Fury-Wilder III: NRL stadium booked to host superfight
Boxing promoter Dean Lonergan has tentatively booked Bankwest Stadium for Boxing Day as he pushes ahead with plans to host a super-fight between heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in Sydney later this year.
Lonergan also revealed he expected the planned bout between Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu to take place in late-August or early-September, when he is hopeful that COVID-19 restrictions will have eased.
Legendary Top Rank promoter Bob Arum let the cat out of the bag on Saturday night when he told media outlets that Macau and Australia were in the mix to host the third fight between Fury and Wilder.
The pair drew their first encounter before Fury claimed the WBC heavyweight belt by knocking out Wilder. They are now set to meet again and Australia has emerged as a potential destination thanks to the ambitions of Lonergan and the rat cunning of ARL Commission Peter V'landys.
Lonergan has been quietly working behind the scenes on the Australian bid, having forged a strong relationship with Arum and the Top Rank team through his promotion of Horn.
He told The Australian that he was hopeful the fight could be held on Boxing Day, his way of paying tribute to Jack Johnson and his fight with Tommy Burns in Sydney more than 100 years ago.
"I put a proposal to Bob Arum about six weeks ago by way of email to bring down here world heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury," Lonergan said.
"The day I suggested was December 26 here so we would go back to the USA on Christmas night.
"The reason I have done that is to have a celebration, and make the fight a little more significant, because it would be 108 years since Jack Johnson beat Tommy Burns down here for the heavyweight title.
"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."
Macau is also in the mix to host the fight but Arum asked to be kept informed on the progress of crowds at sporting events in Australia as he considers bringing the bout to Sydney.
Lonergan has been given reason for optimism over crowds given what is unfolding in the NRL, where V'landys is leading the charge. Rugby league is expected to be open to several hundred people within a week and V'landys is optimistic the gates will quickly open to thousands after that.
"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.
"With what is going on in the world at the moment, you tell me one athlete is more significant than Jack Johnson.
"Jack Johnson is probably the most overlooked African-American athlete of all time."
Wilder and Fury are two of the biggest stars in boxing and were scheduled to meet for a third time in July before COVID-19 forced the bout to be delayed.
Wilder is a fearsome knockout specialist who was undefeated until he was battered by Fury at their last outing.
Fury, aka the Gypsy King, is undefeated through 31 fights. Lonergan believes more than 35,000 people could attend the fight at Bankwest Stadium provided the government allows sporting bodies to throw open the gates before the end of the year.
"When we postponed the fight in July we punted it to October," Arum 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."
Originally published as Fury-Wilder III: NRL stadium booked to host superfight