Boxing politics may end up delaying a trilogy bout between WBC and lineal Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. One promoter is looking to change the date while another is looking to salvage it.
It was previously announced that Wilder and Fury will face off against one another on December 19. This comes after multiple dates have been proposed for the bout. Top Rank’s Bob Arum, however, is hoping to host the fight with fans inside an arena. A fight of this magnitude can generate big revenue. Speaking on the Ak and Barak Show, Arum discussed the idea of postponing the bout until 2021.
“We don’t know now whether even in December we can do a fight for a limited audience,” Arum stated, via talkSPORT. “And we can’t put that fight in the bubble and survive because the gate on the last fight in February at the MGM was $17 million. Now that’s a big part of the revenue, and if you lose that revenue plus another $2 million or $3 million from closed circuit, then that’s $20 million.
“How do you replace it? How do you pay the fighters? So if we can get going with limited audiences, we’ll go on December 19. If not, we’re talking to another location outside of the United States about doing that fight first week of February .”
Arum joins Frank Warren on the previous thought that the fight wouldn’t happen until 2021. This is either due to COVID-19 or Wilder’s biceps surgery.
An issue with the date change is that interim WBC Heavyweight Champion Dillian Whyte is scheduled to fight the winner. With a mandatory date deadline of February 2021, Whyte has been told he will get his shot by the WBC. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn is not a fan of delaying a fight further than it needs to be and has offered a solution: nix the fight.
“If he does, then I think that fight should be canceled,” Hearn told IFL TV, via talkSPORT. “I think that Dillian Whyte should be enforced immediately as the mandatory for Tyson Fury. We’ve already got a deadline of the end of February, why can’t they do the fight?
“Yes, we know there’s a pandemic, but Joshua’s fighting. All the other major fights are gonna take place so I don’t see how that’s even an argument. We could do Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte now. We could do it on pay-per-view…Anywhere. Saudi, here [at Fight Camp]. You do [want a crowd] but the pay-per-view numbers are huge for that fight.”
Hearn is currently holding fights in the backyard of Matchroom’s U.K. office in Essex. The last week of “Fight Camp” will host Whyte defending his interim title against Alexander Povetkin. Hearn went on to say to Sky Sports that no matter what the date will be, the WBC has enforced that Whyte must fight the winner. He could even replace Wilder if he were to beat Povetkin and Wilder wouldn’t be able to fight.
“Well I’m hearing what we hoped the WBC would enforce, which is the promise that fight has to happen,” Hearn went on to say. “The official date is before the end of February 2021. Obviously if Wilder-Fury takes place in December, maybe that gets pushed back a little bit.
“As far as we’re concerned Fury-Wilder must happen this year, and if it doesn’t we’re ready to go with Whyte against Fury, subject to him beating Povetkin in a couple of weeks’ time.”
If Fury can get past both fighters and Anthony Joshua can get past Kubrat Pulev, both have agreed in principle to face off against one another in 2021.