The third battle between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder won’t be the only intriguing heavyweight fight to take place July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the rematch between Adam Kownacki and Robert Helenius is expected to be placed on the Fury-Wilder undercard. BoxingScene.com also has confirmed that representatives for unbeaten heavyweights Efe Ajagba and Frank Sanchez are close to finalizing a deal for them to square off as part of an ESPN/FOX Sports pay-per-view venture.
Heavyweight Jared Anderson (9-0, 9 KOs), a promising prospect promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., will be showcased in the pay-per-view opener against an opponent to be announced.
The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger was the first Tuesday night to report the Ajagba-Sanchez fight on Twitter.
As was the case with the Fury-Wilder rematch in February 2020, Top Rank (ESPN) and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (FOX Sports) each have the contractual right to one pay-per-view undercard bout apiece – Kownacki-Helenius II for PBC and Anderson’s fight for Top Rank – and one shared bout besides Fury-Wilder on the pay-per-view show (Ajagba-Sanchez).
Kownacki will attempt to avenge his surprising fourth-round, technical-knockout defeat to Finland’s Helenius in March 2020 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Kownacki’s hometown. Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) knocked down the heavily favored Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) twice during the fourth round of a fight FOX televised.
Helenius and Kownacki agreed to terms for their rematch late last year. Their second bout was expected to be broadcast earlier this year as a “PBC On FOX” main event, but instead is an intriguing addition to the Fury-Wilder III undercard.
Nigeria’s Ajagba (15-0, 12 KOs) and Cuba’s Sanchez (18-0, 13 KOs) will meet in a high-stakes scrap that’ll legitimize one of them as a heavyweight contender.
Ajagba, a 2016 Olympian, was showcased by Haymon’s PBC before he signed a multi-fight contract with Top Rank last year. Sanchez is a PBC-affiliated fighter who has had his past two bouts streamed by DAZN as part of stablemate Canelo Alvarez’s undercards.
England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), the WBC champion, and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will fight for the third time in the main event July 24.
Fury dropped Wilder twice and won their rematch by seventh-round technical knockout when Wilder’s assistant trainer, Mark Breland, threw in the towel to spare Wilder from taking more punishment at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Wilder knocked down Fury twice in their first fight, which resulted in a 12-round 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.