COVID-19 outbreak at Tyson Fury camp jeopardizes fight against Deontay Wilder, sources say
There is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Tyson Fury’s camp, which will inevitably result in his July 24 heavyweight championship fight being postponed against Deontay Wilder, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
No official decision has yet been made on whether the fight, which is set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on ESPN + PPV, will go as planned.
The fight is a joint pay-per-view with Fox, and this network has the Manny Pacquiao-Errol Spence Jr. PPV on August 21, so it’s likely that Fury-Wilder 3 will be moved to September, sources told ESPN. .
“It was a crazy roller coaster towards this fight,” Fury said at last month’s press conference in Los Angeles to promote the fight. “I always say, ‘You never fight someone until you’re in the ring in front of them.'”
Fury and Wilder have already met twice. The first bout took place in December 2018 and ended in a contested draw. Although he suffered two knockdowns – including one in the final round – most observers believed Fury deserved the green light.
The “Gypsy King” left no doubt in the rematch in February 2020, scoring two knockdowns himself en route to a seventh round stoppage after Wilder’s Cornerman Mark Breland threw in the towel.
Neither Fury, 32, nor Wilder have appeared in the ring since. Wilder, 35, exercised his contractual right to a third fight afterwards, but the pandemic prevented Top Rank (Fury’s promoter) and PBC from hosting the fight in front of a full audience.
The second fight gate generated $ 16,916,440 – Nevada’s record for a heavyweight title fight. The pay-per-view, priced at $ 79.99, has garnered nearly 900,000 purchases, sources told ESPN.
Top Rank and PBC attempted to organize the fight in December after October was deemed unfeasible due to COVID restrictions, but the unexpected resumption of the college football season has left few PPV dates available over the past month of 2020 with two networks involved.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and his team then considered the rematch clause to have expired and continued negotiations for a megafight with compatriot England Anthony Joshua who would crown an undisputed champion. The parties reached a deal in May, with Fury announcing on May 16 that the fight would take place on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
In the background, an independent referee, Daniel Weinstein, determined whether Fury indeed owed Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) a third fight. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum was impeached, as was his stepson, Top Rank chairman Todd duBoef. The same goes for PBC founder Al Haymon, Wilder director Shelly Finkel, and PBC director Bruce Binkow. Fury and Wilder also gave depositions.
On May 17, a day after Fury announced he would meet Joshua in August, Weinstein decided he owed Wilder another fight.
“I had no feeling Fury was trying to negotiate another fight,” Wilder said at the press conference last month in Los Angeles. “We knew we were right and we knew they couldn’t run.”
It now seems likely that Wilder will have to wait a little longer for this chance for revenge.