certainly was from our perspective to try and do this.
‘We made quite extensive requests over to their side both verbally, in emails, text messages, chasing them down to try and engage with us in a quicker fashion last week.
And it fell down because quite frankly we got to a point with them where communication coming back from them and the substance of that communication was lacking.
‘I would say there was no ambition on their side to help me try and keep the thing going, that’s what it felt like by the end of it.
‘I heard Eddie say the last time we spoke was on Thursday. The truth of the matter is we were waiting for a turnaround on a contract to come back on Wednesday evening.
‘We didn’t get that, we instead got an email, a request from Frank Smith who obviously works for Matchroom, to ask us if we were still up for having discussions.
‘Quite quickly after that, Eddie and I spoke in the night. It was left that he was gonna email me something over to the extent of dealing with what they declared as their final issue related to the way that we drafted the contracts, which was related to our position of having final say.
‘On that call I suggested we suggested that we insert some type of language to deal with having a mediator in place to settle disputes.
‘We followed that up on Thursday inviting them to engage with us on that last real outstanding point on the top line. And that email didn’t get responded to.
‘I tried to call Eddie a couple of times on Thursday, he didn’t answer my calls, didn’t get back to me. I briefly spoke to Freddie Cunningham [of 258 MGT] on Thursday. It was left that he was gonna come back to me and let me know their position on how quickly they wanted to move on this thing.
‘I chased them up with a phone call, didn’t get a return, didn’t hear back from them on the text that I sent them. And the last bit of communication was myself and Frank Smith, we spoke on Friday relating to a different fight that we’re looking to try and finalise with Matchroom.
‘On that call we briefly touched on it. He said that he’d been out of the loop, he’d been away travelling for work, but was gonna catch up with his side and come back to me and let me know if there was anything that they could do in the short term to keep the conversations going.
‘I didn’t hear back, so my assumption is they as a group just decided for whatever reason that they didn’t wanna engage last week to try and get this thing over the line, which is disappointing.’
When Warren was pressed on whether the fight was officially off, he said: ‘I don’t think there’s any way it can [happen on December 3] because when one side is told to expect a contract back and again, I’m just going off of the conversations that I had.
‘They were constructive conversations. I think at the beginning of this thing we tried to keep this away from the press and the public. Eddie spoke on Thursday to the media, I think he confirmed to the media that they were going to send back a revised contract on Thursday.
‘It didn’t arrive. I didn’t get it on Thursday, I didn’t get it on Friday. I haven’t had anything since. It looks like everyone’s got to move on and focus on different things.’
Warren went on to add: ‘I can only talk from the perspective of us. Where were we last week? On Monday we received a redline [contract], not a final version as Eddie said yesterday to the press, it was not a final version.
‘It was still subject to Anthony Joshua’s lawyers comments, but they sent over a redline on the contract that we initially drafted.
‘We invited them to do a Zoom the following day, that took place. We made suggestions on the way to deal with some of the outstanding issues.
‘I think that they were received and accepted. They were proposed then in writing with a turnaround draft on Wednesday.
‘It was left at that point, the expectation was that they were gonna turn something round to us, we would get on a call, try and figure this thing out, try and work through whatever issues anyone had.
‘It was brought to our attention late in the day on Wednesday night that AJ was not happy with Queensberry having the final say.
‘I think we made a very fair and reasonable compromise on that to put some type of mediator in the middle to settle any outstanding dispute
‘That invitation went over in writing as well as over the phone in conversations I had with Eddie and Freddie Cunningham. They didn’t reply to that, they just didn’t. That’s where it got to.’
‘I don’t think it’s a blame game here, I’m not looking to point the finger at any particular individual. There was intent from their side to make this fight in the first instance.
‘My observation, my perception of it is for whatever reason last week they decided that it wasn’t something they wanted to do in a fast and quite responsive manner.’
Speaking about the initial contract that was delivered to AJ’s team, Warren said: ‘The contract that we drafted, it was drafted following a meeting that myself and Top Rank’s lawyer attended with Eddie Hearn and Frank Smith in London, very good conversation.
‘It was Eddie’s suggestion for us to draft a provisions of services agreement – a POS agreement. A POS in its context is one entity requesting from the other side to grant rights that they have for us to then utilise and exploit. So that was the contract that we drafted on his suggestion.
‘They quickly came back following that contract being sent to them and asked instead for it to be drafted in the form of a co-promotional agreement.
‘Now we jumped on that within 48 hours, had very good conversations with Matchroom about redrafting that to fit that form.
‘But they took what I would say a little bit more time than we wanted for that draft to get over to us. It took seven or eight days further to get that back.’