The prospect of Tyson Fury meeting Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight rematch took a dramatic twist on Monday when the British fighter revealed an £80 million five-bout deal to fight in the United States.
The agreement with American broadcaster ESPN appears to make the hugely anticipated rematch with Wilder more difficult, given that the World Boxing Council champion has been fighting on the Showtime channel.
However, Fury insisted that the rematch with Wilder, which had been set for May 18 in Las Vegas, was still on the cards – and that the new deal simply made it more easier for him to negotiate a fight against Anthony Joshua.
“I want Wilder, I still want a Wilder, but I would also take [Anthony] Joshua and I have more chance of getting them with this deal,” Fury said. Aside from Wilder, there is the prospect that Fury could fight Oscar Rivas (26-0) or Kubrat Pulev (26-1).
Wilder was given a controversial draw against Fury after the Briton had dominated their fight in Los Angeles in December. He had lost 10 stone in weight after 30 months away from the sport.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said: “Tyson wants it [the Wilder fight], we all want it, and now we’ve got to make it happen. It’s up to us now to sit down and get it over the line. We want to fight Joshua, too. We tried to make the fight, it’s a 50-50 fight [financially] and they did not want to make it.
In the new deal, which was unveiled at BT Sport’s headquarters at the Olympic Park, the British broadcaster has joined forces with Warren, ESPN and veteran promoter Bob Arum. It will give the unbeaten “Gypsy King” significantly more clout in fight negotations.
“The story continues,” Fury said. “After the anxiety, the weight I gained, the depression, the drinking and the drugs – it’s a Cinderella story and it is not over. I’m nearly seven-foot tall, weighed nearly 30-stone and I came out with the mental health issues. I’m fighting for more than just boxing. I’m happy to be here and I’m as healthy as a trout. They messed my record up with a blue tick on my record with the draw, but what a difference a year makes.”
Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC, told Telegraph Sport: “In the next few days we will get the current position from both sides (Fury and Wilder) and if there is an amicable agreement to make the fight, we will make a ruling from our committee.”