The trilogy fight for the WBC world heavyweight title was initially scheduled for July, and then October. Both dates were scuppered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which shows no signs of abating in the United States.
Now December 19 represents the last realistic chance to put the eagerly-awaited showdown on this year, with Fury in particular desperate to fight again before 2020 ends.
Allegiant Stadium, the new $2billion home of the NFL”s Las Vegas Raiders, had looked in doubt as a possible home for the fight when the team announced last month that it would be closed to fans for the entirety of the football season.
But Arum told ESPN that he still hopes to hold the bout there, with between 10,000 and 15,000 fans inside a stadium which can hold up to 65,000.
“That’s what we’re moving ahead on, on all fronts, with the security, with the virus, and everything,” he said.
“We’re talking with everybody here in town, with the Raiders. So we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to do the event in Nevada, in Las Vegas.”
Arum has consistently said that the fight could not go ahead without a crowd in attendance – the live gate of almost $17million for Fury vs Wilder 2 in Vegas in February was a new record for a heavyweight bout.
The 88-year-old Hall of Fame promoter had recently mooted the possibility that the showdown may have to be moved back yet again to February 2021 and held outside the United States, with Asia the prime fallback plan.
Fury vs Wilder 3 has huge importance for Fury on a number of levels. Not only does ‘The Gypsy King’ (30-0-1) put his unbeaten record and his WBC, Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles on the line against a man he describes as the most dangerous out there. But he also knows that victory would leave him free to pursue a blockbusting unification match with fellow Brit Anthony Joshua (23-1) next summer.
Joshua meanwhile is expected to face Bulgarian IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev (28-1) at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday December 12.