LAS VEGAS – Just three days after an arbitrator ordered Tyson Fury to fight Deontay Wilder next, a deal has nearly been finalized for the heavyweight rivals to fight a third time July 24.
Promoter Bob Arum informed BoxingScene.com on Thursday that an agreement has been relatively easy to put together because the terms for their third heavyweight title fight were specified in the contracts for their rematch in February 2020.
“We’re finishing the paperwork,” Arum said after a press conference to promote the Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor fight scheduled for Saturday night. “July 24th is the working date. Hopefully, we can get it done today. All of the terms are spelled out in that old rematch clause that we had in the original [two-fight] deal. There was very little work to do, almost nothing. It was a two-page document.”
Arum added that T-Mobile Arena and MGM Grand Garden Arena, which was the site of their rematch, are potential venues, along with the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium. Regardless, Arum, whose company co-promotes Fury, said Fury-Wilder III will take place in Las Vegas.
Their rematch, which Fury won by seventh-round technical knockout, established a Nevada record for ticket revenue for a heavyweight fight, just over $16.9 million. By the time they fight a third time, Arum anticipates that the United States’ COVID-19 travel ban on visitors from the United Kingdom will be lifted, which would allow Fury’s fans from the UK to fly to Las Vegas for their third fight.
As quickly as the deal for a third Fury-Wilder pay-per-view fight has come together, Arum still can’t comprehend how judge Daniel Weinstein ruled Monday that Fury must honor his contractual clause to fight Wilder next. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), the WBC champion, thought he was headed toward a more lucrative showdown with British rival Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion, on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
“It was a real gut punch,” said Arum, a Harvard-educated attorney. “But luckily, I’m a little sophisticated, so I know if you have a case where you’re a hundred-percent sure of winning and you don’t get the win, it can happen. I mean, the decision I think is incomprehensible. But again, we lost. And therefore, we’ve gotta make do.”
Arum figures Fury will stop Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) again in their third bout, but he acknowledged that the hard-hitting Wilder remains dangerous.
“Will it be any different from the last fight?,” Arum said. “Who knows? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. What am I gonna say? Based on the last fight, it should be a relatively easy fight for Fury. But you know in boxing, particularly with the heavyweights, this next fight could turn out different.”
The 6-feet-9, 273-pound Fury overwhelmed Wilder with his physicality and pressure in their rematch.
He dropped the 6-feet-7, 231-pound Wilder once in the third round and again in the fifth. Their surprisingly one-sided encounter ended in the seventh round, when Wilder’s former assistant trainer, Mark Breland, threw in the towel because he felt Wilder was taking too much punishment.
Wilder fired Breland because he threw in the towel. The former champion has since added Malik Scott, an opponent Wilder once knocked out in the first round, to a training team headed by Jay Deas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.