Talks about the all-British unification bout expected to start again in the autumn
Tyson Fury has signed his contract to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time, in a defence of the World Boxing Council heavyweight title set to take place on July 24 in Las Vegas. The venue, as well as Wilder’s agreement, are yet to be made official.
Fury had seemed on course to meet Anthony Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight crown late this summer in Saudi Arabia, but the richest fight in British boxing history, with a fee of £107 million being offered from the host country, collapsed a week ago when a judge in the US ruled that Wilder had the contractual right to a third contest with the ‘Gypsy King’.
Fury, who won the WBC belt from Wilder by seventh-round stoppage in Las Vegas 15 months ago, was in attendance at promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank event in Las Vegas on Saturday night at which Scotsman Josh Taylor claimed the undisputed super lightweight title with victory over Jose Ramirez.
Fury signed his fight contract in public at the event. Fury pledged that Wilder would be “seriously smashed to bits”. Fury said. “I’ll give him another shoulder injury, biceps injury. One round, you’re going. I have got your soul, your mojo, everything. I own you.”
Joshua, meanwhile, is fully expected to defend the IBF, WBA and WBO belts against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in August.
If Joshua and Fury win their respective contests, both sides have said that talks to fight will resume and that the blockbuster event could still go ahead in 2021. Arum told Telegraph Sport that “a round table with all parties” would be the way forward to get the fight over the line. But two fights stand in that way.
“[Fury-Wilder III] going ahead,” Arum told Telegraph Sport.” Everybody’s in different places. It’s a two-page document because we have the terms from the prior deal. Everybody’s agreed. The signing will be finished today [Saturday] and in my opinion the deal is done.”
Arum admitted that the arbitration ruling from retired judge Daniel Weinstein was a “shocking moment”.
“Yeah completely, I was absolutely in a state of shock. But listen I’m not a lawyer myself and I did believe our position was crystal clear and the contract had expired. But if you’re watching a baseball game and the pitcher throws a ball and the umpire calls it a strike, the pitch is a strike. Even though it really is a ball that should have been called a ball. That’s it. The arbitrator looked at it differently from the way we did and came to a different conclusion and ruled the way he did. That’s it. You can’t just say cry to the sky.
“The ruling is made and so you proceed with accordance with the ruling. It’s a basic thing. Should we have won the case? Yes. Did we win the case? No. So you have to proceed with that set of facts.”
Arum believes Fury will defeat Wilder. “He knows the best way to fight Wilder is to take it to him”. The promoter expects Joshua fight talks to begin again in August.
“By then, I think more encouraging is that it will be in a world and a situation where covid is in the rear view mirror. And that fight belongs, I don’t care what the money is, in the UK. Let’s say in November or December in Cardiff, which has that big indoor arena. That would be tremendous, unbelievable. I’m not ruling out Saudi Arabia, I’m not ruling out anything. But there’s something poetic about the biggest fight in British history taking place in the UK.”