By Jim Henninger: Tyson Fury won’t be fighting his trilogy contest with Deontay Wilder until at least October according to promoter Bob Arum – and that makes the chances of Anthony Joshua undisputed fight highly until this year.
Fury’s promoter Bob Arum delivered the bad news on Tuesday about Fury’s trilogy fight with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) likely being postponed until October. This is a big disappointment for Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, both of which wanted the Fury fight to take place at year’s end.
Beyond the prestige of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion, Joshua and Matchroom would make massive money with the Fury fight. With both AJ and Fury being from the UK, this fight would create a tremendous amount of fan interest in Britain if not the whole world.
Fury vs. Wilder trilogy slated for October
IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) and WBC champ Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) were hoping to fight this year in a match for the undisputed championship in December. That now is unlikely after Arum informed ESPN that there’s little chance of the fight happening now with the COVID 19 pandemic getting in the way.
The reason for the postponement, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, which makes putting on large crowd events too risky. The chances of a person sick with the coronavirus transmitting to others inside of a large hall increase dramatically with big events.
“So possibly the fight will be in early October,” said Arum to ESPN.com about the Fury vs. Wilder trilogy.
Fury is under contract to face Wilder in a third contest after having beaten him in their rematch last February. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the plans to schedule the Fury-Wilder III fight on the previously scheduled July 18 date in Las Vegas, Nevada.
July 18th date won’t work
Fury would be the odds on favorite to win that clash based on his victory on February 22 over the 6’7″ American Deontay.
The casinos in Las Vegas have been shut down due to the coronavirus, leaving it in the same situation boxing is in. Additionally, flights from the UK have been suspended due to the COVID 19, and that makes it impossible for British fans to fly over to see the Fury vs. Wilder trilogy match. Arum had wanted to stage the Fury-Wilder fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for July, but that’s not doable now.
“Clearly not, we don’t even know if the MGM will be open by then, said Arum on the Fury vs. Wilder trilogy taking place in July in Vegas. “You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date [July 18]. We couldn’t convince them or ourselves. How are you going to sell tickets?”
Will Deontay change his mind about Fury trilogy?
Wilder has already exercised his contractual rematch clause for the third contest with Fury, and he wasted little in doing so after his loss last February. The American Wilder has a lot of pride, and he’s not shown any signs of changing his mind about wanting to take that fight.
So when the sport restarts at some point in the future, Wilder will be the one facing Fury next. Boxing fans think Wilder is making a mistake in taking the third fight with Fury, but that’s what he wants.
It doesn’t look like Wilder will change his mind about it. He’s not thinking about how people want to see Fury-Joshua. His focus is on getting the trilogy with Fury and then avenging his loss.
If Fury and Wilder wanted to agree to take a tune-up fight before fighting the third match, that would be a good thing. However, it’s highly improbable that Wilder will take that risk. He looked shaky in his last two fights against Fury and Luis Ortiz. Both guys outboxed Wilder and dominated for the most part.
With his huge right-hand power, Wilder came from behind to stop the 40-year-old Ortiz in the 7th round last November. If Wilder could be counted on to win a tune-up fight, it would be a great idea for him to get the cobwebs off before facing Fury again. Moreover, it would allow Fury time to fight Joshua, but again, it’s not likely to happen. Wilder wants his trilogy fight with Fury, and he’s not likely to take a fight in between that.
Hearn won’t be happy with Fury vs. Wilder delay
Joshua’s promoter Hearn is likely to take this bad news of the Fury and Wilder fight hard, considering that he’d been holding out hope of matching AJ against Tyson this year. Hearn even talked of the Fury fight being given top priority over Joshua’s scheduled June 20 title defense against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
“I think, all of a sudden, does the Joshua-Fury fight start taking priority, maybe over a Pulev fight, if the Pulev fight extends beyond the summer?” said Hearn to skyspors.com in sounding a bit out of touch with what’s happening in terms of the coronavirus
By now Hearn has smelt the coffee and woken up to the reality of Joshua not getting the fight he wants against Fury in 2020. Now all Joshua and Hearn can hope for is Fury fight taking place in 2021, seeing that the coronavirus could extend into the new year. The last two pandemics [Swine Flu and 1918 Spanish Flu] both last well over a year.
Joshua and Fury will eventually fight but it’s not likely to take place until next year, and we don’t know yet whether that’ll be in front of a large audience or behind closed doors.