We’re still wait­ing on the venue but it looks like we’re all set for the most in­trigu­ing heavy­weight ght of the year, writes El­liot Worsell

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All the news as a date is set for the WBC heavy­weight ti­tle block­buster

DE­TAILS of the im­pend­ing WBC world heavy­weight ti­tle show­down be­tween Deon­tay Wilder and Tyson Fury are be­ing dripfed to us on a weekly ba­sis and an­other piece of the puz­zle was put in place on Satur­day (Septem­ber 22). We now have a date: De­cem­ber 1. It doesn’t com­plete the puz­zle – we’re still wait­ing on a venue to be an­nounced – but it’s a move in the right di­rec­tion at least.

The date of the fight, re­vealed to an ex­pec­tant au­di­ence on the day An­thony Joshua was due to box Alexan­der Povetkin for three of the four world heavy­weight ti­tles, has been a long time com­ing. Six weeks ago we watched Wilder, the WBC cham­pion, in Belfast, have a food fight with Billy Joe Saun­ders in a Nando’s and then go head-to-head with Fury, fresh from an easy win against Francesco Pianeta, in a box­ing ring. We were told, “It is on!” There was a mockup poster. It would be on BT Sport Box Of­fice.

Yet, since Au­gust 18, the two heavy­weights have posted plenty of videos on so­cial me­dia – train­ing videos, call-out videos, videos of them driv­ing – and talk of an an­nounce­ment press con­fer­ence has re­mained just that – talk. More­over, de­spite ini­tial ru­mours of two dates in Novem­ber and venues in Brook­lyn (Bar­clays Cen­ter) and Las Ve­gas (T-mo­bile Arena), it would now seem Wilder vs. Fury is in fact headed for a De­cem­ber date and pos­si­bly Los An­ge­les (Sta­ples Cen­ter).

Fol­low­ing the date re­veal, Fury said in an In­sta­gram video: “Deon­tay Wilder, you are go­ing to get it and you are in big trou­ble.

“I have never met a man I couldn’t beat in the box­ing ring or out­side on the street. I know you have a big punch and I know you are un­beaten. I know you have got a big mouth and I know you want to win. But you don’t want it like I do. You can’t beat me. I will force my will upon you un­til you quit, and that is a prom­ise.”

Wilder, mean­while, later posted a video to his Twit­ter ac­count and said: “I can’t wait. It is go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing fight, an ex­plo­sive fight, and one for the legacy. Def­i­nitely one for my legacy.

“You’ve got the WBC heavy­weight cham­pion of the world ver­sus the lin­eal cham­pion. It is go­ing to be a plea­sure. It’s the two best heavy­weights com­pet­ing against each other – the best fight­ing the best – and giv­ing the peo­ple what they want. This is what we’re do­ing.” It sounds of­fi­cial enough. Wilder and Fury are say­ing all the right things, show­ing signs of in­tent, and seem­ingly pre­par­ing to meet on De­cem­ber 1, some­where in Amer­ica. It’s been a lit­tle un­ortho­dox in its con­struc­tion, but, when deal­ing with mav­er­icks like Wilder and


Fury, isn’t that to be ex­pected?

Cer­tainly, by the time it comes around, an­tic­i­pa­tion will be at fever pitch and the path re­quired to get there will be long for­got­ten. It’s a fight as good as any in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion right now. Bet­ter yet, thanks to Fury’s two-and-a-half years in the wilder­ness, and the sub­se­quent splin­ter­ing of world heavy­weight ti­tles, it has been (ir­re­spec­tive of the an­nounce­ment de­lay) a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward fight to make.

The same can­not be said for An­thony Joshua po­ten­tially fight­ing the win­ner. Un­for­tu­nately, Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavy­weight cham­pion, has a num­ber of manda­tory obli­ga­tions to ful­fil, all of which keep him away from Wilder and Fury, while an April 2019 date at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium is un­likely to fea­ture ei­ther of the two un­de­feated heavy­weights in the op­po­site cor­ner for rea­sons out­lined by Ed­die Hearn, Joshua’s pro­moter, on pages 12-15.

Time’s a pre­cious com­mod­ity in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion, as in­deed it is when­ever big money is in­volved. Get the tim­ing right, and a fight, just like the de­liv­ery of a per­fectly ex­e­cuted right cross, can land flush on the but­ton and cause max­i­mum im­pact. Get it wrong, how­ever, and it can all look a lit­tle messy.

The hope is that once Wilder vs. Fury is of­fi­cially an­nounced (Box­ing News un­der­stands this will hap­pen on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 1) and then goes ahead with­out any hitches and is ev­ery­thing we’re told it’s go­ing to be. Af­ter that, the pic­ture will be a lit­tle clearer, Joshua will have dis­cov­ered the iden­tity of his fore­most ri­val, and the only things stop­ping or­der and clar­ity in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion will be the very things that have al­ways pre­vented or­der and clar­ity in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion: ego, greed and pol­i­tics.



BRAVO: Fury is to be ap­plauded for ac­cept­ing this …ght so soon into his comeback


THE FAVOURITE: Early odds place Wilder at 8/11 with Fury the out­sider at 11/10

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