DETHRONED WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has yet to activate the rematch clause in his contract but has every intention of fighting Tyson Fury a third time later this year, according to his manager Shelly Finkel.
Last Saturday (February 22) in Las Vegas, Wilder was stopped by Fury inside seven rounds and produced very few moments of success throughout. By most people’s reckoning, he lost every one of the completed rounds the two heavyweights shared and was quite badly beaten up in the process.
Be that as it may, a third fight between the pair was all but confirmed ahead of bout number two and Wilder, despite the shellacking he received last weekend, has no intention of going anywhere else.
“Right now, the clause for a third fight with Tyson Fury has not been activated yet,” Shelly Finkel told World Boxing News. “Deontay intends to activate it. He wants the trilogy.
“I can confirm Deontay will exercise his right to fight Tyson Fury next. That’s the fight Deontay wants. It will happen next.”
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren, meanwhile, has revealed Anthony Joshua would the ideal next opponent for his man, but accepts both the nature of the Wilder contract and the former champion’s desire to get revenge.
“I prefer to go straight to Joshua but that’s the contract,” Warren told the BBC. “If he insists on the fight, we’re locked into it.
“It has to be honoured unless we reach some accommodation for him to step aside. We could pay him to step aside if he wants to do that, but that’s his choice.
“It would be lucrative for him, but I have spoken to his manager and Deontay does believe he has the beating of Tyson, and he can knock him out.
“I don’t believe that. I fancied Tyson to stop him before the fight at the weekend.”
With power like Wilder’s there will always be a belief that he can produce the unthinkable. Even so, if somehow he manages to turn the tables on Fury in fight number three it will be as remarkable a comeback as Fury’s.
Remember Andy Ruiz Jnr?
Last June he was the talk of the sporting world having dethroned Anthony Joshua in New York to take the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles.
Six months later, though, he showed up out of shape and disinterested and subsequently returned the titles to Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
Now, having accepted his shortcomings, the man known as ‘The Destroyer’ is preparing to embark on another training camp – a more thorough one this time – in the hope of making his return this summer.
“I’m going to get back in the ring, and I want a shot at the WBC [heavyweight title],” said Ruiz Jr. to PBC on Fox. “In August, hopefully, I’ll have a match and I’ll be ready to get back in the ring. There needs to be a new me, and that’s why I wanted to change trainers. [Ruiz recently parted from Manny Robles.] I made history, and I want to make history again.
“I think 250 would be the perfect weight for me. My hands will be faster. In my last fight, I was 280-something pounds. I was overweight and couldn’t cut the ring off being that heavy or throw my combinations. That’s because I should have trained harder.
“I posted on my Instagram that I’m starting my camp now, and I want to get in shape now. I don’t want to wait until the last minute. That’s why I’m starting camp now. He [Al Haymon] did say to me if I wanted to fight this one or that one. I don’t want to say right now [who it is]. I did say, ‘Yes, of course.’ I want to fight in August.
“There are a few guys out there. They mentioned [Luis] Ortiz as well. I want to have a fight before I fight Ortiz. Everybody is talking about me and Ortiz. I think that would be a great fight. If not, if Tyson Fury is looking for somebody, I’m pretty sure [I would take it].”
As for Joshua, the man with whom he traded three world heavyweight titles and 19 rounds’ worth of punches last year, Ruiz remains hopeful of them meeting again.
“Hopefully,” he said, “we can negotiate and fight by the end of this year.”
Unfortunately, like Fury vs. Wilder III, the prospect of Joshua vs. Ruiz III isn’t half as appealing as the rematch.