For all of the locations in the world being mentioned for his third fight with Deontay Wilder, World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury doesn’t see any reason to stray from a city that has served his career well.
“I’d prefer it to be in the home of the ‘Gypsy King’—Las Vegas, Nevada,” Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) told ESPN’s Joe Tessitore during an on-air interview Thursday evening live from his home in Manchester, England.
Fury has staged his last three fight in the unofficial boxing capital of the world, beginning with his Vegas debut this time one year ago. A two-round blitzing of Germany’s Tom Schwarz last June at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was a tease of much bigger things to come for the unbeaten two-time and reigning lineal champion.
A far more dramatic showing came of his next show in town, surviving a hellacious cut early in his September bout with unbeaten Otto Wallin to prevail by unanimous decision live from T-Mobile Arena. The win set up a highly anticipated rematch with Wilder, which played to a sold-out crowd at MGM Grand who witnessed a masterclass performance by Fury.
Their Pay-Per-View headliner came nearly 15 months after fighting to a disputed draw in their December 2018 meet. This time around, Fury was far more dominant in a 7th round stoppage of the previously unbeaten and long-reigning WBC heavyweight titlist.
A bilateral clause in their contract allowed for loser—in this case, Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs)—to demand a third fight to take place this year. For now, it stands as one of the several roadblocks preventing Fury from entering a much-discussed all-British showdown with countryman and unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (23-1-1, 21KOs), who has his own contractual obligations before reaching that point.
Clearing out present business remain an issue due to the inability to stage big fights in front of mass gatherings due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. For that reason, locations beyond the United States and even Fury’s home region in the United Kingdom are being sought for their fight, which—according to an on-air report from ESPN’s Mark Kriegel on Thursday evening—carries a target date of December 19. Macau has remained in the running, along with more bizarre rumors of the fight taking place on Christmas Day in Australia.
Wherever and whenever it takes place, it will occur with fans in attendance. The sport has moved forward for now, with Top Rank—Fury’s U.S.-based promoter (along with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions in the United Kingdom)—staging closed doors events on ESPN live from an MGM Grand ballroom. It’s serving its purpose—particularly to those desperate for any live sports—but hopefully serves as a placeholder until massive events once again become a normal occurrence.
“I think it’s good for boxing,” notes Fury, who watched every second of Thursday’s ESPN telecast before and after his on-air interview. “It gives the fans something to tune into on ESPN or ESPN+, which is great for fans at home to watch any live sports. Everyone needs to keep busy. We’ve all got bills to pay. I think it’s great what we’re doing right now.
“But I can’t wait to get back to capacity stadiums sold out like the last fight between Deontay Wilder and myself. Hopefully one day, we get to sell out that new (NFL’s Las Vegas) Raiders stadium (Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas) in that 45,000-seater. If there’s anyone to sell it out, hopefully it will be the Gypsy King in his new home.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox