LAS VEGAS — Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will clash one last time for Fury’s WBC heavyweight championship on October 9 in Las Vegas.
It has been a long journey full of twists and turns as we close in on the finale of an epic trilogy between two of the best heavyweights in boxing.
MORE: Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 3 fight date, start time, card, PPV price & odds for heavyweight title trilogy
But how did we get here?
Sporting News provides a timeline that dates back to Wilder’s first taste of boxing gold.
January 17, 2015: Deontay Wilder becomes WBC champion by beating Bermaine Stiverne
The collision course between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder began in January 2015 when Wilder outboxed Stiverne to claim the WBC heavyweight champion with a shocking unanimous decision. To that point, Wilder had never gone the distance in 32 fights and proved the skeptics wrong by working behind a long jab to cruise to a decision and become champion. Meanwhile, Fury was preparing to face Christian Hammer in order to put himself in line for a championship fight of his own.
November 28, 2015: Tyson Fury defeats Wladimir Klitschko to become unified champion
Following his dominant stoppage of Hammer, Fury went on to also become a 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 unbeaten streak in a bout that was devoid of action as neither showed much offense. But Fury was active enough for the judges to see it his 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 relinquishes titles due to mental health and drug issues
Less than two weeks after winning the titles, Fury was stripped of his IBF title for being engaged in a rematch with Klitschko, which would prevent him from facing the mandatory challenger to his IBF title, Vyacheslav Glazkov. It was only the start of a downward spiral as Fury struggled with mental health and drug issues that resulted in an indefinite postponement of the return bout with Klitschko. From a failed drug test due to cocaine to depression, Fury eventually decided to step away from boxing and vacate his titles. Anthony Joshua would collect the vacated titles in 2017 with a 11th round TKO against Klitschko.
November 4, 2017: Wilder crushes Stiverne in rematch; declares war on Joshua
We got the first sense of a possible undisputed championship fight after Wilder put Stiverne away in the first round their rematch and set his sights on unified champion Anthony Joshua. “I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now,” Wilder said following the emphatic knockout win. “I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”
January 10, 2018: Fury begins comeback
After having his boxing license revoked by the British Boxing Board of Control, Fury was forced to put his life back together if he ever wanted to box again. He took some time off, got his weight and mental health under control and took to Twitter in January with a simple message “Guess who’s back?” He re-applied for his license after visiting a psychologist and getting his medical records cleaned up. Fury said Wilder motivated him to get back to boxing after he suggested that Fury was “done.” He signed with Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions and lined up a fight with Sefer Seferi in June 2018. Having shed 112 pounds, Fury would need only four rounds to put Seferi away. He swiftly moved on to a fight with Francesco Pianeta just two months later. Meanwhile, Wilder faced the then-toughest test of his career and passed when he stopped Luis Ortiz in the 10th round of a hard-fought battle.
June 11, 2018: Joshua-Wilder talks break down
Starting in April 2018, the camps of Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua engaged in talks for an undisputed heavyweight showdown. It appeared that a deal was done with Wilder traveling to the UK to face Joshua, but there was confusion with the contracts that led to talks falling apart. The WBA stepped in and forced Wilder to make a decision as to whether he would face WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin or not. Joshua opted to face Povetkin in order to retain his WBA championship and it seemed as if the two would meet in April 2019. However, Wilder didn’t want to wait to see how Joshua fared against Povetkin and pivoted to Tyson Fury. On September 22, the same day that Joshua fought Povetkin, Wilder and Fury confirmed their showdown between undefeated fighters for December 1, 2018.
December 1, 2018: Fury survives late knockdown, battles Wilder to a split draw
At Staples Center in Los Angeles, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury battled to a split draw in one of the most highly anticipated heavyweight championship fights in quite some time. Both had their moments as Fury put on a phenomenal display of boxing considering his time away from the sport and Wilder showcased his devastating power that nearly finished the fight in the final round. The judges scored it 114-112 for Fury, 115-111 for Wilder and 113-113. A rematch was inevitable considering that the fight delivered on its immense hype and ended with perhaps the most infamous survival of a knockdown as Fury rose from the proverbial dead in the 12th round after Wilder seemingly finished him off with a right-
June 15, 2019 & September 14, 2019: Tyson Fury plants his roots in Las Vegas with two fights
Before the two would face each other a second time, Fury kept busy in the ring. Instead of heading back to the UK, Fury decided to have his next two fights in Las Vegas against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. He easily dispatched of Schwarz with a second-round stoppage but ran into a bit of trouble against Wallin. Against the latter, Fury suffered a deep cut over his right eye in the third round and it became a race against the clock as Fury had to avoid taking damage while also doing enough to win the fight. He did just that by taking a unanimous decision with scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 and managed to avoid disrupting a rematch with Wilder.
May 18, 2019 & November 23, 2019: Deontay Wilder destroys Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz
While Fury was busy trying to hold up his end of the bargain, Wilder was collecting highlight-reel 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 in a rematch with Luis Ortiz. The Cuban proved to be a difficult puzzle to figure out and was ahead on the scorecards before Wilder detonated a bomb with a straight right hand that ended the fight in the seventh round. The victory marked Wilder’s 10th consecutive WBC heavyweight title defense, 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 highly anticipated rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was thought to be a 50-50 affair, with Fury being an ever so slight underdog according to oddsmakers. But the fight didn’t play out as anyone would have expected. Fury wasted little time imposing his will and size on Wilder. Coming in at 273 pounds, Fury relied heavily on bullying his opponent, who he outweighed by 42 pounds.
Working behind a jab, Fury eventually put Wilder down in the third round with a right hand behind the temple. Wilder never recovered from the knockdown and was beaten from pillar to post by Fury. Another knockdown was scored by Fury in the fifth round and it was clear that the end was near.
Fury uncorked a salvo of punishing blows in the seventh round that led to his corner throwing in the towel to stop the fight. Fury became world champion with a dominant performance and although the two sides were contractually obligated to a third fight, this is where the games really began.
February 24, 2020: Wilder offers a laundry list of excuses for knockout loss
Less than two days after suffering his first loss as a professional, Wilder began speaking to media and offered a litany of excuses to explain what happened in Las Vegas. The excuses included everything from a suit that proved to be too heavy to a conspiracy by his own trainer who betrayed him by throwing in the towel. The excuses would continue as the months rolled by with Wilder going as far as to suggest that Fury fought with loaded gloves and someone spiking his water. And Wilder stands by 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 its say and shut down the boxing world indefinitely. Loose plans were made for October but Top Rank promoter Bob Arum shot that down due to the uncertainty of having a live audience attend the fight. Without that revenue, it would be difficult to stage a fight and nobody knew if or when it would happen.
October 12, 2020: Fury claims he won’t be fighting Wilder
By October, Fury had enough and stated that a third fight wouldn’t happen after a proposed December 19 date was moved off the table. Without a suitable date and location along with Wilder recovering from surgery, Fury looked elsewhere for a fight and targeted 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 bout. All Joshua had to do was get past the mandatory challenger for his IBF title, Kubrat Pulev. Joshua did just that with a ninth-round TKO and it appeared that we would finally have an undisputed heavyweight champion.
May 18, 2021: Fury-Joshua has a date, Wilder gets in the way
On May 17, an announcement was made that Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua would take place on August 14, 2021, in Saudi Arabia. But a day later an arbitrator ruled in Wilder’s favor that he could enforce his rematch clause. Wilder also made it clear that he would not accept any step aside deal, regardless of the offer. Fury-Wilder 3 was slated for July 24 in Las Vegas but, once again, COVID had other plans.
July 8, 2021: Fury catches COVID, trilogy delayed
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 he contracted COVID. And with a stacked calendar of fights, fans would have to wait another two months before the fight could happen.