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Only a day after WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced a massive unification fight against IBF-WBA-WBO champion Anthony Joshua on Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia, an arbitrator ruled he must face ex-champion Deontay Wilder next.
The arbitrator, retired Judge Daniel Weinstein, granted an injunction request by Wilder to enforce a provision in his original contract with Fury for a third fight. Weinstein ruled that Fury must fight Wilder by Sept. 15.
Though Weinstein’s arbitration ruling is not a court order, it is enforceable by the courts. That makes it likely that Fury will obey the order and fight Wilder, though Fury has yet to speak publicly. The alternative would be for Fury to negotiate a deal with Wilder to step aside with the agreement that Wilder would face the winner.
Wilder manager Shelly Finkel said he could not comment. Representatives for Top Rank, which promotes Fury, also declined comment. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, did not return messages from Yahoo Sports.
Fury and Wilder first fought on Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles, with the bout coming out a split draw. One judge favored Fury 114-112. A second favored Wilder 115-111. A third had it 113-113.
In 2019 they signed a deal to fight again on Feb. 22, 2020. That contract included a provision for a third fight, unless the loser did not want it. Fury won by seventh-round TKO. Wilder quickly asserted he wanted the rematch.
The sides originally agreed on a date in July 2020, but Wilder had surgery on his left biceps and wasn’t available to fight then. The sides kept searching for a date, first in October and finally into December.
They held the date of Dec. 19, but both ESPN and Fox, which televised the second fight and would have done the third, told promoters that because of a heavy college football schedule on that date, including the SEC Championship, a pay-per-view boxing show was not feasible.
When the idea was floated of going into February 2021, Fury tired of waiting and moved on and the deal was reached for the two-fight series with Joshua. Wilder then filed for the injunction, claiming Fury owed him the fight.
Weinstein agreed and so it looks like Fury-Wilder 3 is next.
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