LAS VEGAS – Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will meet for the last time for Fury’s WBC heavyweight championship on October 9 in Las Vegas.
It’s been a long journey full of twists and turns as we approach the end of an epic trilogy between two of boxing’s greatest heavyweights.
MORE: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 fight date, start time, card, pay-per-view price and odds for the heavyweight title trilogy
But how do we get here?
Sporting News provides a timeline dating back to Wilder’s first taste of boxing gold.
January 17, 2015 – Deontay Wilder becomes WBC Champion by defeating Bermaine Stiverne
The course of the collision between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder began in January 2015 when Wilder surpassed Stiverne to claim the WBC heavyweight champion with a shocking unanimous decision. Until that point, Wilder had never walked the distance in 32 fights and proved the skeptics wrong by working behind a long jab to make a decision and become a champion. Meanwhile, Fury was preparing to face Christian Hammer in order to get in line for a championship fight of his own.
November 28, 2015 – Tyson Fury defeats Wladimir Klitschko to become Unified Champion.
Following his dominant Hammer stop, Fury also became world champion when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision to become the WBA (Super) IBF and WBO heavyweight champion. Fury ended Klitschko’s decade-long undefeated streak in a fight that was devoid of action as neither showed much offense. But Fury was active enough that the judges saw him in their own way. Seeds were planted for an undisputed champion, but Fury owed Klitschko a rematch. And it was a rematch that would never happen.
October 12, 2016: Fury resigns from titles due to drug and mental health issues.
Less than two weeks after winning the titles, Fury was stripped of his IBF title for being involved in a rematch with Klitschko, which would prevent him from facing the mandatory challenger to his IBF title, Vyacheslav Glazkov. It was just the beginning of a downward spiral as Fury struggled with drug and mental health issues that resulted in an indefinite postponement of the return fight with Klitschko. From a failed drug test due to cocaine to depression, Fury finally decided to walk away from boxing and give up his titles. Anthony Joshua would pick up the vacant titles in 2017 with an 11th round TKO against Klitschko.
November 4, 2017: Wilder crushes Stiverne in rematch; declare war on Joshua
We had the first sense of a possible undisputed championship fight after Wilder eliminated Stiverne in the first round of their rematch and set his sights on unified champion Anthony Joshua. “I’ve been looking forward to that fight for a long time,” Wilder said after the resounding knockout victory. “I declare war on you. Do you accept my challenge? I have been waiting a long time. I know that I am the champion. I know that I am the best. Are you ready for the test?”
January 10, 2018: Fury begins his comeback.
After the British Boxing Control Board revoked his boxing license, Fury was forced to put his life back together if he ever wanted to box again. He took time off, checked his weight and mental health, and took to Twitter in January with a simple message: “Guess who’s back?” He reapplied for his license after visiting a psychologist and cleaning his medical records. Fury said Wilder motivated him to return to boxing after he suggested that Fury was “done.” He signed with Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions and prepared for a fight with Sefer Seferi in June 2018. Having lost 112 pounds, Fury would need only four rounds to eliminate Seferi. He quickly moved on to a fight with Francesco Pianeta just two months later. Meanwhile, Wilder faced the toughest test of his career and passed when he stopped Luis Ortiz in the 10th round of a close battle.
June 11, 2018: Joshua and Wilder’s talks break down
Beginning in April 2018, the Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua camps entered into talks for an undisputed heavyweight showdown. It appeared that a deal was made with Wilder traveling to the UK to confront Joshua, but there was confusion with the contracts that led to the talks falling apart. The WBA stepped in and forced Wilder to make a decision on whether to face WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin or not. Joshua opted to face Povetkin to retain his WBA championship and it looked like the two would meet in April 2019. However, Wilder didn’t want to wait to see how Joshua fared against Povetkin and moved on to Tyson Fury. On September 22, the same day that Joshua fought Povetkin, Wilder and Fury confirmed their match between undefeated fighters for December 1, 2018.
December 1, 2018 – Fury survives a late knockdown, fights Wilder in a split draw
At the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought in a split tie in one of the most anticipated heavyweight championship fights in quite some time. They both had their moments when Fury put on a phenomenal boxing display considering his time away from the sport and Wilder displayed his devastating power that nearly ended the fight in the final round. The judges scored 114-112 for Fury, 115-111 for Wilder and 113-113. A rematch was inevitable considering the fight gave in to its immense hype and ended with perhaps the most infamous survival of a knockdown when Fury rose from the proverbial dead in the 12th round after Wilder seemingly finished it with a right-
June 15, 2019 and September 14, 2019: Tyson Fury plants his roots in Las Vegas with two fights
Before the two met for the second time, Fury kept busy in the ring. Rather than return to the UK, Fury decided to have his next two fights in Las Vegas against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. He easily dispatched Schwarz with a stoppage in the second round, but had some trouble against Wallin. Against the latter, Fury suffered a deep cut over his right eye in the third round and it turned into a race against the clock, as Fury had to avoid taking damage while still doing enough to win the fight. He did just that by making a unanimous decision with scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 and managed to avoid interrupting a rematch with Wilder.
May 18, 2019 and November 23, 2019: Deontay Wilder destroys Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz
While Fury was busy trying to fulfill his end of the bargain, Wilder was collecting highlights knockouts. The first was a brutal first-round demolition of rival Dominic Breazeale. His second fight also resulted in a devastating knockout, although it took a little longer to finish the job on a rematch with Luis Ortiz. The Cuban proved to be a difficult puzzle to solve and took the lead on the scorecards before Wilder detonated a bomb with a straight forehand that ended the fight in the seventh round. The victory marked Wilder’s 10th consecutive defense of the WBC heavyweight title, which tied Muhammad Ali’s record. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t break that record.
February 22, 2020: Tyson Fury dominates and stops Deontay Wilder in rematch
The long-awaited rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was thought to be a 50-50 affair, with Fury being a very slight underdog according to punters. But the fight did not unfold as anyone would have expected. Fury wasted little time imposing his will and size on Wilder. At 273 pounds, Fury relied heavily on intimidating his opponent, whom he outscored by 42 pounds.
Working behind a jab, Fury finally dropped Wilder in the third round with a right hand behind the temple. Wilder never recovered from the fall and was hit from pole to pole by Fury. Fury scored another knockdown in the fifth round and it was clear the end was near.
Fury uncorked a salvo of punishment punches in the seventh round that led to his corner throwing in the towel to stop the fight. Fury became world champion with a dominating performance and while the two sides were contractually bound to a third fight, this is where the games really began.
February 24, 2020: Wilder offers long list of excuses for knockout loss
Less than two days after suffering his first professional loss, Wilder began speaking to the media and offered a litany of excuses to explain what happened in Las Vegas. The excuses included everything from a suit that turned out to be too heavy to a conspiracy by his own coach who betrayed him by throwing in the towel. The excuses would continue as the months went by with Wilder going so far as to suggest that Fury fought with loaded gloves and someone spiking his water. And Wilder supports each and every one of those reasons to this day.
February 29, 2020: Wilder invokes rematch clause, COVID-19 has other plans
It didn’t take long for Wilder to invoke his clause for an immediate rematch and the stage was tentatively set for July 18, 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a voice and shut down the boxing world indefinitely. Vague plans were made for October, but Top Rank promoter Bob Arum turned it down due to the uncertainty of having a live audience to attend the fight. Without that income, it would be difficult to organize a fight and nobody knew if or when it would happen.
October 12, 2020: Fury claims he will not fight Wilder
By October, Fury had enough and declared that a third fight would not occur after the proposed date of December 19 was taken off the table. Without a proper date and location along with Wilder recovering from surgery, Fury looked elsewhere for a fight and aimed for an undisputed heavyweight title fight with unified champion Anthony Joshua. The two sides agreed in principle to a two-fight deal with a 50-50 purse split for the first fight and a 60-40 split in favor of the winner for the second fight. All Joshua had to do was beat the mandatory challenger for his IBF title, Kubrat Pulev. Joshua did just that with a ninth round TKO and it looked like we would finally have an undisputed heavyweight champion.
May 18, 2021: Fury-Joshua has a date, Wilder gets in the way
On May 17, it was announced that Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua would take place on August 14, 2021 in Saudi Arabia. But a day later, a referee ruled in Wilder’s favor that he could enforce his rematch clause. Wilder also made it clear that he would not accept any side-step deals, regardless of the offer. Fury-Wilder 3 was scheduled for July 24 in Las Vegas but, once again, COVID had other plans.
July 8, 2021: Fury catches COVID, delayed trilogy
Just when we thought the third fight between Fury and Wilder would finally take place, the new WBC champion was forced to withdraw from the July 24 date after contracting COVID. And with a packed schedule of fights, fans would have to wait another two months before the fight could happen.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.