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Judge rules in favor of Deontay Wilder in Tyson Fury rematch dispute, putting Joshua fight in doubt

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Dammit, boxing.

BOX-HEAVY-WORLD-USA-GBR-WILDER-FURY
Yeah we may get this fight again and not Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua.
Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Plot twist!

Just about every hurdle had been cleared for Tyson Fury to fight Anthony Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight title, but there’s one that could trip this up before we get to the finish line (aka an official announcement).

Well this is boxing and nothing can ever be that easy.

According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger and the Daily Star’s Chris McKenna, arbitration court judge Daniel Weinstein ruled in favor of Deontay Wilder and his team over a contract dispute concerning a trilogy bout between him and Fury. Team Wilder enacted the rematch clause right after Fury’s TKO win last year, but the pandemic shut down plans to book that third fight, and Fury announced in December that he was moving on from the Wilder matchup. Top Rank believed that the rematch clause had expired, therefore allowing them to pursue other fights. This case went to mediation and obviously the judge disagreed and sided with Wilder.

So what does this mean? Well the ruling specifies that Fury vs. Wilder 3 must happen by September 15th of this year. The Fury vs. Joshua showdown was set for August 14th in Saudi Arabia. That’s now very much in danger of not happening based on Monday’s court ruling, but it’s not a certainty to be tossed aside. We could see some contract reworking to guarantee that Wilder faces the Fury-Joshua winner next, a step-aside fee to Wilder so that this bout could proceed, etc.

Stay tuned because the drama has only just begun. A contract is a contract and it sure is something that one mega-fight is in jeopardy because the previous heavyweight mega-fight had a rematch clause regardless of how lopsided the fight ended up being.