The third meeting between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder has been added to the long list of major sporting events impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Following a seventh-round KO win for Fury in their highly anticipated rematch in February, Wilder invoked his rematch clause and the trilogy bout was set for July 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Speaking with ESPN, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum says that the fight is still slated to take place, but it will be pushed back until the fall due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Clearly not [happening on July 18],” Arum told ESPN. “We don’t even know if the MGM will even be open by then.”
Earlier this month, the Nevada State Athletic Commission revoked pending fight permits until they reconvened on March 25 due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19. On Monday, the NSAC cancelled that meeting leaving the future of combat sports events in the area in flux.
With everything up in the air around the world, Arum didn’t want to take any chances guaranteeing a specific date for the fighters, as well as the fans.
“You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date. We couldn’t convince them or ourselves,” Arum explained. “Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets? It’s absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can’t even get there.”
The first meeting between Fury and Wilder ended in a controversial split draw in December 2018. With the health and safety of everyone involved at the forefront, Arum is joining the majority of the sports world to pump the brakes on a third meeting that will likely generate an incredible amount of money.
A date for the heavyweight clash is not set, but the timeline looks to be in the fall.
“So everybody has to take a step back,” Arum said. “Boxing is not isolated. It’s part of what’s happening in the world. So possibly the fight will be in early October.”