Home Sport Fans, or else no fight, says Fury camp

Fans, or else no fight, says Fury camp


‘The fans in the last fight put in almost $17 million into the coffers in purchase of tickets how do you replace that $17 million?’

There is no chance of a rematch between world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and American Deontay Wilder going ahead without a crowd, the Briton’s promoter Frank Warren said on Wednesday.

Fury overwhelmed Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch in February, seizing the WBC crown with a seventh round stoppage. They had previously fought to a draw in December 2018.

A third bout between the two was set for Las Vegas in July but that was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now looks unlikely to happen before November or December at the earliest.

Strict conditions

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) is hoping to resume professional boxing in Britain in July but with strict conditions and no spectators.

“There’s not going to be big-name fighters out there,” Warren told the BBC of the first fights likely after the lockdown. “There is no chance of Fury vs Wilder behind closed doors.”

Promoter Bob Arum said last month a delay could be even longer because of the importance of gate receipts.

“The fans in the last fight put in almost $17 million into the coffers in purchase of tickets how do you replace that $17 million,” he said in a Top Rank Boxing interview. “I mean, you don’t. A Fury vs Wilder fight might have to wait a couple more months until we can go back to full spectators.”

Elsewhere, the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev’s representative said yesterday that the world heavyweight title fight against Briton Anthony Joshua could take place in front of a crowd at a Roman Amphitheatre in Croatia.

The 38-year-old Bulgarian, a former European amateur super-heavyweight champion, was due to meet Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 20 but the fight was put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have given ourselves (the two camps) four weeks to look for a new territory if the situation and measures in England do not change,” Pulev’s manager Ivaylo Gotsev told local media after discussing the matter with Joshua’s camp.

“We are discussing Croatia, there is a unique Roman stadium – Pula Arena, there and we are in active talks,” he said, adding that the fight would most probably take place in August or September.

The Roman Amphitheatre in the northern Adriatic city of Pula is well-known for hosting concerts of top class artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sting and Elton John. Two ice hockey games were played there in 2012.

“We like this option because it is in Europe, in the middle of the continent,” Gotsev said. “The arena itself predisposes to an unprecedented event in our time. There will also be an opportunity for spectators with the right measures taken.

“There needs to be a mutual agreement. We want the terms and conditions to be beneficial for both parties. They can’t meet in Bulgaria because Joshua will not agree. He wanted to fight at home but force majeure brought a change. Kubrat, however, was ready to fight in Joshua’s backyard, even if the judges were his family.”

The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December.

Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian, known as “The Cobra”, withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.

Pulev, one of Bulgaria’s most popular sportsmen, challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014, losing to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg on a fifth-round knockout.