Lineal Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Sunday that he will be fighting Germany’s Tom Schwarz for the WBO Intercontinental title on June 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Paradise, Nevada.
Coming off a controversial draw with WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder, last December, the 30-year-old Fury shocked boxing fans and pundits by picking Schwarz, an undefeated (24-0, 16KOs) but untested fighter, as his next foe.
Fury’s camp already set the date and the venue for his next fight last week with his manager promising a top-5 heavyweight opponent. However, Schwarz is not even rated as a top-15 fighter in his division.
Schwarz’s noteworthy victory came against Senad Gashi, who was giving him all kinds of trouble in the match but got disqualified for headbutting the 24-year-old German three times. The match also saw a scuffle after the two decided to slug it out once more despite the referee already disqualifying Gashi.
Fury’s upcoming showdown with Schwarz will be his first of his five-fight deal with Bob Arum’s Top-Rank Promotions and ESPN. The Briton will reportedly pocket at least $20M – excluding his share in the merchandize and close circuit sales – in this fight.
Fury’s Fight – A Big Boost for Vegas
After his first experience of fighting in the United States in December, Fury wanted more exposure in a far more lucrative US market. This is the main reason why he signed a deal with Top-Rank and ESPN in the first place, believing the move would boost his popularity in American household.
Choosing the Thomas & Mack Center as the venue for his debut in the Las Vegas strip is also part of Fury’s strategy to become a huge boxing star. Thomas & Mack Center hosted some of the legendary fights in the sport’s history, including the third bout of Manny Pacquiao-Erik Morales trilogy, Oscar de la Hoya-Julio Cezar Chaves fight and the Evander Holyfield-Lenox Lewis undisputed championship bout.
With the success of the Fury-Wilder fight, the Gypsy King looks to make another big step to completely revive the heavyweight division. Throughout the years, Las Vegas has been a host of a number of blockbuster heavyweight bouts featuring Holyfield, Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.
No matter how lopsided Fury vs. Schwarz would seem, this bout could pave the way for the comeback of the heavyweights as the premier boxing attraction. If this heavyweight renaissance eventually happens, Las Vegas as the center of boxing is poised to exponentially benefit from it with casinos and hotels cashing in on the influx of tourists in the city.
Thomas & Mack Center, which also serves as the home court of UNLV Runnin Rebels and hosts NBA summer league games, can accommodate up to 18,500 spectators. It’s ironic that after all these unforgettable fights, a heavyweight match still holds the gate record in the venue. The Lewis-Holyfield rematch grossed a record $18,124,200 in 1999.
Potential Big Fights in Vegas
Again, Fury’s fight is a significant one as it could trigger a series of big-money bouts down the road. Right now, the top-3 fighters in the heavyweights in the world are set to fight different opponents in a span of four weeks.
Wilder, who is still fuming in anger over the collapse of the negotiation for a second fight with Fury, will be defending his WBC crown against Dominic Breazeale on May 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua will be making his US debut against Jarrell Miller on June 1 at the Madison Square Garden in New York.
Top-Rank chief Bob Arum hinted that a second showdown between Fury and Wilder is very much possible, despite the two fighters signing with rival promoters and broadcasters.
“Their idea is to have Wilder fight twice on their platform and then to get together a do a PPV fight. ESPN is just a distributor. It may well be that Wilder also has a network involved. They may want to share the distribution in some way with ESPN and that is something we’ve done before,” Arum stressed.
A match-up between any of these three powerhorse fighters would be an absolute smash hit. It’s been a while since the heavyweight had three legit superstars gunning for the top of the division. Of course, there’s no better place to host this magnitude of a fight than Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world.
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