PROFESSIONAL promoter Mark Neilson gives his take on the biggest news in boxing this week.

The big boxing news in the last week was that the only-recently scheduled trilogy fight between WBC Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury (30-0-1) and big hitter Deontay Wilder (42-1-1) is off!

The bout between the two was quickly pencilled for July 24 in Las Vegas after a judge ruled that Wilder had a contractual right to a third fight. At the beginning of the year it was all about AJ vs Fury, and after months of toing and froing an announcement was made that the two would eventually get it on in a £100 million mega fight in Saudi Arabia for all of the belts.

Conspiracy theories abound whether Team Fury actually wanted the AJ fight at all, particularly considering the speed that Fury vs Wilder was made after the court ruling.

It’s not money, contractual terms or TV promotional rights that scuppered the fight, but COVID. According to news reports, a COVID outbreak affected nine of Fury’s camp and apparently also the champion himself.

Wilder’s Manager, Shelly Finkel, is stating that it was caused by Fury’s camp not being properly vaccinated and following the correct procedures.

The fight is earmarked for September or October, and the delay now means Fury will have been out of the ring for over 19 months by then, certainly not ideal for his preparations. This also means that frustratingly, we won’t see Fury vs AJ in 2021.

Anthony Joshua (24-1-0) is slated for September against WBO No1 contender Oleksandr Usyk (18-0-0) and it’s very unlikely that fight fans will see him out again this year.

AJ’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has questioned the circumstances of the delay and has stated publicly that poor ticket sales and the risk of a PPV flop could have been a factor for knocking the fight back. To add fire to the doubters, the normally vocal Tyson Fury has been uncharacteristically quiet since the announcement, apart from a few Euro 21 tweets.

Whatever the real reason for the delay, 2021 started out with optimism that the heavyweight titles would end at some stage this year. That has now been kick into the long grass until at least 2022 at the earliest. No doubt the fighters are disappointed and are missing out on significant paydays, but the paying fight fans are once again missing out also.

Heavyweight boxing is never straightforward, but maybe that’s why we love it.