Tyson Fury says he has signed the contract. Deontay Wilder said the fight is “official.”
All it needs now is a time and a place. Fury, the former world heavyweight champion, cleared the way for a fight with Wilder, the current WBC titleholder, by winning the second bout of his comeback on Saturday.
Wilder was ringside at Windsor Park in Belfast to see Fury taken the full 10 rounds by Italian journeyman Francesco Pianeta before being awarded the victory on points, 100-90.
Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, who was standing near the two fighters in the ring, said an announcement will be made next week.
"Wilder congratulated me afterwards and said it was a great performance. I showed good ability to slip and slide punches, not get hit much, go ten rounds at a good pace, be awkward and slippy and slidey," Fury said.
"I could have stood there and traded with him and blasted him but I didn't need a first round knockout. I needed rounds and that was always the plan."
After shocking the boxing world by beating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to become WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO champion, Fury was out of the ring for 2 1/2 years because of mental health and drug problems. He regained his boxing license in January after accepting a backdated two-year doping ban the previous month for elevated levels of nandrolone in urine samples.
The first fight of his return was an almost comical bout against Albanian cruiserweight Sefer Seferi in June, which ended after the fourth round when Fury’s opponent quit.
Pianeta offered better but still limited opposition and didn’t have the power to worry Fury, who was light on his feet and showed good movement and reflexes. Fury took this fight more seriously but still showboated at times, like in the first round when he held onto the rope with one hand and aimed punches with the other.
Wilder, who is 40-0 with 39 knockouts, has been in Northern Ireland for the last few days and on a charm offensive with fans and the British media.