It won’t happen in 2019, but Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II is apparently a done deal.
Wilder announced on Friday that after his expected September rematch with Luis Ortiz, he is going to face Fury next year.
Now if you don’t take Wilder for his word, Lance Pugmire and Mike Coppinger are among boxing journalists who have confirmed that this is a done deal, with only date, venue, and broadcast plans to be sorted out. Early 2020 is the general timeline, and the expectation is that ESPN and FOX are going to do a joint pay-per-view, which means that PBC and Top Rank will be co-promoting this in the same way that HBO and Showtime co-promoted Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) brutally wiped out Dominic Breazeale two weeks ago. It was expected that he was going to immediately rematch Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) after the two fought to a memorable split draw in December. Fury then surprised everyone by signing an exclusive deal with Top Rank Boxing (and by association, ESPN), nuking those plans in spectacularly boxing fashion. Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter, was adamant that this rematch needed the good ol’ “marination” to make what was a 325,000 buy PPV something even bigger, so their goal is to make Fury more known to US audiences.
Fury is making his ESPN/Top Rank debut on June 15th against Tom Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) in a fight that is likely to be a royal waste of everyone’s time. In the UK, it’s also a giant waste of money, as this is somehow on pay-per-view. On the plus side, as long as Fury wins this fight, and another planned bout in September, then expect Wilder to be next up for him.
To remove the cynicism out of this article, it would be extremely encouraging and a huge deal if this fight is actually happening and will indeed be a PBC/Top Rank collaboration, that’s a major positive for boxing. There’s only going to be more anger among fans if this new wave of money invested into the sport only leads to more division instead of more co-promoting to the benefit of everyone involved.
Oh yes, and it’s totally not a coincidence that Wilder has announced both his rematch with Luis Ortiz and the Fury rematch the week of Anthony Joshua’s United States debut.