EXCLUSIVE: Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III postponed, inside reaction

Tyson Fury Deontay Wilder

Mikey Williams

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has tested positive for Covid-19 and has symptoms of the coronavirus, which forced his third fight with former titleholder Deontay Wilder to be postponed on Thursday, multiple sources told World Boxing News.

Fury and Wilder were due to meet in the main event of a joint ESPN/Fox Sports pay-per-view event on July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a fight Fury was forced to accept due to an arbitrator’s recent ruling binding him to the bout instead of his preferred undisputed title fight with three-belt titlist Anthony Joshua on Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia.

Now, the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III show has been postponed, and the two fighters will have to wait a bit longer to meet again, probably until early October, sources told World Boxing News.

Top Rank, Fury’s co-promoter with Frank Warren, and Premier Boxing Champions, which represents Wilder, did not confirm the postponement on Thursday, preferring to wait to make it official along with the new date being locked in, according to a source.

Top Rank’s only statement on the situation came earlier on Thursday after ESPN reported there had been a Covid-19 outbreak within Fury’s camp in Las Vegas that had jeopardized the fight.
“We continue to monitor the health status of Tyson and his team, and the status of the event has not changed to date,” Top Rank said in the statement.#

However, sources said Fury came down with symptoms and tested positive. At least three others associated with his camp also tested positive, according to a source: Fury assistant trainer and former middleweight world titlist Andy Lee, unbeaten featherweight and close Fury friend Issac Lowe, who was due to box on the undercard, and former heavyweight titlist Joseph Parker, who is trained by Lee and has been with him in camp.

VACCINATED

At the June 15 kickoff news conference in Los Angeles to formally announce the fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said both fighters and their teams had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“We tell all our fighters – you guys are fighting for big money, and promoters are laying out big money,” Arum said at the time. “Get yourself vaccinated, so you don’t (contract) the Covid. Now, you take the two fighters here. Fury is totally vaccinated. And I talked with (co-manager) Shelly Finkel a little while ago, and he said that Wilder’s been fully vaccinated. And their corners have been vaccinated. That’s taking responsibility.”

However, according to a source, Arum was incorrect. According to a source, Fury received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine but did not return to receive the second dose.

Finkel was irate about the postponement.

“If Tyson Fury and his team did what they should have done and said they had done, this fight would be on and not off,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News. “Deontay did what he was supposed to. He got his two Pfizer vaccines, and so did the members of his team. He’s ready to go, and this is because Fury did not do what he was supposed to.”

Along with the main event, other notable fights were also postponed, including the other pay-per-view fights: a heavyweight bout between undefeated up-and-comers Efe Ajagba and Frank Sanchez; a rematch between heavyweights Robert Helenius and Adam Kownacki, whom Helenius knocked out in an upset in March 2020; and heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson against Vladimir Treshkin. Also postponed was a preliminary bout between interim junior welterweight titlist Alberto Puello defending against Rances Barthelemy in a fight that has already been postponed multiple times for Covid-19 reasons.

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 poster

TYSON FURY vs. DEONTAY WILDER TRILOGY

Fury and Wilder met for the first time in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The fight was ruled a split draw after England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), 32, outboxed Wilder for long stretches, but Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), 35, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, scored two knockdowns, one in the ninth round and a massive one in the 12th round that Fury barely survived.

They met in a hugely hyped rematch on Feb. 22, 2020, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Fury dominated to retain the lineal title and take Wilder’s WBC belt. He dropped Wilder in the third and fifth rounds and was teeing off on him in the seventh round when Wilder’s now-fired co-trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel to end the bout. Neither has fought since.

After the loss, Wilder immediately exercised his contractual right to a rematch but ultimately had to go to arbitration to enforce his rights while also making numerous accusations and excuses for the loss. Among them, he said Breland had conspired with Fury’s team and spiked his water to make him weak, claimed the costume he wore for his ring walk was too heavy and left him with no energy, and accused Fury of tampering with his gloves to give him an advantage.

Dan Rafael is a lead boxing contributor for World Boxing News. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanRafael1. Dan Rafael is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.