WHEN Bob Arum talks, you listen. The veteran promoter has worked with Muhammad Ali amongst other luminaries in the sport. Currently as head of promotional behemoth Top Rank he represents some of today’s best fighters, including Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford. He is also guiding Tyson Fury, whom he co-promotes with Frank Warren, as the former heavyweight champion sets out to conquer America.
On Saturday (September 14) Fury will have his second bout in Las Vegas when he fights Otto Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena. “He became a huge entertainer,” Arum said of Fury. “There’s nobody like him in boxing. People can’t get enough of him on television. He says the most outlandish things but in a clever, intelligent way. He’s a dream to promote. And he’s a good fighter. He’s a really good fighter. [His previous opponent, Tom] Schwarz isn’t bad. Nobody’s beaten him. Nobody beat him, until Fury made him look silly. This Swedish guy that he’s fighting, Wallin, nobody’s beaten him. And he’s a big six foot six Swede. It’s the kind of fight that he should take, that he should have.”
Fury’s great rival, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is represented by a rival promoter, Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and appears on alternative television networks. But Arum is adamant that he can bridge these divides to make their rematch. “Because it became obvious that Al Haymon and PBC were doing a lot of their business with Fox. We were doing all of our business with ESPN. Now Fox and ESPN have a whole history of working together. You know the idea that promoters say, ‘Well, I can’t do this because my fighter is fighting on one network and you have fighters fighting on the other network.’ That was the case with HBO and Showtime. And maybe it’s the case with BT and Sky here [in the UK]. But American networks have always worked together. So that, for example, professional football at the NFL is shared by all the networks and not only do they each have different games but they each promote the other guy’s games,” he explained. “So particularly Fox and ESPN have had this history of working together, not against each other, on different projects. So once Al aligned himself with Fox, and we’re on ESPN, it was a cinch for the heads of those networks to talk and work everything out.”