The biggest heavyweight bout of the summer has been postponed. Tyson Fury has tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout against Deontay Wilder will be rescheduled for later this year, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The fight was originally scheduled for July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with the broadcast on both Fox and ESPN+ pay-per-view. Sources told ESPN a weekend in October is the new targeted date with the Manny Pacquiao-Errol Spence Jr. PPV on Aug. 21 and Canelo Alvarez scheduled to fight in the second or third week of September.
Sources said multiple people in Fury’s camp have tested positive. Fury is likely to return to England and ultimately come back to the United States for camp when the time is right.
“It was a crazy roller coaster toward this fight,” Fury said at last month’s news conference in Los Angeles to promote the fight. “I always say, ‘You’re never fighting someone until you’re in the ring opposite them.'”
Fury and Wilder have already met twice. The first fight came in December 2018 and ended in a disputed draw. Despite Fury suffering two knockdowns — including one in the final round — most observers believed he deserved the nod.
The “Gypsy King” left no doubt in the rematch in February 2020, scoring two knockdowns himself en route to a seventh-round stoppage after Wilder’s cornerman, Mark Breland, threw in the towel.
Neither Fury, 32, nor Wilder has appeared in the ring since. Wilder, 35, exercised his contractual right to a third fight afterward, but the pandemic prevented Top Rank (Fury’s promoter) and PBC from staging the fight before a full audience.
The gate for the second bout generated $16,916,440 — a Nevada record for a heavyweight title fight. The pay-per-view, priced at $79.99, raked in nearly 900,000 buys, sources told ESPN.
Top Rank and PBC attempted to stage the bout last December after a previously planned October date was deemed unfeasible due to COVID restrictions, but the unexpected resumption of the college football season left few available PPV dates in the final month of 2020 with two networks involved.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and his team then considered the rematch clause expired and pushed forward with negotiations for a megafight with fellow Englishman Anthony Joshua which would crown an undisputed heavyweight champion. The sides agreed to a deal in May, with Fury announcing on May 16 the fight would take place Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia.
In the background, an independent arbitrator, Daniel Weinstein, was determining whether Fury indeed owed Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) a third fight. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum was deposed, as was his stepson, Top Rank president Todd duBoef. So, too, were PBC founder Al Haymon, Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel and PBC executive Bruce Binkow. Fury and Wilder also gave depositions.
On May 17, one day after Fury announced he would meet Joshua in August, Weinstein ruled that he owed Wilder another fight.
“I didn’t feel any way about Fury trying to negotiate another fight,” Wilder said at the news conference last month in Los Angeles. “We knew we were in the right and we knew they couldn’t run.”
Now Wilder will have to wait a little longer for that chance at revenge.
Fury’s positive test was first reported by Dan Rafael.