Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch ‘set in stone’ for Feb.22 in Las Vegas – Arum
By Dean Berman: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 rematch will be taking place on February 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum. He says there will be an announcement coming soon, and he expects it to be like a “circus” when that happens. It’s going to be a big event.
Arum further states that the Wilder-Fury 2 rematch is being planned to be staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’ll be finalized soon. Their previous fight last December took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and it ended in a 12 round draw.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the buzz for the Wilder-Fury rematch is bigger than what the boxing world recently saw in the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch in Saudi Arabia. That was a huge fight that broke pay-per-view records in the UK, but unfortunately the contest was a big disappointment. Wilder and Fury aren’t the type to fight timidly the way Joshua did against Ruiz, and neither will come into this match overweight.
Wilder vs. Fury 2 is ‘set in stone’ for February 22 in Vegas
“Like everything with Tyson Fury, everything is going to be spectacular,” said Arum to IFL TV about the announcement for the rematch between Wilder and Fury. “This is going to be like a circus. This promotion is going to be one of the greatest promotions in the history of boxing.
“So a lot of things are being planned, when the announcement is, and how it’s going to be done,” continued Arum in discussing the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch. “Where it’s going to be done, I’m not going to reveal it, because they’ll slit my throat if I do. I have to keep it under wraps. But with ESPN and Fox combining, they’re idea guys, and with the way they promote products, they’re something special.
“The American public are going to be seeing a lot of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury,” Arum said. “I think that’s pretty good, That’s in stone,” said Arum when asked if Wilder will be defending against Fury on February 22. “That’s also sort of in stone, but that’ll be finalized This week,” Arum said when asked if the Wilder-Fury 2 fight will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. “The formal announcement will come in spectacular fashion that will go around the world,” said Arum.
The Wilder-Fury 2 rematch is big enough in it’s own right for it not to need any kind of circus announcements for the fight to attract interest from the boxing world. Fury was recently involved in a WWE event, and that might have changed his views on how his fights should be marketed to the public. However, what works for professional wrestling might not be effective to drive interest in the boxing world, because it’s different audience.
Arum not surprised Andy Ruiz came in so heavy for Joshua rematch
“Andy Ruiz didn’t surprise me. Once I found out the announcement of his weight, I said, ‘it’s not even worth watching the fight,” said Arum about the rematch between Andy Jr. and Joshua. “Remember, other than the last two fights, Andy Ruiz fought his entire professional career with Top Rank.
“So I’m really familiar with him. When he came in at 240, he was a really good fighter,” said Arum about Ruiz. “But when he came in with us around 300 lbs, he was a bum, too much weight, no movement, and guys that shouldn’t have been in the same ring with him, gave him tough fights. So when I saw him at the weigh-in and saw his stomach, I said what George Foreman said to everybody, ‘No chance to win. It was just a walkover fight for Joshua.’
“That doesn’t demean Joshua, as he prepared for the fight the way a professional prepares for a fight. Andy Ruiz was not a professional. He was trying to imitate Buster Douglas, who knocked out Mike Tyson, but when he came in for his next fight against [Evander] Holyfield, he was a different fighter,” said Arum about Ruiz coming in too heavy to compete with Joshua.
Ruiz admitted that he didn’t train hard for the rematch with Joshua, and that he thought he could still beat him by being heavy. The way that Joshua caved in against Ruiz last June is responsible for giving him that false perception. Ruiz came into that fight heavy at 268 lbs, but he was still able to crush Joshua. Andy perhaps felt that bigger was better, and so he decided to come in even heavier for the rematch.
Kubrat Pulev should be Joshua’s next fight – Arum
“Fortunately, we’re dealing with Paco Valcarcel of the WBO, and Darryl Peoples of the IBF, and I trust those people to sort out the situation,” said Arum about the conflicting mandatory defenses that are due for IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua. “They are sensible people, and the situation will be sorted out. It’s up to them, but I think everyone is on the same page.
“No, we should be the mandatory first,” Arum said about his view that IBF mandatory Pulev should be next for Joshua. “But that situation will be determined by the two organizations [IBF and WBO]. Absolutely, we intend to be the next mandatory.
“For various reasons, the IBF has been on the board with this, and everyone agreed to it months ago before this Joshua-Ruiz fight was sanctioned. Therefore, I believe the best argument is Pulev is the first mandatory, but again, I believe the organizations will sort this out, and do the right thing,” said Arum.
It’s looking like IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) will be Joshua’s next opponent for April of next year rather than Oleksandr Usyk. Arum obviously wants his fighter Pulev, 38, to come next, and you can understand why. If Joshua faces his WBO mandatory Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) next, then he could lose that fight. Pulev vs. Usyk would be a much smaller match than if the Bulgarian fighter faces Joshua next. If Joshua wasn’t so vulnerable as a champion, then it wouldn’t matter if Pulev had to wait until the second half of 2020 before facing him.