Mark your calendars, as the big heavyweight championship rematch is now official for February 22nd.
On Friday, the WBC title fight between champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) was formally announced for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a co-promotion venture between Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and Bob Arum’s Top Rank, and with that is a rare joint PPV production involving FOX Sports and ESPN+. Details for the UK rights are unknown at this point.
Wilder and Fury famously fought to a split draw last year, with Wilder twice flooring Fury but failing to put him away. The consensus opinion was that Fury outboxed Wilder, but the two knockdowns proved vital in the extraordinarily heavy-handed Wilder retaining his title. An immediate rematch was planned for May of this year, but Fury opting to sign with Top Rank led to the good ol’ game of “marination” to build the rematch up.
In lieu of an insta-rematch, Wilder spent his 2019 knocking out mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale in one round, followed by a vicious KO of Luis Ortiz in their pay-per-view rematch last month. Sales for the Ortiz fight didn’t particularly impress, topping at no higher than 275,000 buys. His first bout with Fury did draw an estimated 325,000 US buys, which should be easily exceeded in the rematch.
Fury’s first two bouts on ESPN/ESPN+ were not particularly competitive on paper. He destroyed Tom Schwarz in just two rounds in June, then had a tougher than expected decision win over Sweden’s Otto Wallin, who opened up a nasty cut above his eye through a left hook. The plan was for both men to take interim bouts this year and if they came away relatively unscathed in their victories, the rematch would happen, with a trilogy also penciled in for the summer.
There will be no press tour for this highly anticipated bout, but there will be plenty of media appearances for Wilder and Fury on FOX and ESPN over the next two months, starting with Fury on Saturday’s college football playoff between Ohio State and Clemson down in Arizona.
Undercard information will be announced at a later date, with a plan in place for both PBC and Top Rank to have one fight each on the pay-per-view, with six prelims (split into three apiece) that will air on FOX and ESPN platforms.
Tickets for Wilder vs. Fury II are on sale now.