No immediate rematch: Tyson Fury to skip Deontay Wilder rematch, pursue interim fight

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports

The first impact of Tyson Fury’s new promotional deal with Top Rank has been to delay the rematch for the WBC heavyweight title with Deontay Wilder. Top Rank informed the WBC on Tuesday that Fury wants to take another fight first before doing a rematch with Wilder.

Fury signed with Top Rank last week but Wilder told Yahoo Sports he was optimistic that the rematch would still be made.

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Tyson signing with Bob Arum, if anything, makes it much easier to finalize [the rematch]. And I’m a free agent. I can go anywhere I want. That ain’t going to be a problem at all. Me and Fury, we will fight. We will be fighting. There will be a fight between me and him. It’s just a matter of time. We’ve just got to get the details done, but the fight is going to happen.

But the decision made on Tuesday changes that equation dramatically. The plan is for Fury to fight in the U.S. on either ESPN or its streaming service, ESPN+, in the May-June time frame. No opponents have been mentioned.

Tyson Fury, landing a right on Deontay Wilder during their heavyweight title fight on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles, informed the WBC that he plans to take another bout before doing a rematch with Wilder. (Getty Images)
Tyson Fury, landing a right on Deontay Wilder during their heavyweight title fight on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles, informed the WBC that he plans to take another bout before doing a rematch with Wilder. (Getty Images)

Wilder and Fury fought to a compelling split draw on Dec. 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Fury arose from two late knockdowns, including one in the final round, to make it to the finish. One judge had it for Fury; another for Wilder and a third had it a draw. But the fight energized the fan base and talks for the rematch began not long after the fighters left the ring.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Yahoo Sports Tuesday that he was disappointed by the news and said he would meet with his board to determine what steps to take next. He said he wants to make a determination quickly.

“It feels like someone let all the air out of the balloon,” Sulaiman said. “We are at great  moment in the heavyweight division and there was a lot of excitement for this rematch, and we lost a couple of months waiting to get this done.

“I will go to the WBC board and discuss it. The position from Wilder was to officially seek the rematch through the WBC mandate. So we’ll look at this and make a determination quickly.”

Wilder told Yahoo Sports last week that he is a TV free agent. Top Rank confirmed it made Wilder a multi-fight offer which would include a rematch with Fury. Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who provides much of the content to the online streaming service DAZN, told Yahoo Sports he plans to speak to Wilder about a deal.

“It’s disappointing for everyone but possibly good for us,” Hearn said of Fury’s decision to skip the immediate rematch. “If I’m Deontay Wilder, I get on the phone and make the AJ [Anthony Joshua] undisputed fight as soon as possible.”

Joshua, who holds the IBF-WBA-WBO belts, will fight Jarrell Miller on June 1 in New York at Madison Square Garden. He and Wilder have gone back and forth about a match for well over a year.

On Feb. 22, Fury tweeted at Wilder saying, “I will fight anyone in world boxing, Don’t use boxing politics as an excuse not to challenge me the lineal heavyweight champ!” Wilder replied to the tweet Tuesday after Fury’s decision to postpone the rematch became public with a NSFW tweet: “We knew you only said this bec you knew you wasn’t fighting me next. #CloutChaser you requested a warm-up fight first 😂😂😂 I don’t blame you tho, I probably would too if I saw my brains splashed all over the canvas.”

Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will not take an immediate rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. (Getty Images)
Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will not take an immediate rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. (Getty Images)

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