Tyson Fury knocks down Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Feb. 22 in Las Vegas. Fury won a seventh-round TKO, after the two fighters battled to a draw in their previous matchup in 2018. Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

The third installment of one of the boxing’s most entertaining and intriguing rivalries, between heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, is on course for the fall, assuming the cessation of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, although the exact date remains uncertain.

A recent report in the Athletic indicated the fight would take place Oct. 3 in Las Vegas in a move unrelated to COVID-19, with organizers saying they simply preferred the fall amid previous reports citing July 18 as the original target date.

But Oct. 3 has been discussed, and the coronavirus pandemic indeed remains a consideration in the final decision for the pay-per-view event on the heels of Fury defeating Wilder in their Feb. 22 rematch.

“Oct. 3 is a possible date, but there are many variables that must be considered before that date can be locked in,” a person at Top Rank, which promotes Fury, said before adding that the sides are awaiting a resolution to the pandemic. “An official announcement regarding specific details will be in due course.”

The spread of the coronavirus has compelled professional and college sports officials to place their seasons either on indefinite hiatus or to cancel major events, such as the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, altogether.

Premier Boxing Champions, in a release earlier this week, canceled all events scheduled for March and April out of an abundance of caution. Information regarding the rescheduling of those cards was not immediately available, according to the announcement.

Tyson Fury celebrates after beating Deontay Wilder on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas. Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

In the heavyweights’ previous fight – which generated nearly $17 million in gate revenue, making it the highest-grossing heavyweight fight in Nevada history, and drew a reported 800,000-plus in pay-per-view buys – Fury battered his injured opponent throughout on the way to a seventh-round TKO.

Fury claimed the World Boxing Council belt, the only major title the lineal champion had not won, when referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight at 1:39 at the request of Wilder’s corner, leaving no doubt after the first meeting between the fighters two years ago ended in a draw.

“The king has returned to the top of the throne,” said Fury, nicknamed the Gypsy King, before the Englishman urged the crowd to join him in a rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

Fury (30-0-1, 21 knockouts) recorded two knockdowns, including in Round 3, when he landed a right to the head that had Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) bleeding profusely from his ear. That blow left Wilder wobbly through the remainder of the fight, and Fury, who weighed in at 273 pounds – nearly 20 pounds heavier than when the two first fought on Dec. 1, 2018 – capitalized again with a fifth-round knockdown in front of a star-studded crowd.

Wilder came in at 231 pounds, well above the 213 he carried in the initial fight in which he knocked Fury down twice, including in the 12th and final round, setting up a highly anticipated rematch. In a stunning turn of events, Wilder’s power was conspicuously absent, especially after the damage to his ear that wound up being a cut rather than a ruptured eardrum, as had been widely speculated.

Wilder’s balance and footwork were never the same after that blow from Fury, rendering Wilder’s normally devastating right hand virtually incidental.

“The best man won tonight,” Wilder said. “I make no excuses tonight. This is what big-time boxing is all about. The best must fight the best.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.