Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will still fight for a third time later this year — just not as soon as we all expected.
Top Rank announced Thursday that the WBC heavyweight championship will now take place on Oct. 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fury cleared to travel after testing negative
Fury and Wilder had planned to fight on July 24, but a COVID-19 outbreak struck the Fury camp, with the WBC and lineal champion himself testing positive for the coronavirus. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) tested negative for the virus on Tuesday. Doctors then cleared him to travel home, where he’s taken the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I wanted nothing more than to smash the ‘Big Dosser’ on July 24, but I guess the beating will have to wait,” Fury said of the delay. “Make no mistake, I will be back and better than ever.”
Wilder and Fury first fought in December 2018 in Los Angeles. Fury was the better boxer for most of the night, but Wilder scored two knockdowns, nearly finishing Fury in the 12th round. In the end, the judges scored the fight as a split decision draw.
That led to a highly anticipated rematch in February 2020 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This time, Fury dominated the fight from the beginning, knocking Wilder down twice. Wilder’s corner threw in the towel midway through the seventh round.
Arbitrator rules in favor of third fight
After fight #2, Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) invoked a rematch clause present in the contract. But, after several failed attempts to set up a third bout, the Fury team moved to ink a two-fight deal with fellow British champion Anthony Joshua to unify the heavyweight titles.
Wilder went to arbitration to enforce the rematch clause, and was successful in doing so. That led to the third fight this year. Meanwhile, Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) will defend his titles against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) on Sept. 25.
Wilder’s camp says it’s pleased that they’ll still get a chance for revenge against Fury.
“This is what we went to arbitration for,” Wilder manager Shelly Finkel said. “He just wanted what was owed to him. He remains ready to reclaim his world title on Oct. 9.”
Oddsmakers have seen enough to install Fury as a significant favorite in the third fight, however. DraftKings Sportsbook lists Fury as a -310 pick to beat Wilder (+240) in their next meeting.