We’ve not had much discussion here about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on boxing, but several major shows around the world have since been postponed indefinitely, including the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy.
Top Rank Boxing chairman Bob Arum told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that the WBC heavyweight championship bout, originally penciled in for July 18th in Las Vegas, is now off the table until at least the fall.
“Clearly not [ready for July 18],” Arum said (via ESPN). “We don’t even know if the MGM will even be open by then.”
While UFC president Dana White has been unbelievably insistent that his shows need to go on in the middle of a worldwide crisis, Arum was quite candid about the harsh realities and the impracticality of trying to run any of these cards over the next few months.
“You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date. We couldn’t convince them or ourselves,” Arum said. “Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets? It’s absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can’t even get there.”
“So everybody has to take a step back. Boxing is not isolated. It’s part of what’s happening in the world,” Arum continued. “So possibly the fight will be in early October.”
After a controversial split draw in December 2018, Fury dominated stopped Wilder last month in a joint ESPN-FOX PPV that sold a reported 800,000-850,000 buys. A rematch clause was exercised by Wilder and his team, but if they are to fight again, it won’t be until towards the end of the year... provided this pandemic is under some semblance of control.
In case you’re wondering, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled through the end of April, while Premier Boxing Champions has done the same through the end of May. Restrictions by the UK government will likely wipe out Matchroom Boxing cards through May, and potentially push Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev towards July or later.