/Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 in jeopardy of postponement after COVID-19 breakout, per reports
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Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 in jeopardy of postponement after COVID-19 breakout, per reports

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The heavyweight championship saga in 2021 took another unexpected turn on Thursday with news that a COVID outbreak in Tyson Fury’s camp has put his planned WBC title defense against Deontay Wilder in jeopardy. The third fight between the two is scheduled to take place July 24 in Las Vegas, but according to multiple reports from ESPN and The Athletic, both camps are gathering information as to what the next steps are and if the fight can still proceed.

“We continue to monitor the health status of Tyson and his team, and the status of the event has not changed to date,” Fury’s promoter Top Rank said in a statement on Thursday.

If the fight was to be delayed, it is unclear where in the calendar it could fit in and still be at T-Mobile Arena. Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr. are already set for a welterweight unification clash on PPV on Aug. 21. UFC reportedly has the arena saved for an event over Labor Day weekend, according to The Athletic, and Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are finalizing their deal to fight on Sept. 25.

A source estimated to Lance Pugmire of The Athletic that as many as 10 people in Fury’s gym have tested positive and it is still unknown if Fury himself has tested positive.

Fury was originally set for a summer showdown with Joshua in a rare unification of all four recognized world titles. Instead, Wilder was able to secure the trilogy fight with Fury through an arbitrator’s ruling.

After the two men battled to a draw in December 2018, Fury scored a February 2020 knockout win in the rematch. There was a clause in the second fight that guaranteed the loser a rematch with the short side of a 60/40 purse split.

Between the COVID pandemic and requests from the Joshua camp to delay the third meeting into 2021, Fury and his promoters at Top Rank declared that time had ran out on the clause and attempted to make the mega-fight with Joshua only to see their hopes dashed by Wilder’s legal victory.

Postponing the fight to September or beyond also likely ends any hope of the winner unifying the titles against Joshua before the end of 2021.