The third instalment of Tyson Fury’s trilogy against Deontay Wilder has been postponed until October following a Covid-19 outbreak in the champion’s camp, according to reports.
The third clash between the WBC title-holder and the American was set for July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However The Athletic reported on Friday that a spread of positive cases through Fury’s gym had made the bout, according to one primary source, “overwhelmingly problematic”.
The publication said Fury's promoter - Top Rank chief Bob Arum - and representatives for Wilder met on Thursday afternoon to address the issue. ESPN was the first to report news of a possible delay. According to The Athletic, at least 10 people in Fury’s Vegas gym had tested positive, with officials apparently to make an official announcement of the postponement later on Friday.
Neither the unbeaten Fury or former champion Wilder has fought since their rematch in February last year, when the Brit boxer stopped the then-undefeated American in the seventh round. Wilder was dropped twice in the bout. The first match-up between the pair, in December 2018, had ended in a draw.
Prior to the Wilder trilogy, Fury had agreed to a money-spinning world heavyweight unification fight with WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua in August, only for an arbitrator to rule that Fury owed Wilder a shot at redemption first. Joshua, meanwhile, looks set to compete before his rival, with the Englishman defending his belts against Oleksandr Usyk on September 25 in London.
As for Fury-Wilder 3, Arum told The Athletic that October seems the most likely date, given T-Mobile Arena hosts Manny Pacquiao against Errol Spence Jr on August 21, followed by a UFC event on Labour Day weekend (September 4/5). Understandably, the Fury-Wilder representatives do not want to compete with Joshua-Usyk later that month.
At a recent press conference to promote the July 24 fight, Wilder wore headphones and refused to answer questions from supporters. The Alabama native, 35, has made significant changes to his team ahead of the encounter against Fury, including firing trainer Mark Breland, who had thrown in the towel to end the second fight. Wilder has since appointed Malik Scott as trainer.