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Tyson Fury deal with ESPN casts uncertainty over heavyweight division

Fury has signed a multi-year, multi-fight agreement with the United States broadcaster.

Tyson Fury, left, and Deontay Wilder, right, fought to a draw in December (Lionel Hahn/PA)
Tyson Fury, left, and Deontay Wilder, right, fought to a draw in December (Lionel Hahn/PA)

Tyson Fury’s proposed rematch with Deontay Wilder has been throw into doubt after the Briton announced a deal with ESPN that makes it the “exclusive” broadcaster of his fights in the United States.

Negotiations for a rematch, following December’s controversial draw in Los Angeles, were expected to conclude in an agreement for them to fight in the US in May, but they are now likely to end in frustration given Wilder has a deal with network Showtime.

Fury’s deal will see him promoted by Top Rank’s Bob Arum alongside Frank Warren. Arum is as influential with ESPN as Wilder’s advisor Al Haymon is with Showtime and their strained relationship further complicates a landscape that effectively separates the world’s leading heavyweights.

The IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua’s next fight on June 1 against Jarrell Miller will be shown in the US on DAZN, giving all three fighters different loyalties and interests.

Fury’s promoter Warren insists the Wilder-Fury rematch remains likely, and the British fighter was adamant it is “more makeable now than ever” after signing his multi-year, multi-fight agreement with ESPN.

The 30-year-old said: “They have to come to Tyson Fury now.

“Because I’ve got my own platform in America and in the UK (with BT Sport), so now they’re going to have to come through me.

  • Anthony Joshua - DAZN
  • Tyson Fury - ESPN
  • Deontay Wilder - Showtime

“ESPN’s the biggest sporting network in the world, and gives me the opportunity to not be an opponent.”If I didn’t want to fight him I wouldn’t have done it in the first place. As far as I’m concerned it’s more makeable now than ever, because we’ve the biggest boys in the game behind us.

“I want Joshua, Wilder, and everyone else out there too. If you’re watching Deontay, I’m coming for you, baby!”

Warren revealed Fury is likely to become a more consistent figure in America, where he is set to fight next regardless of his opponent.

“Tyson wants (the rematch),” said Warren. “We all want it and will make it happen. It’s a different situation now. Showtime’s not the only game in town. It’s changed dramatically, so it’s up to us now to sit down and get it over the line.

“I want him out as soon as possible. Talks are continuing but he’s not going to sit around waiting. We’ll get him out. He wants to be active and become a big star. The name of the game’s get out there, get busy, and get those belts.

“(ESPN) will be Tyson’s exclusive broadcaster in the States, and have a platform of nearly three million. It gives Tyson the chance to become the guy to fight — unlike when he had to go to Germany to fight (Wladimir) Klitschko or on Showtime for Wilder.”

PA

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