Bob Arum doesn’t expect the third Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder heavyweight title fight to happen July 18.
That’s the date that tentatively was set aside for Fury to defend the WBC championship he won from Wilder last month. In accordance with a time limit in their contracts, their third fight was projected to take place July 18 once Wilder exercised a clause in his deal to guarantee it as the next fight for both boxers.
Arum told ESPN.com on Tuesday, though, that the coronavirus pandemic will push back the third Fury-Wilder fight to a later date. Top Rank Inc., Arum’s company, has indefinitely postponed all of its events scheduled through April.
“Clearly not,” Arum told ESPN.com regarding Fury-Wilder III happening July 18. “We don’t even know if the MGM will even be open by then.”
Their third fight is supposed to be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the same site where Fury defeated Wilder by seventh-round technical knockout February 22.
The 88-year-old Arum, whose company co-promotes Fury, suggested their third fight could happen as late as “early October” because the COVID-19 outbreak has caused so much uncertainty throughout the world.
“You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date [July 18],” Arum said. “We couldn’t convince them or ourselves. Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets? It’s absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can’t even get there.”
Fury resides in England and there’s currently a ban preventing travelers from the United Kingdom from entering the United States. Wilder resides and trains in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“So, everybody has to take a step back,” Arum said. “Boxing is not isolated. It’s part of what’s happening in the world. So possibly the fight will be in early October.”
Arum added that his company has been in contact with Wilder’s adviser, Al Haymon, about pushing back this pay-per-view event.
“Al and his people are in touch with us all the time on this,” Arum said. “We see things the same way. We’ll be very, very cautious moving ahead and pray this will be over at a particular time, and we will be able to make smart plans. Nobody has ever experienced anything like this before.”
The 31-year-old Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) knocked down Wilder in the third and fifth rounds of their rematch. Mark Breland, Wilder’s assistant trainer, brought their one-sided second fight to an end by throwing in the towel in the seventh round.
The 34-year-old Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) disagreed with Breland’s decision to throw in the towel. He also told BoxingScene.com and other outlets that the 40-plus-pound costume he wore during a lengthy ring entrance weakened his legs and hurt his performance.
Wilder knocked down Fury in the ninth and 12th rounds of their first fight, which resulted in a controversial split draw in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.