Although the trilogy for Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was slated for July 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, nearly four months from today, the slugfest that was never officially announced has already been scrapped due to the coronavirus global pandemic.
Fury co-promoter Frank Warren, head of Queensberry Promotions, strongly believes his recently crowned WBC heavyweight champion will be golden no matter the time of year they meet. .
“Tyson’s got Deontay’s number, even if they fought in 10 years,” Warren told BBC. “The 18th will not happen. The commission in Nevada has said ‘no boxing’ for the foreseeable future and Las Vegas has closed down all the casinos—it’s like a ghost town there.
“No-one knows what’s happening day to day, all we can do is hope for the best and push it back as far as possible so October looks like the date for the fight.”
Warren said a fight between Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), which will be another Fox and ESPN promoted pay-per-view event in the US, would not take place behind closed doors. The current global travel ban would create a murky scenario in selling tickets. Plus, the public could perhaps need some time to adapt back to regular social norms and activity, and buying pricey sporting tickets might not top their needs list.
“It just won’t happen—these guys are too big names to be fighting behind closed doors,” said Warren.
A fight in October will allow ESPN and Fox to tap into its NFL schedule to really ramp up promotion for the fight. A much more quiet summer sports schedule would not have offered the networks such luxury.
Fury is guaranteed a 60% percent purse split for the third installment, while Wilder will take home the remaining 40%.
“Tyson’s at home with his family, doing his best to keep fit, but it’s the same for all of us,” added Warren. “It is a terrible position everyone is in and we hope it passes soon.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.