Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will meet in the ring again this year, after the former exercised his right to the Gypsy King for a third time.
On February 22, Fury ended Wilder’s five-year reign as WBC heavyweight champion, becoming the first man to defeat the Bronze Bomber in his 44th professional fight.
Despite being stopped in seven rounds, Wilder said after the fight that he would “definitely” want to fight Fury again and intended to exercise his option for a third bout, as stipulated by the contract the two boxers signed ahead of the rematch.
Over the weekend, Wilder formally requested a third fight, before posting a video on social media in which he addressed his fans and reassured them that “The war has just begun and I will rise again.”
Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter in the U.S. and Top Rank chairman, suggested Wilder’s decision to pick up his option for a third bout did not come as a surprise.
“I figured he would do it because I have had enough experience with rematches to know that anything can happen and guys can change their strategy and want the opportunity to [avenge] the loss,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN.
Arum added that the fight will take place on July 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same venue that hosted the rematch last month. A clause in the contract for the rematch stipulated an eventual third fight would have to be held in Las Vegas, New York or Los Angeles but a return to the venue that hosted the rematch was the preferred option.
“Now we will sit down and go through all the details for the fight,” he explained.
“We realized that date was the favorite of both ESPN and Fox because it comes at a dead time in sports, which is good for the fight. It’s after the basketball playoffs, baseball is in the middle of the season and there’s no football. It’s the ideal time.”
Writing for British broadcaster talkSPORT, Fury’s British promoter Frank Warren also confirmed the fight will take place before this summer’s Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Tokyo between July 24 and August 9.
While the two boxers split the purse equally last month, Fury will pocket 60 percent of the earnings for their third fight, with Wilder receiving the remaining 40 percent.
Following a split draw in their first fight in Los Angeles in December 2018, the rematch in Las Vegas was hailed as the biggest heavyweight encounter in years and lived up to expectations.
Fury delivered a boxing masterclass, sticking to his promise of adopting a far more attacking approach than in the first bout.
In the third round, Wilder hit the canvas for the first time in almost 10 years, after being hit by a smashing right hand to the temple.
The American had last been knocked down by Harold Sconiers nearly a decade and some 30 fights ago, before recovering to win by KO.
There was no repeat of such a scenario in Las Vegas, as Fury floored the American again with a devastating body blow in the fifth.
With the Bronze Bomber unsteady on his legs and bleeding from his left ear, Wilder’s assistant trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel at the 1:39 mark of the seventh round to spare his man further punishment.