Deontay Wilder has activated his rematch clause against Tyson Fury despite the heavy beating he took from the British heavyweight in February.
Wilder and Fury are now set to contest the first heavyweight championship trilogy in 20 years; having fought a draw in 2018 ahead of a wildly anticipated rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas two weeks ago, which Fury won via referee stoppage.
Despite scoring two knockdowns in the first bout, Wilder was never competitive in the second.
He was beaten up, bloodied, and floored twice, with Fury implementing a bold and risky strategy of planting his feet, hitting heavy shots, and using calculated pressure.
The second fight was waved off by the referee Kenny Bayless in the seventh round, with Wilder bleeding from the ear and unable to attend the post-fight press conference.
Because of what was written in the fight contract, Wilder had 30 days to activate a rematch clause should he want to try to win back the WBC heavyweight championship belt he lost to Fury.
The Los Angeles Times reporter Manouk Akopyan tweeted on Sunday, March 1; that Top Rank officials said a third fight would take place July 18 at the Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“We received a letter from Wilder’s team on Friday and we agreed with the networks and the hotel; that July 18 was the optimal date,” Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank told Akopyan.
THIS JUST IN: Deontay Wilder has exercised his right to a rematch w/ Tyson Fury & a third fight between the heavyweights is slated to take place July 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, per Top Rank officials.#WilderFury3 will be 60-40 purse split in favor of the WBC champ Fury.
— Manouk Akopyan (@ManoukAkopyan) March 2, 2020
Even though Wilder was beaten so convincingly; Arum told ESPN that he was not surprised at having to organize a third fight.
“I figured he would do it because I have had enough experience with rematches to know that anything can happen; guys can change their strategy and want the opportunity to [avenge] the loss,” he said.
Wilder’s loss to Fury brought an abrupt end to his championship run; as he had made 10 world-title defenses of the WBC belt. His record dropped to 42 wins (41 KOs) against one loss and one draw.
Fury, meanwhile, extended his undefeated run and advanced his own record to 30 wins (21 KOs) against one draw.