By: Sean Crose
It what probably comes as a surprise to no one, ESPNs Dan Rafael is reporting that the third heavyweight title matchup between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury has been pushed back. Originally, the two men were tentatively set to meet July 18th, less than six months after their last battle. The Corona virus, however, has had an enormous impact on society, and boxing is no exception. Now the match will be on hold until at least the fall. “You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that (original ) date,” Rafael quotes Top Rank’s Bob Arum as saying. “We couldn’t convince them or ourselves,”
Arum, who co-promotes WBC and lineal champ Fury, made it clear that the Corona pandemic is the cause of the delay. “You just have to take a step back,” he said. “How are you going to sell tickets? It’s absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can’t even get there.” Fury, an Englishman, brought a large number of British fans with him to Las Vegas when he soundly beat Wilder in their second match this past February. On top of all important health considerations, the inability of these fans to travel across the Atlantic makes a summer rematch pointless.
Fury and Wilder first met in late 2018. Fury outboxed Wilder through most of the fight, but the Alabama native’s thunderous shots kept him in the bout (late in the battle, Wilder nearly knocked Fury out) leading the match to be ruled a draw. The rematch several weeks ago was far different. Under the tutelage of SugarHill Steward, his new trainer, Fury was aggressive and smothering. After essentially beating Wilder up, he was eventually declared the winner when the fight was wisely stopped in the seventh round. Although some have said (without evidence) a third fight might be pointless, Fury-Wilder 3 would be one of the biggest fights the sport has to offer.
According to Arum, team Wilder is also in agreement that things should be pushed back. “Al and his people are in touch with us all the time on this,” Arum is quoted as saying of Wilder adviser Al Haymon. “We see things the same way.” Like the rest of the sporting world, boxing has essentially been put on hold since the Corona virus reached pandemic proportions. At this point, everyone in the industry is simply hoping the pandemic ends sooner rather than later.