Tyson Fury turned down an ordered rematch with WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder in order to sign with Top Rank and ESPN, and during this Saturday night’s ESPN broadcast, we’ll know the full details of his debut with the company.
Saturday’s card is set to be headlined by a heavyweight main event between Kubrat Pulev and Bogdan Dinu.
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO) fought Wilder to a draw on Dec. 1 on Showtime pay-per-view, which marked his return to serious competition. He is most famous for being the man to finally end Wladimir Klitschko’s reign atop the division in 2015, after which he didn’t fight again until June of last year, when he beat Sefer Seferi. He returned two months later and beat Francesco Pianeta, and then faced Wilder in December.
It was a fight some thought was going to be too soon for him given the long layoff and lack of serious fights in three years, but he acquitted himself incredibly well, despite being knocked down twice. Most observers saw Fury outpointing Wilder in spite of the knockdowns, but the result came back a draw.
His swerve away from the rematch came as a surprise, but Fury’s always been unpredictable. Top Rank currently plans to try and up his profile in the U.S., feeling that Wilder-Fury II can be a huge pay-per-view down the line. Or, if that never happens, Joshua-Fury could be huge, too, or whatever.
My advice would be to not expect a lot. It’s been figured he’ll fight in June — Wilder fights on May 18, Joshua on June 1 — and probably in Las Vegas. But the likes of Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KO) are probably as good as the opposition will get, and maybe not even that good. We’ll know Saturday.