EXCLUSIVE: Deontay Wilder ‘turned to Tyson Fury’ when AJ backed out

Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury

Stephanie Trapp

Deontay Wilder’s co-manager and advisor Shelly Finkel says the WBC champion had no intention of settling for a mandatory defense of his title following the collapse of a fight with Anthony Joshua.

Wilder had instructed his team to make sure an undisputed unification with Joshua happened in 2018, and almost immediately, an eye-popping offer of $50m was laid down.

With a massive Showtime Pay-Per-View date in the late fall already agreed, plans were put in motion to secure Joshua with the most enticing offer to any top division champion in history.

Sadly the offer was rejected. Despite further efforts to secure Joshua for a UK clash since then, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ has reverted to his original PPV blueprint and turned to ex-unified ruler Tyson Fury to fill the void in the opposite corner.

Fury has this week been vocal in confirming a deal was appealing via his social media, with Finkel confirming he’s pulling every ounce of his powers towards getting a deal done.

On turning to Fury following Joshua’s refusal, Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News: “Tyson Fury is not afraid, maybe like Anthony Joshua was, to come over to the US and fight Deontay. So for us, it’s the biggest fight out there we can make right now.

“We wanted Joshua, and I have my own opinions as to why they don’t want to do it, but now we have the chance to make the biggest fight out there for Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury.

“Right now, it looks excellent that it will happen in November or December, and we want to make it happen.

“We hope by next week Wilder v Fury will be done,” he added.


Disappointment at Joshua backing out has now subsided and been replaced by genuine excitement for what will be the top division event of 2018 in the boxing capital of the world, Las Vegas.

“We’ve been talking to Frank Warren for around two weeks now, and we’re close,” explained Finkel. “Everybody is working hard to get the deal done, and we’re hopeful it will happen because it’s a big, big fight and one that Deontay wants.

“All being well, it will take place November or December in the United States.”

At 29, Fury ended a three and a half year exile from the ring against Sefer Seferi in June, blowing off the cobwebs in an easy five-round win.

Problems outside of the ring surfaced when Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf to become the unified champion of the world, seeing his life spiral out of control until a recent realization and resurgence.

‘The Gypsy King’ is now firmly back in contention, having been ranked at number seven by the WBC and will have one more outing against former Klitschko opponent Francesco Pianeta next month.


On Fury getting back to competing at the top level, Finkel was confident the ex-ruler could whip himself into the best shape possible, having been training since October of 2017.

“Fighters who are a level above find a way to win. Look against Wladimir Klitschko, no-one gave him a chance to win, and he went there and won,” pointed out the New Yorker.

“With Sugar Ray Leonard, people said, ‘he didn’t look that good’ – but he came out of retirement after a couple of years and went right and beat Marvin Hagler.

“Same with Evander Holyfield when he didn’t look too good before the Mike Tyson fight. People said he’d get killed against Tyson, but he went there and beat him, so history is full of those kinds of stories.

“Since he’s come back, Tyson Fury is serious, and if he didn’t believe he could do it, he wouldn’t do it,” he said.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay