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Tyson Fury signing with Top Rank puts Deontay Wilder fight in doubt

Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury

By Jeff Aranow: Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with Top Rank Boxing on Monday for a reported £80million [$103 million U.S dollars], which could make putting the rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder much tougher.

It could also make it very hard fight for Fury to line up a fight against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who fights on the streaming service DAZN in the U.S, and on Sky Box Office in the UK. Wilder is with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on SHOWTIME in the U.S.

As part of the deal, two of Fury’s fights per year will take place in the United States. Unless Fury chooses to fight three times per year, it’s unclear when he’ll have time to fight in his home country of the UK. However, Fury was never the huge draw that Joshua is in the UK. Joshua fills large stadiums when he fights in the UK.

Despite now being on the other side of the fence when it comes to networks, Fury, 30, is still confident that he’ll be able to fight Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) and Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for their heavyweight titles.

“As far as I’m concerned, the fight is more makeable now than ever. I can only fight who they put in front of me,” Fury said on Monday in talking about his new deal with Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN. “I want the biggest fights, the Joshuas, the Wilders of the world, and everyone else out there too. If you’re watching Deontay, I’m coming for you.”

The timing of the Fury announcement for him signing with Top Rank is obviously a bad one in terms of the rematch with Wilder. The two fighters fought to a 12 round draw on December 1 last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Due to the tremendous outcry from boxing fans over the controversy from the results of the fight, the WBC stepped in and ordered the Wilder-Fury rematch. Many boxing fan thought Fury deserved the win, which is why the WBC ordered the rematch. Wilder believes Fury should have been knocked out in the 12th after the referee Jack Reiss gave him a count despite Tyson looking to be unconscious for several seconds.

“Tyson wants it, we all want it, and now we’ve got to make it happen,” Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said.

Things are going to be dramatically different now with the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight potentially being televised on two different networks in the U.S instead of just one [SHOWTIME] like in the first fight between them last December. If the rematch has to be shown on both networks, then that means there’s going to be far less viewers than there would be if only one of the networks showed it. It also could impact the pay-per-view numbers for those individual networks. The previous Wilder vs. Fury fight on SHOWTIME brought in over 300,000 PPV buys. If the Wilder-Fury rematch is now being shown on ESPN as well, it’s going to be very hard SHOWTIME to match the 300,000 buys the first fight pulled in between the two giant heavyweights.

For Joshua and Wilder, it suddenly makes things more difficult in potentially facing Fury. That doesn’t mean the fights won’t happen. It just means that the negotiations will likely head to purse bids, and it could make things difficult if the winning bidder wants to have the fight shown exclusively on the network their fighter is with. If Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wins the bid for Joshua, he might not like the idea of the Joshua-Fury fight to be shown on both DAZN, which he has a contract with, and ESPN. In the immediate future, the news of Fury signing with Top rank will make things harder for the Wilder-Fury rematch negotiations. With the World Boxing Council ordering the Wilder vs. Fury rematch recently, the fight has to take place, as long as Tyson doesn’t drop out and choose to go after Joshua. Fury doesn’t have to take the fight with Wilder if he doesn’t want to.

With the new deal, Fury will have his fights shown on BT Sports in the UK, and on ESPN in the U.S. Fury is co-promoted by Queensbury promoter Frank Warren, and he’d already had a deal in place for his fights to be shown on BT Sports in the UK.

If the Wilder-Fury 2 rematch now doesn’t happen, Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) will still be alright. With his $103 million contract with Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN, it make it less painful for him if he doesn’t get the second fight against Wilder, and equally it won’t be has hard if he never faces Joshua. With the kind of money Fury is making from the deal with Top Rank, he can fight whoever, and still do well.

If Wilder and Joshua are now off the table for Fury, then he would likely be competing against Top Rank’s heavyweights:

– Joseph Parker

– Andy Ruiz Jr.

– Bryant Jennings

Those are obviously not guys that will attract a great deal of attention with the U.S boxing fans if Fury winds up facing them. Parker has lost recently to Dillian Whyte and Joshua. Fury fighting any of them will attract interest due to his name, and because he’s now fighting on ESPN. But for Fury to get a massive amount of fan interest from American boxing fans, he’s got to fight Joshua or Wilder. Unfortunately it’s now unclear whether those fights can happen.

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