Tyson Fury signs ESPN fight deal worth reported £80m

If there's no Wilder rematch 'it's not the end of the world' - Fury

British heavyweight Tyson Fury has signed a deal with a United States network worth a reported £80m.external-link

The deal, which is understood to cover Fury's next five fights, will see him broadcast on ESPN in the US while remaining on BT Sport in the UK.

Fury believes the deal makes a rematch with Deontay Wilder "more makeable".

But Fury, Wilder and IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua now work with rival US broadcasters, making future negotiations arguably more difficult.

Fury's December draw with WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder aired on BT Sport in the UK as well as Showtime - who broadcast the American's fights - in the US.

Now Fury has his own US broadcaster, agreements will have to be reached between ESPN and Showtime over the airing of a rematch in America.

Joshua meanwhile is signed to the DAZN streaming service in the US.

Fury's promoter Frank Warren pointed to the size of ESPN's subscription base when he said his fighter was now on "a bigger platform".

Asked about negotiations for bouts with the division's biggest names, Warren said: "They will now have to come to us.

"This ESPN situation for him is probably one of the biggest things to happen to a British sportsman. It's something special."

As part of his new deal, Fury will be promoted by both Warren and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum in the US.

Arum, 87, has promoted the likes of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather and said Fury was "a generational heavyweight talent at the peak of his powers".

Golden era under threat - analysis

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:

The deal is an indication of how Tyson Fury's stock has risen in the United States after his performance against Deontay Wilder last December, in particular his dramatic last-round recovery.

But the announcement spreads confusion across the heavyweight division when negotiations were underway for the rematch against Wilder.

Fury, Wilder and Anthony Joshua are aligned with different TV and streaming partners and doubts have been raised about the chances of big fights being made.

Longer term, there could be implications for the golden heavyweight era that many of us were predicting.

So what next for Fury?

Fury was expected to sign a deal to face Wilder again, with a date of 18 May mooted and Las Vegas the likely venue.

Warren said they still "wanted" the contest but quickly added Showtime was no longer "the only game in town".

"It's up to us to sit down and get it over the line," Warren added.

Fury still wants to fight before the end of May and Warren stressed the former WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion would not "sit around waiting".

Fury added: "If I didn't want to fight Wilder then I wouldn't have taken it the first time. The fight is more makeable now because of this deal.

"If you're watching Deontay I'm coming for you baby and this time you won't rip me off.

"If the rematch happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't. It isn't the end of the world. I want it to happen so let's make it happen."

This fresh dynamic in negotiations between Fury, Wilder and their broadcasters means talks will have to quickly reach a successful conclusion if a bout in May is to be possible.

Joshua will make his own US debut on 1 June in New York when he defends his titles against Jarrell Miller.


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