Saturday, January 28, 2023  |



Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury in negotiations for heavyweight title fight later this year

Tyson Fury (right) and Deontay Wilder.

The only time Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have shared a ring, it was January 16, 2016, in Brooklyn, and “The Bronze Bomber” had just rendered his opponent unconscious.

Shortly after Wilder separated Artur Szpilka from his senses, the brash Brit stormed the ring, and the two behemoths engaged in a war of words. It was quite the spectacle as security attempted to restore calm, but unfortunately, it never amounted to a fight.

Tyson Fury headed to rehab and only returned to the ring last month for the first time since he won the lineal heavyweight championship from Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. With Fury now active and back in fighting shape, the bout with Wilder is once again on the table.

Fury (26-0, 19 knockouts) revealed Monday that he’s in negotiations for a December meeting with Wilder. Wilder’s head trainer and co-manager, Jay Deas, confirmed the talks when contacted by The Ring, and it appears the stage is set for the two big men to square off if they can reach the finish line in negotiations.

“Very close to being done,” Fury said in the video he posted on Twitter. ” … We’re almost done with this deal. But I won’t be overlooking Francesco Pianeta, he’s going to give me the right fight and the right work to prepare me for Deontay Wilder. I’ve gotta flatten him first and then Wilder, let’s dance.

“You’ve been dealing with (expletive) in the past in (Eddie) Hearn and (Anthony) Joshua, but I am a man of me word and if I say I’ll fight, I’ll fight ya.”

If the fight comes to fruition, it would take place in Las Vegas and be televised on Showtime pay-per-view, multiple sources told The Ring.

Wilder, The Ring’s No. 2-rated heavyweight and the WBC titleholder, hoped to fight Anthony Joshua this fall in a massive fight over in England, but talks fell apart and The Ring’s No. 1-rated heavyweight will instead face Alexander Povetkin on September 22.

There was talk Wilder would instead face Dominic Breazeale in a routine title defense this fall on Showtime, but the Fury matchup presents a tantalizing option for a major bout that doesn’t involve Joshua.

“I’m hopeful for some good news,” Deas said. “I wouldn’t call it a consolation prize; I’d call it a vast improvement. Tyson Fury’s the lineal champion and undefeated. He’s a very, very interesting person and a very good fighter and if that fight can be made, we’ve always said we want the biggest fights and I think that would be at tremendously big fight.

“The winner of the fight, if it happens, between Wilder and Fury, would really be the hottest property in boxing, certainly in the heavyweight division, and would control his own destiny. … You’d have an international star on your hands.”

That’s exactly what Wilder needs as he surely heads toward another grueling round of negotiations with Joshua next year: a larger profile and the leverage that comes with it. Sharing the ring with one of England’s biggest boxing stars would do the trick, and it would mark Wilder’s debut on U.S. pay-per-view.

It’s certainly a surprise that Fury is being positioned for such a marquee fight so soon after he ended a two-and-a-half-year layoff. He ballooned in weight to around 350 pounds and was fresh out of rehab for cocaine addiction. The 6-foot-9 Gypsy also battled depression, and his fourth-round stoppage of journeyman Sefer Seferi in June showed us little about just how much Fury has left.

But at 29 years old, and with another fight set for August 18, promoter Frank Warren apparently believes Fury, a talented boxer, is up to the task to face the sport’s most dangerous puncher.

Wilder, 32, is coming off his career-best performance, a come-from-behind knockout of top contender Luis Ortiz in March. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native was riding a wave of momentum after the victory, but then he ran into a roadblock when the super fight with Joshua never materialized.

Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) has since been vocal about his displeasure with the fight not taking place, but if he can lure Fury into the ring, he’ll have secured the second-biggest bout that can be consummated in boxing’s glamour division.

“I was optimistic that the Joshua fight would happen until the last minute when I heard it wasn’t,” Deas said. “I remain optimistic that this fight will happen, and the timeframe of the last part of ’18 works, we certainly want to be in the ring before the end of the year.

“Deontay loves to fight, he’s only been in the ring once in 2018. If it were up to him he’d fight four or five times a year.”

Wilder was left at the altar once already. This time around, he might finally get his hands on a heavyweight champion from England.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger