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Tyson Fury shocks the world by signing with Top Rank Boxing. Is the Deontay Wilder rematch at risk?

By signing with ESPN, Tyson Fury has agreed to be the true face of Top Rank’s boxing scene.

It wasn’t that long ago (last week actually) that rumors of an agreement were made between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for a rematch from their December 1st draw. Wilder wanted it, and we thought Fury did as well. Now, it appears the plans will be thrown out for the moment, as Fury has signed an exclusive deal with ESPN and Top Rank Boxing.

Fury (27-0-1) is expected to have two fights a year in the U.S. under the deal, as he is looking to expand his brand in the American market. This was a shock to many, including promotor Frank Warren, who has worked with Fury for years.

“I’m delighted that Frank and Queensberry Promotions have teamed up with Top Rank to promote my fights in America,” Fury stated in a press release. “With ESPN and BT Sport behind me, the biggest sports platforms in the world are now linked up with the best heavyweight in the world!”

The “Gypsy King” is known as the Lineal Heavyweight Champion, having won the title in 2015 with a win over Wladimir Klitschko. He ended up relinquishing several titles due to health and substance abuse issues. Returning for two fights in 2018, he faced Wilder in a third bout, while being in superb shape. After a back-and-forth affair against Fury in which he avoided two knockout finishes, the judges scored the fight a draw.

The fight was a Premier Boxing Champion-sponsored event, with Showtime in control of broadcasting rights. With ESPN comes ESPN+, the new streaming home of combat sports. Wilder (40-0-1), currently a free agent, has not signed anywhere, making this entire ordeal extremely interesting.

The “Bronze Bomber” went from attempting to negotiate a fight with Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua to trying to fight Fury, to potentially none of that. Promotors are hard to negotiate with as is, but add other networks into the mix and there are more problems than you could possibly imagine.

A rematch can still happen, but now the negotiations will be harder, especially with new ways to watch and pay for these type of fights nowadays. Expect more chaos to unfold down the line.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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