LONDON (AFP) – Tyson Fury laid down a challenge to his rivals on Monday after signing a multi-year, multi-fight agreement with United States broadcaster ESPN which the British heavyweight was adamant made a world title rematch with Deontay Wilder “more makeable now than ever”.
Fury, who still labels himself the “lineal champion” despite vacating in 2016 the several versions of the world title he won against Wladimir Klitschko four years ago, held World Boxing Council champion Wilder to a controversial draw in Los Angeles in December, a result that sparked immediate talk of a rematch with the American.
“They have to come to Tyson Fury now,” the 30-year-old told a news conference.
“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,” Fury added.
Veteran American promoter Bob Arum, linked to ESPN and the man behind the Top Rank organisation, will promote Fury alongside Frank Warren, long a mainstay of the British boxing circuit.
Fury’s future fights will now be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK and ESPN in the US, clashing with Wilder, whose promoter Al Haymon is associated with the rival Showtime network in the States.
“ESPN’s the biggest sporting network in the world, and gives me the opportunity to not be an opponent,” said Fury.
“If I didn’t want to fight him (Wilder) 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!”
Further complications in the heavyweight scene, which could reduce the likelihood of a unified champion, come from the fact that International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation champion Anthony Joshua’s next fight, against Jarrell Miller on June 1, will be shown in the US on DAZN.
Warren said boxing fans were set to see Fury having more bouts in the United States, regardless of his opponent.
“Tyson wants (the rematch). We all want it and will make it happen,” said Warren.
“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 Klitschko or on Showtime for Wilder.”