By Jake Donovan
Yet another purse bid hearing has been postponed for the planned rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury—only the latest schedule interruption might not come with a rescheduled date.
A planned February 12 purse bid to be held at World Boxing Council (WBC) headquarters in Mexico City was removed from the daily agenda, as the teams remain close to finalizing terms for their anticipated sequel. The bout was originally due to become available to all WBC-registered promoters on February 5, but was granted a one-week delay.
As was the case this week, an extension was granted at the 11th hour as the sanctioning body was given every indication of a deal being closed to finalized. Enough progress has been made to where the sanctioning body has opted to not (yet) assign a revised deadline to reach terms.
“I am in direct communication with both parties who have expressed continued good will negotiations,” WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.
The free negotiations period and accompanying February 5 deadline was ordered in mid-January, shortly after the WBC officially approved plans for the sequel to their 12-round draw in Los Angeles.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39KOs) scored a pair of late knockdowns to salvage the 8th defense of the title, albeit in a widely disputed draw verdict which many felt should have went to Fury. Regardless, the official outcome left the unbeaten 33-year old from Tuscaloosa, Ala. with his title intact, and recently celebrating four years as champ dating back to a Jan. ’15 points win over Bermane Stiverne.
Those two bouts mark the lone occasions in Wilder’s career in which he’s been forced to go to the scorecards. Fury remains the only opponent over which he’s yet to score a stoppage win, having battered Stiverne inside of one round in their Nov. ’17 rematch.
Wilder and Fury have been eager to do it all over again from the bell sounded to end their heavyweight thriller, in which both heavyweights made their debut as a Pay-Per-View headliner in the United States. The Showtime Pay-Per-View event played to a crowd of more than 17,000 in attendance at the Staples Center, drawing in the range of 325,000 buys.
For his part, Fury (27-0-1, 19KOs) remains fighting fit and awaiting his marching orders for his next ring adventure. The 30-year old Brit gained accolades both for his performance along with his triumphant ring return last June, following a 31-month absence during which time he battled substance abuse and mental health issues all while having ballooned to as heavy as 400 pounds during one point.
The fall from grace left Fury without his slew of alphabet titles he collected from a Nov. ’15 upset win over Wladimir Klitschko, who’d reigned for more than 9 ½ years before dropping a clear-cut decision in their high-profile affair in Germany. A rematch was due to take place in England in 2016, only for Fury to twice postpone and ultimately cancel in getting his house in order.
A pair of tune-up wins last summer paved the way for Fury to maneuver towards his first figh with Wilder. The fact that he made it that far was widely celebrated, with his terrific boxing performance capping what was universally hailed as the 2017 Comeback of the Year.
His rising from the canvas in round 12 was nothing short of miraculous. Not only did Fury recover from the second knockdown of the bout, but less than a minute after having believed to have been knocked out went back to mocking and taunting Wilder as if he’d once again seized momentum.
The rematch plans to be even bigger and now has a little more time to finalize terms.
“I will continue to monitor (progress of the negotiations) during this week and will keep the WBC Board of Governors informed in case we need to take any action,” assured Sulaiman.
Industry sources with knowledge of current talks expect a deal to be reached and subsequent announcement to be made within the next 10 or so days. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com senior writer Keith Idec, the sequel will likely take place May 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.