In a pre-Covid-19 world, the thought of Australia hosting a bout on the scale of an era-defining heavyweight championship clash would have been beyond comprehension. But these are strange times.
Heavyweight bruisers Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have given us two of the best heavyweight bouts in recent memory in their pair of title bouts in the last couple of years, with the Englishman Fury having emerged with the title belts in a fight in Las Vegas earlier this year. But now, with the world watching to see what the future of the heavyweight division holds, Australia has emerged as an unlikely destination where the third fight in the much-watched trilogy might take place.
Developments in recent months have made it more and more likely that the next heavyweight championship match, which many thought may involve Anthony Joshua, will in fact be another bout between Wilder and Fury instead. But with the U.S. and the UK out of the picture for hosting a fight as their respective Coronavirus situations improve at a much slower rate compared to the rest of the world, the fight's promoters have had to look elsewhere.
And according to a report in The Australian, Australian promoter Dean Lonergan has made in-roads towards securing the fight for Sydney to take place later this year.
Where will it take place?
Per the report, Lonergan has pitched a strong bid with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum for Sydney's Bankwest Stadium to host the fight. The newly completed stadium in Sydney's western suburbs is a top-drawer location, boasting some of the nation's most modern sporting facilities and a 30,000 seat capacity that makes it perfect for hosting top-tier fights. Arum himself has confirmed that Australia remains a strong possibility as a potential host.
“When we postponed the fight in July we punted it to October,” he told Sky Sports. “I then called Fury and told him to forget about October. We’ll try to do it in November or December. We are moving ahead."
“Our friends in Australia are talking about doing this fight, probably in Sydney. That’s a possibility.”
When will it take place?
If it does go ahead, the report states that the fight will likely take place on December 26. Lonergan said that he chose the date in honour of a fight that took place in Sydney 108 years ago on the same day, when African-American fighter Jack Johnson defeated Australian Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title.
"The day I suggested was December 26 here so we would go back to the USA on Christmas night," Lonergan said. "Jack Johnson was the first Afro-American to crack the big time in the US. I think it would be incredibly significant if you did it down here to celebrate what he did all those years ago to chase Tommy Burns down."
What stands in the way?
Like with all other countries, Australia's capacity to host the fight will rest on whether or not its government will be in a position to allow the bout to take place in front of a crowd. Lonergan is hoping that the success of allowing crowds back into NRL games starting in the next few weeks may help him make the case that Australia will be in a position to provide a capacity crowd for Wilder-Fury III. "The genius of Peter V’landys to bring crowds back and pushing hard to try to get 15,000 people in stadiums by the end of July could see Australia in position to host this fight," Lonergan said.