Tyson Fury is edging closer to a crack at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder as negotiations continue between both sides.
The 29 year-old expressed his interest in the fight when UK rival Anthony Joshua turned down $50m to face Wilder and Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza says ongoing talks are going well.
“It is very, very close. There isn’t anything signed yet between Tyson and Deontay or their respective promoters, but it’s very, very close,” Espinoza told The Boxing Beat on ESPN+.
“Whether it’s 95 percent or 99 percent, it is very, very close. I think we’ll have paperwork imminently and the plan is for a Showtime Pay-Per-View (and) pair it with a really interesting fight.
“We don’t know what it is yet, but something that will definitely communicate that the fans are getting their money’s worth.”
Promoter Frank Warren announced recently that Showtime will also broadcast Fury’s return to the ring on Saturday, August 18 live from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The former IBF, WBA and WBO Heavyweight World Champion will square off against two-time heavyweight title challenger Francesco Pianeta in Fury’s second comeback fight after a two-and-a-half year layoff.
In the co-feature, two-division champion Frampton will defend his interim WBO Featherweight Title against undefeated Australian contender Luke Jackson on the pitch at Windsor Park, where an expected 30,000 fans will witness the first boxing event at the home of Northern Irish football.
Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) returned to the ring in June with a victory over Sefer Seferi, an outmatched opponent who retired on his stool after four rounds.
Southpaw Francesco Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs) represents a significant step-up in opposition for the 29-year-old Manchester native.
Prior to his nearly three-year layoff, the 6-foot-9 Fury established himself as the premier heavyweight boxer in the world by becoming the first man to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in more than 11 years—and by taking the IBF, WBA and WBO world title belts from the Ukrainian great in the process.
Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs), a 6-foot-5 southpaw who fights out of Germany, has twice challenged for the heavyweight world title. Pianeta faced then-unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and lost in a bid for a secondary title against Ruslan Chagaev in 2015.
A win over Fury would could put the 33-year-old Italian native back in the heavyweight title picture.