WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) was hoping to fight WBO, IBF, and WBA king Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) this fall, but talks fell through and it won’t happen until 2019 at the earliest. That’s boxing for you.
Anyway, Wilder still doesn’t have a fight lined up for the rest of 2018, but that could soon change. Ring Magazine confirmed that Wilder’s team are in negotiations with former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) for a major matchup this December. According to Ring’s sources, if the fight does happen, then it’d be in Las Vegas and be broadcast on Showtime PPV, which would be Wilder’s pay-per-view headlining debut.
“Very close to being done,” Fury said in a video posted on Twitter. ” … We’re almost done with this deal. But I won’t be overlooking Francesco Pianeta, he’s going to give me the right fight and the right work to prepare me for Deontay Wilder. I’ve gotta flatten him first and then Wilder, let’s dance.
“You’ve been dealing with (expletive) in the past in (Eddie) Hearn and (Anthony) Joshua, but I am a man of me word and if I say I’ll fight, I’ll fight ya.”
Fury was critical of Joshua “avoiding” Wilder, and also indicated that he was willing to face the American, and asked for a contract to be sent.
The 29-year-old Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to end Wladimir’s dominance atop the heavyweight division, but failures for cocaine and PEDs led to him being stripped of his titles and away from boxing for more than two years. After a stint in rehab and ballooning well up to 350 pounds, Fury got his boxing license again, went back to the gym, lost weight, and made his return to the ring in June, winning a tune-up bout vs. Sefer Seferi.
As Fury mentioned in the video, he does have another tune-up lined up on August 18th, against faded former world title challenger Francesco Pianeta. Fury weighed 276 vs. Seferi, and one would think he’d be lighter vs. Pianeta, as he did weigh 247 against Klitschko three years back.
Fury may be a controversial figure, but he is the lineal heavyweight champion who never lost his belt in the ring. Two years ago, when Wilder defeated Artur Szpilka, Fury confronted Wilder and the two men engaged in a verbal battle.
Wilder is coming off a thrilling knockout of Luis Ortiz back in March, by far the best win on his record. If he were to fight Fury in a WBC title defense, it’d certainly be a chance to raise his profile, something he’s struggled to do despite consistently finishing his opponents. “The Bronze Bomber” is hardly a technical marvel, but he has terrifying power and Fury is still working his way back into fight shape after prolonged inactivity.
We’ll see what comes out of these negotiations, especially since Fury claims they’re close to the finish line. It’d certainly have major implications for the division, as well as the potential for a Fury win to turn into increased interest in Joshua to take on Fury instead of Wilder.