Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder third fight delayed by coronavirus

Heavyweight title rematch was pencilled in for Las Vegas in July

The third fight between heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will be pushed back from this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic, with October a possible new date, according to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

Fury dominated his American rival last month at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, in what was their second clash, eventually stopping Wilder in the seventh round. In doing so, the still-unbeaten Brit captured the WBC crown.

Wilder quickly exercised his contractual right to a third fight - their first meet, in December 2018, ended in a controversial draw - with a July 18 date provisionally set for the MGM Grand.

However, speaking Tuesday to ESPN, Arum said there is no way the fight can go ahead as scheduled, given the widespread restrictions implemented in both the United States and Europe to limit the impact of the coronavirus. Currently, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has cancelled all combat sports in the state.

“Clearly not,” said Arum, who co-promotes Fury’s with Frank Warren. “We don’t even know if the MGM will even be open by then. You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date. We couldn’t convince them or ourselves.

“Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets? It’s absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can’t even get there.”

Hugely popular, Fury’s two fights with Wilder have attracted a significant amount of fans from his native England but the situation globally makes it impossible to guarantee the sport’s return this summer.

"So everybody has to take a step back," Arum said. "Boxing is not isolated. It's part of what's happening in the world. So possibly the fight will be in early October."

Arum said he has been in dialogue Al Haymon, Wilder’s co-manager and head of the Premier Boxing Champions that represents the former champion. Wilder’s defeat to Fury was his first defeat in 44 fights, while Fury's record stands at 30 wins from 31 fights.

"Al and his people are in touch with us all the time on this," Arum said.

"We see things the same way. We'll be very, very cautious moving ahead and pray this will be over at a particular time and we will be able to make smart plans. Nobody has ever experienced anything like this before."

Updated: March 25, 2020 04:01 PM

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