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John Dennen considers the major issues ahead of the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on February 22
DRAMATIC OPENER: Fury rises from the canvas in the last round but is cruelly denied on the scorecards

1 HOW BIG IS THIS FIGHT? It is huge. There are three big names in heavyweight boxing right now and in this fight two of them are combining. Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought over a year ago for the WBC heavyweight crown. That was a major event then, but resulting in a controversial draw generated a even greater furore afterward, which will draw even more attention to the rematch. Furthermore, in another breakthrough, Fox Sports and ESPN, the two biggest broadcasters in America, will work together for their first joint boxing pay-per-view. With their muscle behind it that too can be expected to bring in a vast audience. Of course, this fight will dictate the future of the heavyweight division. If Wilder-Fury produces a clear winner the obvious thing to happen next would be for Anthony Joshua to fight the victor for the undisputed championship. Joshua has engaged in negotiations with Wilder’s team before, which failed. It is hard to be optimistic that those wouldn’t collapse again, but if Fury wins in February, a fight with Joshua might, perhaps, be easier to make. Only time will tell, but either way Wilder-Fury is a tremendous way to kick off 2020.

2 HOW HARD WAS THIS FIGHT TO MAKE? You’d think after boxing once before it would straightforward to put together a second deal for a rematch. But Fury was early into a comeback when he took the Wilder fight first time around and he emerged with great credit. It set him up for a lucrative deal with promotional powerhouse Top Rank. To make this rematch the two most powerful men in boxing, Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum and Wilder’s representative Al Haymon had to set aside their commercial rivalry to work together. That it has happened now has huge implications for making future super-fights. Veteran promoter Arum is a master at building fights. He decided that Fury’s rematch with Wilder would be bigger if they gave it time. With Top Rank, Fury fought twice in Las Vegas and toured American media studios, while Wilder fought in both Brooklyn and Las Vegas. It also meant that the bout became big enough to bring the Fox and ESPN networks together. It was a risk to wait so long, one of them could have lost for instance or the relevant parties could have failed to close the deal. But now that it is indeed happening, it looks to be a promotional masterstroke.

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About Boxing News

THE SEQUEL – Five key questions answered ahead of next month’s Wilder-Fury rematch DREAM 2020 FIGHTS – Listing the 10 bouts that we most want to see happen this year VESTED MARVELS – Ranking the top 100 amateur boxers in the history of the sport MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including the British ratings, Roberto Duran and boxing vs MMA