Tyson Fury has pulled out of talks over an immediate rematch with Deontay Wilder, prompting the Bronze Bomber to call him a ‘m********a’.
In a hugely anti-climactic move, Fury told the WBC on Tuesday that he intends to take an interim fight next ahead of a possible clash with Wilder in the autumn.
It follows almost three months of negotiations after their controversial draw in December and comes in the wake of Fury signing an £80m deal last week with American promoter Top Rank, with his fights to be screened on ESPN.
That arrangement immediately cast doubt over the rematch as Wilder fights on Showtime and despite the protestations of each party that a May 18 clash was still close, it has now formally been shelved.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said: ‘It feels like someone let all the air out of the balloon.
“We are at a great moment in the heavyweight division and there was a lot of excitement for this rematch, and we lost a couple of months waiting to get this done.
“I will go to the WBC board and discuss it. The position from Wilder was to officially seek the rematch through the WBC mandate. So we’ll look at this and make a determination quickly.”
Wilder is now likely to defend his title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale. He did have something to say on Tuesday night, though.
Replying to a tweet of Fury’s from February 22, he wrote: “You sorry m********a. We knew you only said this bec [sic] you knew you wasn’t fighting me next.
“You requested a warm-up fight first. I don’t blame you tho, I probably would too if I saw my brains splashed all over the canvas.”
After ordering the rematch between Wilder and Fury last month, the WBC have repeatedly put back the deadline in the belief that the impasse was close to being solved. The latest cut-off was set for Tuesday, before the sanctioning body confirmed Fury’s plans to seek an alternative opponent.
Speaking after signing his ESPN deal, Fury said: “As far as I’m concerned the fight is more makeable now, we have the biggest boys in town behind us.
“If you’re watching, Deontay, I’m coming for you, and this time you can’t rip me off.”
Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told Sportsmail the sudden availability of Wilder will have no bearing on Joshua’s forthcoming fight with Jarrell Miller, but will make it ‘easier’ to create a subsequent Joshua-Wilder unification.