Fury vs Wilder 3: 2020 or maybe not at all – Warren

Frank Warren says Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 may not happen at all if it doesn’t take place by the end of 2020.

Warren, whose Queensberry Promotions looks after ‘The Gypsy King’ along with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, says the WBC world heavyweight champion does not want to wait until 2021 to fight ‘The Bronze Bomber’ – although Arum has said early February in Asia is currently Plan B for the trilogy showdown.

Fury will fight again this year according to Warren, and he says after that the focus has to be on securing a massive showdown with fellow British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. They already have the financial structure of a two-fight deal in place.

“Tyson Fury isn’t going to wait until next year to fight Wilder. It has to happen this year or it may not happen,” Warren told Telegraph Sport.

“I can’t go into the contract, but I’m talking about what Tyson wants and that’s all I care about it.”

Warren added: “Tyson’s the fans’ favourite and the most famous boxer in the world. I want the best for him. I want him to come away from this sport having been the best of his generation. He has to fight Anthony Joshua.

“We talk about the Dillian Whyte fight and all the rest but AJ is the only fight fans are praying for. The fight the fans want is those two facing each other. That fight should be in the UK and we should be moving heaven and earth to make it work here. I don’t want to take that fight on the road.

“Kubrat Pulev has got a contract to fight Joshua and Tyson will fight this year, but the fight after that should be AJ. I hope it’s for the four belts, but if it’s not, it’s not. The belts are fantastic, but if that gets in the way of making the fight happen then forget the belts. At the end of the day, fans will be buying tickets to see these two fighters meet, not the belts.”

The big stumbling block to Fury vs Wilder 3 taking place any time soon of course is the COVID-19 pandemic – which currently makes holding the bout in front of a live gate in the United States impossible.

It had been hoped Allegiant Stadium – the new $2billion home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders – could stage the fight on Saturday December 19, in front of a limited crowd of around 20,000. But the Raiders say the stadium will be closed to fans for the 2020 football season – potentially scuppering that plan.

Warren detailed the challenges and risks currently presented by the pandemic, but says solutions must be found in the short term.

“But for now, the solution of stepping up from holding events to creating the biggest matchups viable, even behind closed doors, needs to be found,” he explained.

“Could Wilder-Fury take place behind closed doors? “Not unless someone takes a serious pay cut and I don’t see that happening,” Warren said. “You’re going from a gate that was the highest grossing heavyweight gate [17 million] in Vegas to nothing? That’s an absolute killer. How do you make that up?”

The heavyweight landscape right now is even more complicated than usual, with the pandemic adding to the normal political machinations of the sanctioning bodies.

As well as the delay to Fury vs Wilder 3, the WBC has said the winner must fight mandatory contender Dillian Whyte (27-1) next – assuming Whyte defeats Alexander Povetkin next Saturday (August 22), live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view and DAZN. ‘The Body Snatcher’ been waiting for more than 1000 days now for his title shot.

Joshua vs Pulev meanwhile is expected to finally take place at London’s O2 Arena in early December. Whether it will be in front of anything like a full crowd remains to be seen.

Fury of course could either be given franchise champion status by the WBC or vacate the built – in either scenario removing the obligation to face Whyte before Joshua.