Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 likely new date early October

By Boxing News - 07/09/2021 - Comments

By Jim Maltzman: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 now has a tentative new date of early October for their trilogy match following the news of the ‘Gypsy King’ testing positive last Friday for COVID-19 along with three of his training team.

The new tentative date for the postponed third fight between WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and former WBC champion Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is October 9th, according to ESPN, but that still isn’t official, and it could change.

The new date of the postponement for Fury vs. Wilder III still hasn’t been officially confirmed by Fury’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Until Arum speaks, one must see the October date as tentative. Arum might have some other idea.

Top Rank’s statement on Thursday:

“We continue to monitor the health status of Tyson and his team, and the status of the event has not changed to date,” Top Rank said in the statement.”

Interestingly, Arum told the media during the kickoff news conference on June 15th that both Fury and Wilder had been vaccinated to guard against COVID-19. Given that statement by Arum, Fury shouldn’t have gotten ill with the virus.

Image: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 likely new date early October

“Now, you take the two fighters here. Fury is totally vaccinated,” said Bob Arum during the June 15th press conference per Dan Rafael.

“And I talked with [Deontay’s co-manager] Shelly Finkel a little while ago, and he said that Wilder’d been fully vaccinated. And their corners have been vaccinated. That’s taking responsibility,” said Arum.

Fury was only given the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and not the second one, according to Rafael. Why Fury didn’t come back for the second dose is something only he knows.

Obviously, Fury was taking a huge gamble by not being fully vaccinated for the Wilder fight. Was it irresponsible on Fury’s part not to be fully vaccinated? You be the judge of that. Fury had already attempted to walk away from his contractual rematch with Wilder, and that was a strange move that you could easily second guess. When you have a rematch clause, it’s not the brightest idea to try and walk away from it.

If Fury didn’t attempt to swerve the fight, he could have gotten the rematch with Deontay over with earlier this year. Fury would then be facing Joshua in August in Saudi Arabia, looking at a massive payday.

Well, if Fury and his corners [Andy Lee] have been fully vaccinated, as Arum maintains, how did they all end up getting sick with COVID-19? That’s the baffling part. Unless Arum was told the wrong information about them being vaccinated, it’s confusing how they acquired the COVID-19.

Did Arum see documentation from Fury and his team that they’d all been tested, or did he take someone’s word for it?

With millions of dollars on the line for this clash, seeing proof that Fury and his team were vaccinated would have been a wise thing for Arum or one of his Top Rank employees to do before he started the negotiations.

“Per sources: Wilder-Fury3 new date likely to be in early October,” said Dan Rafael on Twitter.

Fury can’t walk away 

Some boxing fans on social media have been suggesting that Fury now walk away from his rematch contract because the delay of the fight goes past the arbitrator’s ruling that he must face Wilder by September 15th.

However, the contract language for the rematch surely has something written in it that covers the rescheduling.

With that said, Fury would likely jump at the chance of walking away from the third fight with Wilder because it’s a dangerous one for him, and he can make a lot more money by going straight into the lucrative unification match against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

It’s painfully obvious that Fury wants no part of fighting Wilder a third time, and you fully understand that.

Fury was knocked cold by a healthy Deontay in their first fight in the 12th round, and some believe the referee gave him extra time by delaying the count while he was unconscious.

In Fury’s rematch with ‘The Bronze Bomber’ last year, Deontay fought with an injured right bicep and couldn’t generate the normal power on his shots.

That’s like having a sprinter in track attempting to compete with a pulled hamstring. This wasn’t the same Wilder that had knocked Fury out in the first fight. A healthy Deontay is dangerous for Fury and can destroy his plans for a massive payday fight against Anthony Joshua.

When you’re looking at a $100 million payday against Joshua, the last person you wish to tangle with is a guy that can knock your lights out like Wilder.

Image: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 likely new date early October

Along with the 32-year-old Fury testing positive for COVID-19, the following people in his camp tested positive as well, according to Dan Rafael:

  • Andy Lee – assistant trainer for Fury
  • Isaac Lowe
  • Joseph Parker

Former WBO heavyweight champion Parker testing positive for COVID-19 could delay a rematch between him and Derek Chisora.

If this report is true, it’s not surprising that Fury’s assistant coach Andy Lee has tested positive for COVID-19. With Lee working closely with Fury daily, he would be in direct contact with him.

If this is the highly contagious Delta Variant form of COVID-19 they’re dealing with; it’s not a shock that it was spread among Fury’s team.

Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel isn’t overjoyed with Fury’s getting sick, and he had this to say to @PugBoxing:

Again now, he did wrong, and I’m the one being penalized.”

October’s new tentative postponed date isn’t that far off from July, but, of course, if Fury still isn’t ready to fight in that month, it could be a problem.

Should the WBC strip Fury?

Assuming Wilder is still waiting for his contractual rematch by November, December or January, the World Boxing Council will need to decide whether to strip him and give him their ‘Champion in Recess’ tag and elevate Wilder or interim WBC champion Dillian Whyte to the new belt holder for their organization.

When or if Fury is healthy enough to return to the ring finally, he could use his ‘Champion in Recess’ position to immediately fight for his old title against whoever the champion is by that time.

If Fury still hasn’t defended his WBC title against Wilder by November or December, the sanctioning body needs to consider stripping him and giving the belt to Whyte or Deontay.

A better idea would be for the WBC to order Whyte to face Wilder for the vacant belt. Then Fury could face the winner if he so chooses. The WBC would be doing Fury a huge favor if they stripped him because he could walk away and go straight into the fight with Joshua.

Granted, Fury would no longer be the WBC champion, but he already said recently that the titles don’t matter.

He and Joshua can fight with no belts on the line, and the match would be just as big as it would be if all the titles were up for grabs.

It’s quite possible if the WBC gives Fury their ‘Champion in Recess’ tag, he’ll use that opportunity to walk away from the rematch with Wilder and steam ahead for his $100 million payday fight against Joshua.

For all intents and purposes, that might be the end for Fury. Making $100 million against Joshua could prove to be too much money for Fury to continue his career, particularly if he lets himself go physically afterward.

Even if Fury wins that fight, he might choose to let himself go physically in the same way he did after his big win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.