There is a COVID-19 outbreak in Tyson Fury’s camp that will inevitably result in his heavyweight championship fight against Deontay Wilder on July 24, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
No official decision has yet been made on whether the match, which will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and broadcast on ESPN + PPV, will continue as planned.
The match is a joint pay-per-view with FOX, and this network has Manny Pacquiao-Errol Spence Jr. PPV on August 21
“It was a crazy roller coaster ride against this game,” Fury said at last month’s press conference in Los Angeles to promote the game. “I always say, ‘You never fight with anyone until you’re in the ring with them.'”
Fury and Wilder have already competed against each other twice. The first meeting came in December 2018 and ended with a disputed draw. Despite hitting two knockdowns – including one in the final round – most observers felt Fury deserved a nod.
“Gypsy King” left no doubt in the rematch in February 2020 and even scored two knockdowns en route to a seventh round after Wilder’s corner kick, 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 match afterwards, but COVID prevented Top Rank (Fury’s promoter) and PBC from staging the match for a full audience.
The gate to the second fight generated $ 16,916,440 – a Nevada record for a heavyweight title slope. Pay-per-view, priced at $ 79.99, raked in nearly 900,000 purchases, sources told ESPN.
Top Rank and PBC tried to end the match in December after October was considered impossible due to COVID restrictions, but the unexpected resumption of the college football season left few PPV dates available in the last month of 2020 with two networks involved.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and his team then considered the rematch clause had expired and pushed forward with negotiations for a mega match with Englishman Anthony Joshua who would crown an undisputed champion. The parties agreed on an agreement in May with Fury, announcing on May 16 that the match would take place on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
In the background, an independent arbitrator, Daniel Weinstein, decided whether Fury actually owed Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) a third match. Top Council President Bob Arum was fired, as was his stepson, top-ranking President Todd duBoef. So too were PBC founder Al Haymon, Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel and PBC director Bruce Binkow. Fury and Wilder also gave deposits.
On May 17, a day after Fury announced he would meet Joshua in August, Weinstein decided he owed Wilder another fight.
“I did not feel any way that Fury was trying to negotiate another match,” Wilder said during the Los Angeles press last month. “We knew we were right and we knew they could not run.”
It now looks like Wilder will have to wait a little longer for this chance for revenge.