The WBC remains “confident” the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will be made, but will consider ordering purse bids if it is put in jeopardy.
Fury signing with ESPN has cast significant doubt over the likelihood of him fighting WBC champion Wilder as planned this summer, but the sanctioning body remains determined that arguably the world’s most eagerly-awaited fight will imminently happen.
They mandated the heavyweight rematch in December after the initial fight ended in a draw in Los Angeles, and resisted imposing a deadline for purse bids after both parties said that an agreement was close.
Fury’s agreement with ESPN complicates any negotiations, even if Wilder has since indicated he is not committed to rival US broadcaster Showtime. If, as expected, negotiations become too strained, the WBC is ready to intervene.
“They owe it to the fans to make it happen,” the organisation’s president Mauricio Sulaiman told Press Association Sport.
“We must all do our best to comply, having the fans in mind and them getting the fight they deserve.
“When promoters, fighters or managers go with their own plans is when things get in the way, but I’m confident this fight (will happen). Fury, Wilder and their teams don’t lie. They called me directly and asked for the second fight in a very strong way, so I know for a fact they want to fight each other again.
“I will speak with them. Last week I was communicating with both parties, and they both said that they were very close to making a deal for the fight to happen without the need for purse bids, so that’s how we left it on Friday.
“Then on Monday we had that news (regarding Fury’s ESPN deal), so I’m now communicating with both to see where they stand regarding those negotiations.
“We will take every single step, hoping to make the fight a reality. I’m hopeful.”
While there is no such complication in the UK, where there is little doubt any rematch would be broadcast by BT Sport, it is the identity of the US broadcaster that could ultimately undermine, or at least delay, the fight that was on course for May.
The ordering of purse bids would still not guarantee a rematch given either fighter could still withdraw in the event of it not being won by their preferred broadcaster, and it would also likely interest parties beyond Showtime and ESPN.
“I’ll assess their positions, understand the situation, and from there we’ll determine the steps to take,” Sulaiman added.
“A purse bid’s possible. It’s their willingness to participate in the bout (that’s important); then we’ll make a ruling. They might ask for additional time.
“Whenever a fight’s been ordered by an organisation it’s most likely to happen.
“I don’t know (that Fury’s agreement with ESPN makes the rematch harder). The current platforms are great.”News Now - Sport News