It appears that the prospect of Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III is officially dead and buried, for now.
Promoters Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn have both said that Deontay Wilder's mediation over his rematch clause will be for financial compensation, not to force a third fight with Tyson Fury.
The two heavyweights fought to an engrossing draw in 2018 for Wilder's WBC championship, before Fury emphatically stopped the American in a one-sided rematch in February 2020 to capture the green and gold belt, completing his world title collection.
"The Bronze Bomber" had a rematch clause and instantly invoked his right to complete the trilogy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of that.
Eventually, thanks to the rematch clause expiring (per promoter Bob Arum) and Wilder's strange comments accusing the Brit of cheating, putting Fury off the idea of doing it all over again, the whole thing peetered out and "The Gipsy King" declared he would instead advance directly to a unification fight with WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua.
Though Wilder is currently exploring his legal options with regards to the third fight being scrapped against his will, Arum told Barbershop Conversations that he doesn't expect it to go anywhere and discussions for Fury vs. Joshua will continue.
“There’s no mediation. I mean, there has been over Christmas, and New Year, there was mediation,” said Arum. “I don’t know, maybe the mediator will be able to solve the situation, but we got a real problem because Tyson Fury has said to me and the mediator, ‘Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever’ will he ever fight Wilder after what Wilder said to him.
“He [Fury] regards is not only as a slur against him but against the Gypsy nation. He talked to Weinstein a couple of weeks ago, and me over the weekend within a day or so, a few days.
Arum continued to say that not only would mediation be unable to force another fight between the two, but he doesn't see it leading to Fury being forced to vacate the title he won.
“Why would he have to release the [WBC] belt?” continued Arum. “Then he has to decide if he wants to abide by any kind of order.
“I don’t want to get into any legalities, but the idea of anyone stopping the Fury – Joshua fight, it just can’t happen. The WBC belt isn’t an issue,”
With a rematch and a title vacation appearing to be off the table, it appears Wilder's only remaining endgame is to secure a pay-out.
That's certainly how Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn sees it, though those involved in making AJ vs. Fury happen are already facing the prospect of compensating every governing body involved plus WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk to get the megafight over the line.
He told Sky Sports: "I can’t talk on behalf of Tyson Fury, but the vibe I’m getting from everything I’ve seen on social media is he isn’t giving Deontay Wilder another chance or another shot ever.
“Especially after he said what he said. The accusations of him being a cheat. Tampering with his gloves, people putting stuff in his drinks. It was bizarre. That was even more bizarre than 2020 itself,”
“He (Arum) is not too concerned. He feels like the (Fury vs. Wilder) contract is over. “There is an arbitration going on in that respect. I don’t see that as an issue.”