Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he received a telephone call from Mick Hennessy, the promoter of British heavyweight contender Tyson Fury, regarding a potential fight between the 6-foot-9 Englishman and 6-foot-7 knockout specialist Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder’ in the wake of Fury’s scheduled bout with David Haye having been called off for the second time.
But Schaefer said that since expressing genuine interest in the bout, he has not heard back from Hennessy and has not been unable to contact him.
“I got a call two days ago from Tyson Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, asking me if there would be any interest in Deontay Wilder fighting Tyson Fury, and I said, ‘Yes, there is,’ and then I said, ‘make me an offer, and he was not prepared to make me an offer to fight Fury,” said Schaefer of Fury, whose bout with Haye was called off after the former titleholder underwent surgery in Germany on Thursday morning (Nov. 14) to reconstruct his right shoulder.
“So then I said, ‘Well, you know what we can do? We can just split it 50-50 and we’ll get it done. Then he said, ‘Well, let me talk to Sky [Sports channel in England] and I will get back to you. Well, that was two days ago. So I tried to reach him yesterday and he didn’t answer his phone or call me back. So what I think has happened is that he must have talked to his matchmaker and they must have realized that Tyson Fury has no chance, and I think that they must have changed their minds because, all of a sudden, it has become very, very quiet. It’s as if the telephone lines between the United States and the UK suddenly don’t work.”
Hennessy is talking about Wilder (30-0, 30 knockouts), however, even if not to Schaefer.
In his last fight last month, Wilder dropped his man three times during a fourth-round stoppage of Nicolai Firtha at Boardwalk Hall on Showtime.
“Wilder has won all 30 of his fights inside of the distance, including consecutive first-round wins over Audley Harrison and former WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich earlier this year. We have had talks with Wilder’s people and we are in discussion at the moment,” said Hennessy to Sky Sports.
“But obviously, there are a lot of pieces to the jigsaw that we need to fit together. We are looking at a number of different options, but one thing that we do know is that Tyson is one of the biggest draws in the world of boxing at the moment, and as soon as he is ready, we will look to get him back into the ring.”
In his last fight in April, Fury was dropped in the second round of an eventual seventh-round stoppage win over former two-time cruiserweight titleholder Steve Cunningham, who could be back in the ring on Dec. 14, according Main Events President Kathy Duva.
Although Hennessy may be mum regarding Wilder in Schaefer’s eyes, Fury has not, having taken to his Twitter account. Back in September, when Wilder and Fury where in the same ring, the fighters seemed amenable to facing each other.
“I think that Hennessy should tell Tyson Fury to stop yapping. You still have Tyson Fury yapping, but that’s what he always does,” said Schaefer. “But I think that they realize that Deontay Wilder is too much of a step up for Fury, and they must have changed their minds, because now, there is silence, which is fine with me. It’s just that maybe Tyson hasn’t gotten the memo yet…Remember, Mick Hennessy called me, and I said, ‘no problem.’ They must have figured out that Deontay’s too dangerous.”
Wilder’s co-manager and trainer, Jay Deas, would be up for facing Fury, even if it meant traveling to England.
“We’re all for it, as long as the terms are right. They offered Haye $8 million in U.S. dollars. We certainly aren’t expecting that. But at the same time, there is nobody that was going to show up for the Haye-Fury fight that is not going to want to go to the Wilder-Fury fight,” said Deas.
“There’s nobody that was going to order the Hay-Fury Pay Per View that wasn’t going to order the Wilder-Fury Pay Per View. There’s no sponsor that was going to sponsor Haye-Fury that is not going to sponsor Wilder-Fury. It’s two, young, undefeated, big, strong heavyweights who are charismatic and both pack a lot of power and both have a lot of personality. We have no problem with traveling. We’re ready to do the traveling. We’ll go over there. We understand that they want the fight to be over there and we have no problem fighting in his back yard.”
Meanwhile, Wilder’s performance against Firtha came in the wake of news that 42-year-old WBC beltholder Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) has announced his presidential candidacy in Ukraine, and his possible retirement from boxing.
With that in mind, Schaefer said that Wilder’s next two fights could be for the WBC’s vacant belt, and, the undisputed heavyweight title owned by former sparring partner and RING champion Wladimir Klitschko, respectively.
A 28-year-old former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Tuscaloosa, Ala., Wilder is ranked No. 3 in the WBC’s ratings behind mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola, the latter of whom lost by unanimous decision to Stiverne in April before stopping Seth Mitchell in the first round in September.
During the post-fight press conference following Wilder’s win over Firtha, Schaefer said, “I’d like to see him against either one of those guys, Stiverne or Arreola,” adding, “Deontay’s ready to bring the heavyweight title back home here to the United States. He’s ready to go. He’s ready for anyone.”
Schaefer said he has a solution to the holdup regarding Vitali Klitschko while the winner of 13 straight fights, 10 of them by stoppage, ponders his next move.
“When you look at a champion like Vitali Klitschko, who has done so much for the sport, I understand the position of the WBC that they don’t want to strip him, and I don’t think that they should strip him. I think that what they should do is to give him enough time to see how the elections go and do like they have done before, when he was moved to Champion Emeritus [status,]” said Schaefer.
“They should order Stiverne against Deontay Wilder with the understanding that whenever Vitali Klitschko decides to come back, then the winner of the Stiverne-Wilder fight, which would be for the full title, should be mandated to fight Vitali Klitschko first or next. By the way, since this would be for the vacant title, I understand that there would be another mandatory, and that the next in line would be Chris Arreola. So Chris Arreola could fight the winner of Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. That would re-inject some fresh blood and some fresh action into the heavyweight division.”
Wilder’s win over Firtha came on Oct. 26 — the day after the one-year anniversary of the death at the age of 68 of the late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, who had called Wilder “No. 1…among the American heavyweights,” as well as “the best heavyweight prospect for winning the heavyweight title.”
No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap. In 2006, Hasim Rahman held the WBC belt while the IBF title was held by Chris Byrd. Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz was the first Latino to have a belt when he became the WBA champ in 2005.
Wilder celebrated his 27th birthday on Oct. 22 of last year in Austria while spending time as the primary sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko, the 37-year-old holder of THE RING, IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Wilder worked with Klitschko in advance of his unanimous-decision victory over Mariusz Wach in November of 2012.
“I hope that I answered a lot of questions tonight. Everybody wants rounds, but the rounds that we put in, it was an exciting fight. I told people that Firtha was going to be a tough dude,” said Wilder during his post-fight press conference following the win over Firtha.
“It’ll be the same way with Stiverne, just jab. He’ll have to try to come and get in on me. He’ll have to get in. I’m not going to just let you in there.There are a lot of other things that I have. I have different weapons in my bag. Deontay ‘The Bronze’ Bomber. I’m cocking it, and I’m about to let these guns explode. Tonight, I had my sniper rifle out.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com.