Tyson Fury will defend the WBC heavyweight championship in opposition to Deontay Wilder on Oct. 9 at T-Cell Area in Las Vegas (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV). Their third battle is sort of three years within the making, and alongside the best way, their groups, different fighters and the authorized system have all performed an element.
Boxing’s heavyweight division was in a a lot completely different place on Dec. 1, 2018, the evening Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) fought for the primary time. Fury, Wilder and Anthony Joshua had been all undefeated, with Wilder carrying the WBC heavyweight title, Joshua carrying the opposite three belts and Fury proudly owning a tenuous maintain on boxing’s lineal heavyweight title — three years after defeating Wladimir Klitschko for 3 world titles. Fury then took a hiatus from the game to focus on his mental health, throughout which period he was stripped of the IBF title in 2015 and vacated the other two world titles in October 2016.
Fury was up on the scorecards heading into the final 4 rounds, however Wilder knocked Fury down twice, in Rounds 9 and 12. The second knockdown appeared as if it may maintain Fury down and earn Wilder a late KO victory, however on the remaining moments of the referee’s depend, Fury popped again up and made it to the ultimate bell. The judges scored the battle a cut up draw, with one scorecard every in Fury’s and Wilder’s favor.
It took a bit of over a yr for the rematch, as each Fury and Wilder received twice in 2019. By the point they squared off for the second time, Joshua had misplaced his three world titles after which regained them from Andy Ruiz.
The second battle, on Feb. 22, 2020, regarded rather a lot completely different than the primary. Fury promised a much more aggressive strategy, after which delivered. He pushed the motion all through, knocked Wilder down in the third and fifth rounds, and by Spherical 7, Mark Breland had seen sufficient in Wilder’s nook, and threw in the towel.
Fury had received the WBC belt, and regardless of a trilogy battle being written into the Wilder-Fury II contract, there could be many twists and turns alongside the best way earlier than reaching this third battle.
Within the days following the battle, Wilder insisted that he would exercise his option for a third fight. He additionally proclaimed the 40-pound costume he wore during his walk to the ring hampered his performance.
Wilder formally exercised his right to a third fight on March 1, 2020, with a focused date of July 18, however the battle would not come collectively for greater than 19 months. Wilder-Fury II was one of many final main sporting occasions earlier than the world floor to a halt within the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, placing any plans on pause.
Of their 2020 battle, Tyson Fury put Deontay Wilder on the mat twice as he received by TKO within the seventh spherical to stay undefeated and declare the WBC heavyweight championship.
Within the fall of 2020, there was dialogue of a December 2020 date at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, however soccer and different components pushed the date once more. A month later, Wilder took to social media to tell Fury to “be a man and honor your word.”
Within the midst of making an attempt to place Fury-Wilder III collectively, Joshua and Fury circled round a title unification battle as nicely. As early as June 2020, their teams started putting together the framework for a two-fight deal. Even within the instant aftermath of Wilder-Fury II, the boxing world and a few of its most prolific fighters were calling for Joshua vs. Fury.
In March 2021, greater than a yr out from the second Wilder-Fury battle, Joshua and Fury officially signed their deal, and it appeared as if boxing would get its first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis in April 2000 with a focused date for August 2021. However talks for the battle collapsed in Could, as an arbitrator dominated that Fury and Wilder would have to honor their initial contract and fight by Sept. 15. Inside per week, they’d agreed to a bout on July 24 at T-Cell Area in Las Vegas, with Joshua off to battle obligatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk and left doubting a fight with Fury would ever happen.
However there could be one more twist simply weeks out from battle evening. On July 8, the battle was postponed after Fury tested positive for COVID. Every week after that, Fury-Wilder III was locked in for Oct. 9, and that very same week, Joshua’s battle in opposition to Usyk was set for just a couple weeks prior to Wilder-Fury III.
Hopes for an all U.K. heavyweight championship unification superfight between Fury and Joshua had been dashed on Sept. 25, as Usyk dominated Joshua on his solution to a transparent unanimous choice victory and received three world titles. Whereas Joshua has a rematch clause that he, too, intends to set off, Usyk is already looking forward to a unification bout in opposition to the winner of Fury-Wilder III.
Now, all that is still is a battle nearly three years within the making. Will Fury end what he began within the second battle, and proceed to dominate? Or will Wilder recapture his type from late within the first battle and regain the title he misplaced?
A few of boxing’s greatest trainers, together with Buddy McGirt and Joe Goossen, weigh in on Breland dropping by the wayside for Wilder regardless of Wilder’s needs, the difficulties that include dropping by the wayside and the believability of Wilder’s costume enjoying a consider tiring him out.
We doubtless would have by no means gotten to Fury-Wilder III if the occasions of Spherical 12 within the first battle had performed out even barely otherwise. In an oral historical past of that second, the important thing figures keep in mind the way it performed out from their perspective.
Andre Ward critiques the primary battle between Wilder and Fury, and breaks down the mechanics and methods concerned in a few of the key moments within the battle.
Within the lead-up to Wilder-Fury II, Fury sits down with Mark Kriegel and dictates precisely how he’s going to beat Wilder, earlier than he does precisely that.
From Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney to Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, a take a look at how essential heavyweight title rematches have been to the game.