Confirmation is expected at a press conference in London today. 'I don't visualise any serious problems,' Duff, Bruno's promoter, said. 'If common sense prevails we'll have an agreement.'
This may not result in a great contest but it will be a historic event; the first time two British-born heavyweights have come together for at least a version of the championship; by far the richest bout in British boxing, pounds 3.5m for Lewis, pounds 1m for Bruno; the first world heavyweight title to be held in Wales.
Why the Arms Park not Wembley Stadium? 'We had a good offer from Wembley but Lennox wanted to give this one to the people,' Lewis's manager, Frank Maloney, said. As with most things in the business of boxing, this is not entirely the truth. Another date compatible with American television, 15 October, was suggested but Wembley is staging a rugby league international the following day.
Taking up a theme that will grow stronger in his mind as the contest approaches, Bruno said: 'Maloney thinks that taking the fight to Wales will affect my support. But I have got just as many supporters there as anywhere else in this country. I just hope he keeps his word and the fight goes ahead.'
To the chagrin of everybody connected with the Chris Eubank-Nigel Benn super-middleweight world championship fight at Old Trafford, Manchester United's ground, on 9 October, it will. With coverage of the Ryder Cup eating up space in newspapers and television during the week before Lewis and Bruno complete their preparations, Eubank v Benn will lose momentum at a critical ticket-selling time. The principal promoter, Barry Hearn, thinks not. 'We're off and running,' he said this week. Predictably, Maloney believes Lewis versus Bruno will slaughter interest in Eubank v Benn. 'It will be the kiss of death for Hearn,' he said.
It is wildly optimistic for them to hint at capacity crowds for open-air contests - Lewis v Bruno taking place at midnight, if not later, to suit American television . . . 60,000 at Arms Park, 55,000 at Old Trafford.
The attendance when Muhammad Ali defended the championship against Henry Cooper at Arsenal Stadium in 1966 was 42,000. When Bruno challenged Tim Witherspoon for the World Boxing Association title in 1986, the crowd did not exceed 35,000. Around 25,000 were at the Queen's Park Rangers ground in 1985 to see Barry McGuigan take the WBA featherweight title from Eusebio Pedroza.Reuse content