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Fury-Wilder rematch postponed by virus pandemic

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Los Angeles (AFP)

The third fight in Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder's heavyweight rivalry has been postponed as the coronavirus pandemic grips the United States and Britain, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

Britain's Fury, who dethroned unbeaten WBC champion Wilder with a dominant victory in seven rounds last month, had been due to defend his crown in Las Vegas on July 18.

But promoter Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday the rematch had now been rescheduled until October at the earliest because of the COVID-19 outbreak which has brought the sporting world to a standstill.

With travel restrictions affecting both the US and Britain, and Las Vegas' casinos shuttered, Arum said a postponement was the only sensible option.

"You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date. We couldn't convince them or ourselves," Arum said.

"Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets?

"It's absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can't even get there."

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has also banned all combat sports in the state, adding another complication.

"Everybody has to take a step back. Boxing is not isolated," Arum said. "It's part of what's happening in the world. So possibly the fight will be in early October."

Fury and Wilder fought to a thrilling draw in their first fight in Los Angeles in December 2018.

Fury then shocked the boxing world by overwhelming Wilder with a dominant performance in last month's rematch, battering an out-of-sorts Wilder in a one-sided victory.

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