It was well-known heading into this last Saturday's rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for the WBC and lineal heavyweight championships that the loser reserved the right to initiate a third fight, should they desire to do so. Now, just over a week after suffering a seventh-round TKO loss to Fury, Wilder has officially exercised the rematch clause following the first defeat of his career.
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) will aim to win back the championship he lost in a third fight between the two heavyweights expected to take place this summer. The current plan is for the third fight with Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) to be held in the same venue -- the MGM Grand Garden Arena -- on Saturday, July 18 in Las Vegas, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN's Dan Rafael.
Wilder revealed to The Athletic's Lance Pugmire last week that he blames the 45-pound costume he wore during his entrance for leaving his legs fatigued before the second fight with Fury even began. He also made this revelation to Yahoo Sports while claiming Fury did not hurt him despite scoring multiple knockdowns ahead of the stoppage.
"He didn't hurt me at all, but the simple fact is, Kevin [Iole of Yahoo], that my uniform was way too heavy for me," Wilder said. "I didn't have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I'm a warrior and people know that I'm a warrior. It could easily be told that I didn't have legs or anything. A lot of people were telling me, 'It looked like something was wrong with you.' Something was, but when you're in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things."
In their first meeting, Wilder and Fury fought to a draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. That fight was held in December 2018, but when the rematch was scheduled, a clause was added to the contract ensuring the loser of the second fight could trigger an immediate rematch. Wilder had not shied away from saying he planned to go right back after Fury. The third fight could only be held in Las Vegas, New York or Los Angeles, according to ESPN.
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In the ring immediately following the loss, Wilder suggested he entered the fight with some sort of leg issues.
"I had a lot of things going on coming into the fight," Wilder said after the fight. "My leg was already wrecked coming in due to other things."
Wilder also blamed referee Kenny Bayless during a conversation with The Athletic. The first knockdown scored by Fury appeared to come after a punch landed to the back of the head, which is technically an illegal blow. Wilder believes the punches to the back of the head happened repeatedly despite pre-fight instructions from Bayless saying any such infractions would lead to point deductions and disqualification.
There was also blame thrown at assistant trainer Mark Breland, who threw in the towel as Wilder was absorbing an increasing amount of punishment during the fight. Wilder said afterwards that he would have rather "gone out on his shield" than have the towel thrown in.
"I'd rather die in the ring than have the towel thrown in," Wilder told The Athletic. "I'm a warrior."