Image Credit: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE
It is an open secret that making a fight in boxing is challenging.
With so many intangibles ranging from health, brand equity, fan respect, and more, matching two boxer is a subtle art of the deal.
However, in world heavyweight championship boxing it is dam near impossible. This may be the quandary that former WBC heavyweight champion of the world Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder now finds himself in.
Can’t wait for my UK return!!! 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/tAPSKAbf5d
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) October 20, 2020
According to Boxing Scene, Tyson Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum, along with Fury’s co-promoter with Frank Warren, two men have emerged as potential challengers for his titles; none of them are named Deontay Wilder.
Two men have emerged as potential challengers: Agit Kabayel and Carlos Takam.
“He’s deciding on an opponent,” Arum said to Boxing Scene of Fury. “I don’t know given the football schedule if we can do it on ESPN,” Arum said. “But until I get an opponent I’m not going to ESPN (to discuss it).”
Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder in the seventh-round of a blockbuster rematch that saw Fury retain the lineal title and win the WBC belt on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas.
Wilder’s cornerman, Mark Breland famously threw in the towel stopping the fight. It eventually led to his firing.
However, Wilder exercised his right to an immediate rematch, planned as a joint pay-per-view between Fury’s broadcast partner ESPN and Wilder’s Premier Boxing Champions broadcast partner in FOX.
Then the world shifted.
Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell reportedly may happen in the afternoon US time – would not clash with Errol Spence vs Danny Garcia that night. [According to @StevESPNKim]
Dec 5th could see several hours of straight boxing: Tyson Fury UK fight, Garcia vs Campbell, Spence vs Garcia.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 14, 2020
Coronavirus shutdown boxing. Wilder had surgery to his biceps and the fight was eventually pushed back from its original July date to October and then to December 19th.
The host venue was supposed to be the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, with a limited amount of fans. However, ESPN turned down the date due to the rescheduling of major college football games.
With the clock ticking away, Fury announced earlier this month that he was moving on from a third fight with Wilder claiming the deadline for the rematch clause has passed.
Now, Fury, who planted his flag in America, wants to go back home to the U.K. and fight there on December 5th. This would be a precursor to an undisputed heavyweight championship fight against unified world champion Anthony Joshua in 2021.
“I’m not doing a bus boy,” Arum said to Boxing Scene. “Fury should beat Takam but Takam is at least known and he has been on ESPN. And he looked pretty good in the last fight. The other guy (Kabayel) is undefeated and he has fought some fairly decent guys. I haven’t come up with anybody else.”
Tale Of The Tape
Kabayel (20-0, 13 KOs), 28, of Germany, won the vacant European title by lopsided decision against Herve Hubeaux in February 2017.
so you're fighting your sparring partner Agit instead of Michael Hunter ? 🍒 pic.twitter.com/d7ndIhwkBC
— PC Jacob (@PCJacob4) October 20, 2020
He made three title defenses, including by majority decision against longtime contender Dereck Chisora in November 2017, before vacating it in 2019. He was supposed to make his U.S. and Top Rank debut back in January but was unable to secure a visa in time.
Rivas too small, but Takam's OK? 🤔
— Adam Fuller (@AdamFuIIer) October 21, 2020
The Frenchman, Takam (39-5-1, 28 KOs), 39, has already lost to Anthony Joshua via 10th-round knockout back in October 2017, although the fight was on short notice.
With losses to Derek Chisora, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin, Takam has faced most of the names in the division. However, Takam has recently won four fights in a row.
Wilder ignited the heavyweight division with his one-punch KO power. While that was occurring, Anthony Joshua made the British boxing ranks hot again even through his loss to Andy Ruiz in December 2019.
Anthony Joshua on Deontay Wilder: "I can't wait for him to address the reason why the [Fury] fight isn't going to happen at the end of the year. Why he lost? The costume? Glove situation? I hope he does come back, because he's a great asset to the division." [@SkySports]
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 20, 2020
Now that Fury has won Wilder’s belts the smart move is to focus on the U.K. where arenas like the O2 and Wembley can host many more thousands of fans eager to see the best of their countrymen.
With Joshua now scheduled to fight Kubrat Pulev on December 12th, 2020, Fury knows that an all-British build up makes more sense financially than a trilogy with Wilder. Also, Wilder famously sold less seats and buys as Fury became the star of their two-fight deal.
Now as the champ, Fury is flexing and that is bad news for Wilder.