Tyson Fury is set to face Deontay Wilder for a third time before this summer’s Tokyo Olympics after the American’s team informed Fury’s camp that they will exercise their rematch clause.
Fury became the WBC world heavyweight champion on 22 February by stopping Wilder in the seventh round of their second meeting at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which followed a drawn first encounter in 2018.
But the pair had agreed on a rematch clause being added to the deal for the Vegas fight, and Wilder’s group have now “formally notified” Fury’s team that they will trigger the clause to set up a trilogy bout this year, according to Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum.
Arum told Ringside Reporter that the bout will take place in July, putting hopes of a Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua unification fight on the back burner.
“Wilder’s representatives formally notified us [on Friday] that they have accepted the rematch,” Arum explained. “It’s going to happen in the summer, before the Olympics. The middle of July.”
Wilder blamed tiredness instigated by his heavy pre-fight walk-up costume for his defeat to Fury last month, and in a Twitter post on Saturday he delivered a rousing speech to his fans, telling them, “I just want to let you know that I am here. Your king is here, and we ain’t going nowhere for the war has just begun. I will rise again, I am strong, I am a king. I can’t tell you my pride. I am a warrior, I am a king that will never give up.”
Eddie Hearn, promoter of WBO, IBF, WBO and IBO champion Joshua, had claimed that a unification fight between his boxer and Tyson Fury could be the next big event on the heavyweight calendar. But with Fury and Wilder now set to clash again, Joshua’s title defence against Kubrat Pulev has now been set for 20 June.
And Arum claims that Joshua could miss out entirely on a chance to unify the division if he isn’t careful.
“I told Eddie Hearn. I said ‘Stop looking at a Tyson Fury fight this year. You’ve got to fight Pulev in June and Joshua’s going to get knocked on his a**,’” Arum added. “I guarantee you that Pulev will knock down Joshua like Tyson Fury knocked out Wilder. So yes, I would look to make a Pulev-Fury fight to unify all the belts at the end of the year that Mr Hearn will have nothing to do with.”
However, Arum did add that it is every promoter’s intention to bring all of the belts together around the waist of a unified champion, even if the various organisations are likely to designate different mandatory challengers to once again split the titles.
“To have a heavyweight champion that holds all the belts, for as short a time as that lasts before they begin stripping them, I think that’s a worthwhile thing for boxing,” said Arum.
“If Joshua beats Pulev and Fury beats Wilder then why not do a Joshua-Fury fight at the end of the year? And we would certainly then sit with Eddie and work it out. Everybody’s saying the same thing, but let’s see… these fights have to play out first.”