The third fight between heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former titlist Deontay Wilder has been rescheduled for Oct. 9, Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions announced on Thursday.
The fight will remain at its original venue, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and still headline a joint ESPN/Fox Sports pay-per-view.
The fight was initially scheduled for July 24 but was postponed last Thursday after Fury came down with Covid-19 along with several other members of his camp in Las Vegas. Oct. 9 was the target date to reschedule he fight all along and now it is official.
Despite Fury’s illness — sources told Fight Freaks Unite that he had mild symptoms for a few days — there was never an official announcement of the postponement. The reason was because organizers wanted to wait until the new date was locked in, so Thursday’s announcement was the first time the promoters formally acknowledged Fury’s illness, stating that the fight was delayed “due to Fury’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis.”
Tickets purchased for July 24 are good for the rescheduled date.
“I wanted nothing more than to smash the ‘Big Dosser’ on July 24, but I guess the beating will have to wait,” Fury said in a statement along with the new date announcement. “Make no mistake — I will be back and better than ever. We will fight Oct. 9, and I will knock him spark out!”
The three undercard bouts, all in the heavyweight division, that were announced for the July 24 pay-per-view undercard are also expected to be rescheduled for the new date: a 10-rounder between Efe Ajagba, who also came down with Covid-19 and had to spent a night in the hospital, and Frank Sanchez; a rematch between Robert Helenius and Adam Kownacki; and Jared Anderson, a top prospect and Fury sparring partner, against Vladimir Treshkin in an eight-round fight.
Although Fury was unable to train for several days due to having Covid-19, he tested negative for the disease on Tuesday and was cleared by his doctor to travel home to England, which he plans to do before returning to Las Vegas to train again for the new date, a source with knowledge of the test results told Fight Freaks Unite.
“I’m glad that we could all agree a new date quickly for Tyson to defend his title,” Frank Warren, Fury’s co-promoter said. “Tyson is a fighting man and I know how frustrated he is that he can't compete this month. It's such a shame to lose a fight of this magnitude to Covid.
“That said, the extra time he gets to prepare is just going to ensure he’s bigger and better than ever before. I’ve never been more certain that Tyson is going to deliver a spectacular performance and remain the No. 1 heavyweight on the planet.”
Sources previously said that while Fury had taken the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, he never returned to get the second dose a couple of weeks later, even though Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said at the June 15 news conference in Los Angeles to announce the fight for July 24 that Fury was “totally vaccinated.”
The third fight came about when Fury was forced to accept it due to an arbitrator’s ruling binding him to the bout instead of his preferred undisputed title fight with three-belt titlist Anthony Joshua, which had been planned for Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia.
Fury and Wilder met for the first time in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and the fight was ruled a split draw after England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), 32, outboxed Wilder for long stretches but Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), 35, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, scored two knockdowns, one in the ninth round and a massive one in the 12th round that Fury barely survived.
They met in a hugely hyped rematch on Feb. 22, 2020 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Fury dominated to retain the lineal title and take Wilder’s WBC belt. He dropped Wilder in the third and fifth rounds and was teeing off on him in the seventh round when Wilder’s now-fired co-trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel to end the bout. Neither has fought since.
After the loss, Wilder immediately exercised his contractual right to a rematch but ultimately had to go to arbitration to enforce his rights while also making numerous accusations and excuses for the loss. Among them he said Breland had conspired with Fury’s team and spiked his water to make him weak, claimed the costume he wore for his ring walk was too heavy and left him with no energy, and accused Fury of tampering with his gloves to give him an advantage.
“This is what we went to arbitration for,” Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, said in a statement announcing the rescheduled fight. “He just wanted what was owed to him. He remains ready to reclaim his world title on Oct. 9.”