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Tyson Fury awaits Deontay Wilder’s decision on third fight

Updated February 23, 2020 - 5:31 pm

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury emerged from his locker room at MGM Grand Garden late Saturday night and greeted the droves of media with a simple question.

“Were you not entertained?” Fury exclaimed. “Can’t wait for the next fight. The rematch, hopefully.”

Fury (30-0-1, 21 knockouts) captured the WBC championship from Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) by stopping him 1:39 into the seventh round of their second fight. Wilder is contractually entitled to a third fight, and his manager, Shelly Finkel, implied he’ll exercise the clause. Wilder’s ear was bloodied during the bout, and his trainer, Jay Deas, said the cut required stitches.

Wilder did not attend the news conference and has 30 days to decide if he wants to fight Fury again.

“I didn’t discuss it now,” Finkel said. “But … you have the rematch for a reason, no matter what.”

Fury is also open to a third fight, but the rematch Saturday was so one-sided that a third fight loses a bit of its luster. The 31-year-old Briton added nearly 20 pounds in preparation for the 34-year-old Alabamian and overwhelmed him with his skill and newly found power. He said he knew he needed a tactical change after fighting Wilder to a draw in the first fight. So he replaced trainer Ben Davison with the more offensive-minded “SugarHill” Steward ahead of the rematch.

He bloodied Wilder in the first round and knocked him down in the third and fifth rounds. Wilder could barely stand by the end of the sixth round, and his corner threw in the towel in the seventh.

“Everybody knows I’m a master slick boxer. I can jab and move around the ring for 12 rounds,” Fury said. “But that didn’t work last time. I got a draw. And a draw is a failure to me because all I do is win, win, win. This time I wanted the knockout. … And the only way I could guarantee that I was going to get a win was to get a knockout.”

Fellow Briton and top heavyweight Anthony Joshua holds the IBO, WBA, IBF and WBO titles, and looms as a possible opponent for Fury, should Wilder opt out of the third fight. Joshua will defend his belts against Kubrat Pulev this summer.

Fury says he’s ready for whoever is next.

“I’m almost sure (Wilder) will take the rematch because he’s a dynamite puncher,” Fury said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll do it again. We’ll get back at it again, if he wants to. If he doesn’t want to (Frank Warren and Bob Arum) are my promoters and whatever they want to do, I’m happy with. Whoever is next will get the same treatment. That’s for sure.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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