The biggest fight left in boxing could happen sooner than expected after a stunning revelation from Tyson Fury's promoter.
Frank Warren has dropped a major bombshell after confirming that the undefeated Brit could pay off Deontay Wilder, rather than fight the American a third time.
Fury dominated Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch, brutally inflicting the first defeat of the American's professional career with a seventh round TKO triumph.
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Many good judges also had the 31-year-old Brit winning the first fight that ended in a controversial split draw, despite the fact he was knocked down twice.
Part of the deal for the second fight contained a rematch clause that the losing fighter had the option to take up.
Wilder could yet enact the rematch clause in the contract but Fury's promoter Warren says they may try and convince him to turn it down by offering substantial compensation.
“It would be expensive — but who knows?” Warren told The Telegraph.
“The only way you find it is if you try.”
The hope for Fury’s team would be to set up a title unification bout with IBF-WBA-WBO champion Anthony Joshua that would undoubtedly sell out any stadium in Britain.
But those hopes took a hit later Thursday when Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole reported that Joshua’s next bout will be a mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev on June 20 in the United Kingdom.
Any Joshua-Fury matchup would have to get in line behind that bout regardless of what happens with Wilder’s rematch clause.
Nevertheless, Warren has been quick to take aim at Wilder's "stupid" excuses about why he lost the rematch against Fury.
“He’s made some stupid statements, I think,” Warren said of Wilder.
“I hoped he’d take the defeat as I think he should have done – with grace.
“All that nonsense about the costume was garbage.”
Warren was referencing Wilder’s interview with Yahoo Sports after the second fight, where the American denies being hurt by Fury and insists the loss was down to his costume.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is ... that my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder told Iole on Monday. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through.”
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Wilder wanted to make his ring walk prior to his fight with Fury on Saturday special and wore a 40-pound (18kg) costume as a tribute to Black History Month.
But Wilder said the costume was too heavy and was the reason that he didn’t have his legs under him in his seventh-round TKO loss to Fury.
But in a 2018 interview with Joe Rogan, Wilder tells him he sometimes trains with heavy weights to help his explosive power.
“We wanted to activate the fast twitch muscles with rapid speed so if I do anything that consists of me moving my feet it’s sprinting,” he said.
“I wear a 45lb (20kg) vest during all my exercises and everything that I do, to have that extra weight on me.”
BT Sport also released footage of Wilder training in a weight vest in the promo prior to the rematch.
Whyte used a clip of this interview with Rogan to call out Wilder’s excuse.
Even ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith found the excuse poor.
“I’m very fond of Deontay Wilder,” he said on ESPN’s ‘First Take’. “I’ve spoken to him on several occasions away from the boxing arena. I really, really like him. So I hope that he accepts what I’m about to say in the spirit that it’s given.
“This might be the most embarrassing excuse that I have ever heard for a guy losing the fight. I am not questioning it’s validity ... I’m not saying that it may not be true ... he’s an honourable dude; I will take him at his word.
He said he will go to Africa at the end of March on vacation and plans to exercise his rematch clause for a third fight with Fury, and that he’ll get back to boxing once he returns from Africa.
Wilder also said he is upset with assistant trainer Mark Breland for throwing in the towel to stop the fight and suggested that Breland will no longer be part of the team on fight night.
He said he was displeased with the work of referee Kenny Bayless, who took a point from Fury in the fifth round, and went out of his way to congratulate Fury on his performance.
With Yahoo Sports US