Tyson Fury could fight behind-closed-doors this year if his third fight with Deontay Wilder is pushed back.
Fury had been expected defend his WBC heavyweight title against Wilder on December 19 at the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium. But Bob Arum, Fury’s US promoter, has recently talked up the possibility of the fight moving back if no crowd is allowed.
That dies not sit well with Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, who says Fury need to box for his own mental well-being and says he will box this year even if it is not against Wilder.
“Tyson has made it very clear to me a couple of days ago that he wants to fight again before the end of the year and I’ve got to give him a fight by the end of the year,” Warren said.
“What you’ve got to look at as well is that fighters like Tyson have been in lockdown since the end of February, so by December, it’s ten months out of the ring. There are a lot of fighters who need something to aim for and this isn’t very good for them mentally.
“The only way the Wilder fight works financially is to do it in front of a crowd, in the meantime let’s think about what works health wise for Tyson Fury and other fighters. “I know Tyson and it’s not in his best interests sitting around doing nothing, he needs something to aim for. We’ve got to make that happen.
“As a sport we’ve got to be very conscious of our responsibilities and we’ve got to deliver for these guys.”
Warren said that if needs be, Fury will have a behind-closed-doors fight.
“If that’s what it is, that’s what it is,” Warren said. “That’s the world we’re in. I don’t want him fighting behind closed doors, for me he’s the biggest box office out there.
“If we can’t deliver the fight with Wilder, then it’s something we’ve got to look at. The problem is the expectation levels and the last fight was the highest-grossing heavyweight fight in Vegas.
“We’ve got to somehow get this income to make it work and if it doesn’t, then we’ve got to do something else.
“My job from day one since he day he came in is to make sure we do the best for Tyson and we have done the best for Tyson in every way. He’s been great for me and I’ve been great for him and he’s turned his whole life around, he’s in a good place.
“For him to remain in a good place, he has to be active.”
Fury has been ordered by the WBC to face Dillian Whyte, but Warren says he cannot see that happening as the WBC champion has set his heart on a fight with Anthony Joshua, the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF champion.
“He ain’t fighting Dillian Whyte because he wants Anthony Joshua,” Warren said.
“Let’s get that on. Then while Dillian waits for his opportunity, a massive fight, would be him against Daniel Dubois. That fight makes a lot of sense to me.
“Tyson Fury is not beholden to him. Tyson Fury is probably the biggest star in boxing at the moment in my opinion. He’s undefeated, he’s been named as the No 1 heavyweight in the world by Ring magazine. He will make his choices.”
Warren said that Fury against Joshua is the fight he wants to see and he says it should happen in the UK.
“Him against Joshua is the fight everyone wants to see,” Warren added. “I’m a fan and I want to see it. In my lifetime I’ve seen all these heavyweights and now we’re blessed with this.
“I want to see these two guys fight each other and no one should stand in their way and it’s really important that it happens now when these two guys are at their best.
“It’s the best heavyweight fight out there and it would be the biggest sporting event in this country since the England won the World Cup. It would transcend sport. It’s not going to happen before the end of the year, but it has to happen next year.
“And that fight should happen in the UK. We should move heaven and earth to make it happen here.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.