Tyson Fury’s world heavyweight title trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder has been called off after the Gypsy King himself was found to have tested positive for Covid among a number of his team.
The mega-millions bucks promotion in the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip is postponed, probably until early October.
That plunges into disarray the already much-delayed plans for Fury and his rival world heavyweight title holder, Anthony Joshua, to meet in a super-fight for the undisputed championship.
Tyson Fury’s fight with Deontay Wilder is off after the Gypsy King tested positive for Covid
Fury was set to face the Bronze Bomber on July 24 in a highly-anticipated trilogy match up
The Gypsy King and AJ were finally schedule to meet in Saudi Arabia this mid-winter, assuming Fury crushed Wilder a second time in Vegas and Joshua repelled a mandatory challenger for his belts from Oleksandr Usyk in Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in September.
Hopes of salvaging Fury v Wilder III on July 24 were dashed when it was finally admitted that not only three of his camp members but also Fury himself have tested positive for coronavirus.
Moreover, boxing reporter Dan Rafael claims that Fury has received his first vaccination dose, but is yet to receive his second injection.
An October fall-back date, also in Vegas, will rule out any chance of Fury facing Joshua in a predicted December showdown in Riyadh.
Fury battered Wilder from pillar to post when they last met in Las Vegas in February 2020
Public confidence that the pair will ever meet is sure to be further eroded now.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, responded to the news of Fury’s withdrawal on social media, stating that WBC interim title holder Dillian Whyte is prepared to step in on short notice to face the Bronze Bomber.
‘Spoke to @DillianWhyte – he is due to fight end of August but ready to jump in July 24 v Wilder,’ the Matchroom boxing chief tweeted.
The latest development comes after Top Rank, the Gypsy King’s Las Vegas promoters led by Bob Arum, issued this statement after claims of a Covid outbreak first emerged: ‘We continue to monitor the health status of Tyson and his team and the status of the event has not changed to date.’
Fury was believed to have been unaffected, but fresh reports suggest otherwise. A medical update is expected late on Friday.
The Gypsy King was set to lock horns with Wilder once again after the American successfully forced him to abandon plans to take on fellow Brit Anthony Joshua following a court arbitration and had been training hard in the US as he bids to down the Bronze Bomber for a second time.
Fury shocked the world in February 2020 when he stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their showdown in Las Vegas – taking his WBC world title belt in the process – but has not fought since.
He was widely expected to face Joshua in his next fight, with negotiations between Eddie Hearn and Fury’s promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum dragging on for months amid a struggle to nail down a site venue and agree terms.
The Gypsy King’s undisputed title fight against Anthony Joshua (R) could now be delayed further if his bout against Wilder is affected
But after the two teams finally reached a breakthrough in talks and the mega undisputed fight seemingly on the verge of being announced – a US judge ruled that Wilder had the right to a third fight with Fury.
The Joshua – Fury fight was swiftly dropped and Fury’s team turned their attentions to Wilder, quickly arranging a July date, with Joshua being forced to take on Oleksandr Usyk in September instead.
Fury could now be fighting in the same month if his contest against Wilder is confirmed to be delayed.
Fury, now WBC world champion, has not fought since beating Wilder in February 2020
Both fighters are hoping to come through their upcoming fights unscathed and set up a highly anticipated showdown – which had been mooted for this winter. But with the pair fighting so close to the end of the year a Spring date has also been suggested too.
Fury and Wilder had been engaging in their usual trash talk in the build up to this fight, with the British star vowing to ‘run him over like an 18-wheeler’.
‘I gave my game plan away the first time because he wasn’t good enough to do anything about it, I’ll do the same thing this time,’ he said at their first press conference – which saw the two face off in silence for an awkward five minutes.
‘Deontay Wilder is a one trick pony, he has one punch power, we all know that, great. What I’ll do to him this time is run him over as if I’m an 18-wheeler and he’s a human being, I guarantee you it does not go past where it did before.
‘I’ve had 18 months of practicing what I’m gonna do to him. I want to get up to 300 pounds for this fight and I’m looking for the big knockout straight away.’
Wilder has hit back in recent weeks and reiterated his claims that Fury ‘cheated’ in their second fight, suggesting he had put an egg weight in his gloves, and stressed he believed Fury would try to cheat in their third bout.
‘You think he ain’t gonna try to cheat this time?’ he told 78SPORTSTV. ‘Oh they’re thinking, they’re coming up with a master plan.
‘But my thing to him – man, you couldn’t even get me out on loaded gloves and the conditions I was under.
‘You couldn’t knock me out, you didn’t knock me out.’