29 December 2019 00:32
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have agreed to a trilogy of fights as part of their rematch in Las Vegas on Feb 22. The promoters also say they turned down "a lot of money" from Saudi Arabia to pursue an expected two-million pay-per-view-sales at the MGM Grand resort in Nevada. Wilder-Fury II is almost certain to lead to a third bout after their sensational first world heavyweight title fight in Los Angeles was scored a draw. Bob Arum, the American promoter who is in London to publicise the Feb 22 contest, says: "The deal is that the loser of the fight can ask for a third fight, and he gets 40 per cent to the winner's 60 per cent. So if Wilder loses the fight, he doesn't necessarily have to ask for a rematch." But if the loser demands a rematch the winner is obliged to say yes.
The rematch is expected to be one of the biggest heavyweight events in decades. "The first fight did 350,000 [on American pay-per-view], but nobody knew Tyson Fury in the States," Arum says. "And, based on his two prior fights, nobody gave him a chance. He's a guy who's larger than life, he knows how to promote himself." Wilder-Fury II breaks new ground for the heavyweight division in being a joint pay-per-view promotion for ESPN and Fox Sports, with the usual press conference tour replaced by high-profile television appearances by both fighters. This weekend, they attended US college football semi-finals. "Each event will probably have 45-60 million viewers," Arum said. Wilder was in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl and will be "all over that telecast. Later in the day, in Arizona, for the Fiesta Bowl, Fury is all over it." Both will attend the National Championship.