Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight unification bout scheduled for Aug. 14 was cast into doubt on Monday after an arbitrator ruled in favor of former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, forcing Fury to face the American for a third time before Sept. 15.
A day after Fury tweeted the all-British meeting was “100 percent on” for mid-August, former federal judge Daniel Weinstein granted an injunction to Wilder — who initiated the action — forcing Fury to fight him a third time. The Daily Star (London) was the first to break the news.
Fury (30-0-1, 29 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) signed a two-fight deal in 2019, with the latter exercising the rematch clause following his seventh-round TKO loss on Feb. 22, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic caused several delays to a third fight, however; Wilder exercised the dispute resolution provision in the contract, triggering Weinstein’s binding arbitration.
In his ruling, Weinstein denied Wilder monetary damages, and allowed for both fighters’ camps to agree to an extension, making it possible they could fight following Fury and Joshua’s two-match deal (which was agreed to in March, but not signed). If that were to be the case, it would likely occur after both the British boxers’ fights.
Any extension would also likely include a significant payday for Wilder, considering Fury and Joshua’s first fight includes a record-breaking $155-million site fee in Saudia Arabia. That said, Fury’s American promotor, Bob Arum, said he would abide by Weinstein’s ruling, likely moving Fury’s fight with Joshua to late 2021 at the earliest.
“We’re not paying Wilder to step aside,” Arum told ESPN on Monday. “It’s better to get rid of him and go about our business. We can make the Fury-Joshua fight for November or December.”
Neither Fury nor Wilder has fought since their February 2020 match. They first fought to a controversial split-decision draw on Dec. 1, 2018; though Wilder scored two knockdowns against Fury, many thought he had been outboxed throughout the 12-round fight. In the rematch, Fury secured Wilder’s WBC and vacant The Ring heavyweight belts with a resounding seventh-round TKO victory.
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