WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) felt he was close to a finalized deal for a rematch with Tyson Fury, but then he realized that someone was wrong as the two sides were negotiating day to day.
“It was about five days to a week and no word,” Wilder told Premier Boxing Champions. “[Wilder manager] Shelly Finkel and [Fury promoter] Frank Warren, they always talking. To make the first fight was easy, they stayed in contact. This one was different. They weren’t answering the phone so we knew something fishy was going on.”
Wilder found out what was wrong when on February 18, Fury announced a multi-fight, co-promotional deal with Top Rank and ESPN.
Fury's future was positioned in a different direction, with the British boxer now facing Tom Schwarz on June 15th in Las Vegas.
And Wilder will make his mandatory defense against Dominic Breazeale on Saturday, May 18, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The fight will be carried live on Showtime Championship Boxing.
“What challenger do you know won’t take a rematch after they feel they got robbed?” asked Wilder. “If you think you won so easy, then why not do it again for big money? But that wasn’t the case. They had to look out for themselves and put themselves in the best position for them.
“I did the appropriate thing. Many people felt our fight was controversial so I gave him the rematch. I think he should have taken our deal while it was on the table. He got his new deal because they thought I was going to be a part of it. I mean, if I don’t give him that rematch, they’re going to be sick.”
The first bout ended in a controversial twelve round split draw back in December in Los Angeles.
Fury went down twice in the fight, including a knockdown in the twelfth and final round where Fury looked to be out cold.
Wilder was swinging for a knockout all night, which he admits was a big mistake.
“I rushed things,” said Wilder. “It was my first PPV. How you perform and what you do is very important. I tried to give the fans a devastating KO and rushed it. Just the excitement of it all got to me.”
Besides rejecting a muti-fight deal from streaming service DAZN, Wilder says he also rejected a multi-fight offer from ESPN - which he says the network wanted in order to stage a Fury rematch.
“The thing about having freedom is that it allows you to dictate your career,” Wilder said. “When you sign with people, now they’re in control. We’ve seen many fighters get into situations with promoters and get put on the shelf. They have families they need to feed but they aren’t in control. You don’t want to be tied up for a long time."