When Deontay Wilder took on Tyson Fury for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2018, it was the boxing story of the year. Wilder was the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion, while Fury was the former WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion whose career had been plagued by struggles with depression and drug use.
Despite all the pre-match hype, boxing fans were left stunned when the fight ended in a split decision draw (115–111, 112–114, 113–113). The result could mean only one thing: a rematch. And we are now just a few months away from the showdown due to take place on February 23, 2020.
Fury’s injury blow
Tyson Fury’s preparations were dealt a blow in September 2019 when he suffered two deep gashes above the eye in his match with Otto Wallin in Las Vegas. The Gypsy King required 47 stitches and plastic surgery but is expected to recover in time. However, the incident has given Deontay Wilder a target to exploit when the two meet next year.
There was a strong case to be made that the fight should have been stopped but Fury went on to win on points to keep the rematch on track. Fury has yet to lose any of his titles in the ring.
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Wilder faces test in November
Meanwhile, Wilder is due to take on Luis Ortiz in November and providing he passes that test, the build-up for the rematch will begin. If the fight goes ahead, it is likely to be the richest ever seen in the sport surpassing the “Fight of the Century” match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao that took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2015 and raised over $600m in revenue.
Bookies cannot split them
In the early boxing betting markets, there is little to split the two with some bookmakers favouring the American and others leaning towards the English-born fighter. Wilder’s performance against Ortiz could have an effect on the early prices.
After overcoming battles outside of the ring, Fury will be keen to take the WBC crown from his rival. The other belts (WBA, WBO and IBF) are in the possession of Andy Ruiz Jr, who upset the boxing world by beating Anthony Joshua back in June. Joshua had been expected to face Wilder but will now have to reestablish himself as a contender by winning the rematch due to take place in Saudi Arabia in December. If he can win his titles back, plans for a monster unification fight would get underway.
There have been some epic boxing matches throughout the history of the sport and while the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight remains the highest-grossing of all time, there is something about the heavyweight showdowns that really captures the imagination of the public. And the Wilder Vs Fury headliner will be no exception.