By Keith Idec
Bob Arum can’t say for sure who Tyson Fury will fight next.
Or when. Or where.
The accomplished promoter does know that he couldn’t ask for a more entertaining, interesting heavyweight to work with as his company, Top Rank Inc., and ESPN attempt to become players in boxing’s reborn glamour division. Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion, has overcome alcoholism, cocaine addiction, depression and Deontay Wilder’s right hand to re-establish himself as one of boxing’s most fascinating figures.
“We’re delighted to have him,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “We think that he’s a very charismatic guy and we think that we can make a lot of noise with him because he is so charismatic. We can’t wait to get started. He’s fun. He’s like my gypsy George Foreman.”
Top Rank, the legendary Foreman’s longtime promoter, and ESPN announced Monday morning that they’ve partnered with British promoter Frank Warren in representing Fury, a proud traveler from England.
A deal nearly was finalized late last week for Fury to fight Wilder in an immediate rematch May 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Showtime would’ve distributed that event, as it did their first fight 2½ months ago.
Arum has expressed interest in still making that fight next for Fury. The 87-year-old Arum stated during ESPN’s Wednesday morning edition of “SportsCenter” that Top Rank was preparing to send a proposal later Wednesday to Al Haymon, Wilder’s adviser, and Shelly Finkel, the WBC heavyweight champion’s co-manager, for Wilder to fight Fury next.
If the 30-year-old Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) doesn’t box Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) in his next appearance, Arum will have to find a reasonable replacement for Wilder because Fury will earn so much money as part of his new agreement with Top Rank and ESPN. Bulgarian contender Kubrat Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs), who’s tentatively scheduled to fight March 23, Colombia’s Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KOs), a former WBO champion, could be potential alternatives.
Whomever Fury fights next, Arum is looking forward to making the gregarious, 6-feet-9, 260-pound contender as big a star in the United States as he is in the United Kingdom.
“We think that he can be a real major player in boxing because of his personality,” Arum said. “And we’re delighted that he signed with us, because we think that we can do some very, very interesting things with him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.