One of the biggest and richest fights in boxing history has hit an American roadblock.
On Sunday WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury told his millions of followers on social media that he and Anthony Joshua would face one another on August 14 in Saudi Arabia. And while that did not exactly have the matter set in stone it did seem to be a major leap towards the undisputed heavyweight title fight after months of will they, won’t they speculation.
Late last night the Daily Star’s Chris McKenna reported that Fury must face Wilder for a third time by September 15 after a ruling made by arbitration judge Daniel Weinstein. This comes 15 months after Fury stopped the ‘Bronze Bomber’ in seven one-sided rounds, following on from their initial bout in December 2018. Crucially though a rematch clause had been agreed allowing a third fight to happen. A legal battle would then play out in the background as promoter Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn continually told the boxing world that the all-British super-fight, for all the marbles, would happen.
After months of negotiations to get the heavyweight champions in the ring all parties will now need to get together for an intense round of talks and deals in the hope that Wilder will step aside allowing Fury v Joshua to take place. For that to happen the former WBC heavyweight champion will need to be handsomely rewarded with eye watering figures.
Wilder has become active on social media lately showcasing the work he has been doing with former heavyweight contender and his new trainer Malik Scott. The 35-year-old has displayed the devastating right hand on the pads as he looks to rebuild from that career shattering night against Fury in Las Vegas. Many had wondered if we would see the pride of Alabama back in the ring, let alone back to his best, given the nature of the loss to Fury which saw Wilder and trainer Mark Breland part ways during the fallout.
All eyes have since been on social media to see if Joshua, Fury, Hearn, Bob Arum or Frank Warren (Fury’s co-promoters) have commented on this twist in the tale. Boxing journalist Chris Mannix tweeted that Arum had called the arbitrators ruling a “preposterous decision”.
Arum has since told ESPN that he has no intention of paying a step-aside fee to Deontay Wilder.
“We’re not paying Wilder to step aside. It’s better to get rid of him and go about our business. We can make the Fury-Joshua fight for November or December.”
August 14 is 88 days away and the clock is now ticking quicker than ever. One thing is for sure, we will see Tyson Fury in a boxing ring defending his world title before September 15.