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Tyson Fury signs $100mn TV deal, but bumper payday throws Wilder rematch into doubt

Tyson Fury signs $100mn TV deal, but bumper payday throws Wilder rematch into doubt
British heavyweight Tyson Fury has penned a deal worth a reported $100 million which will see his fights broadcast through ESPN in the US, but which casts doubt on an eagerly-anticipated rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

The big-money deal, said to be for five fights, was announced on Monday and sees Fury sign with US promoter Top Rank, headed by Bob Arum, meaning the Brit’s fights will be broadcast Stateside through ESPN. The Manchester fighter’s bouts will continue to be shown on BT Sport in the UK.

'The Gypsy King' and UK promoter Frank Warren both hailed the new deal, but for many it has thrown into doubt a rematch between the lineal heavyweight champion and WBC titleholder Wilder.   

Fury and Wilder fought to a contentious split decision draw in Los Angeles in December, in a bout which included one of the most thrilling 12th rounds in heavyweight history.

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Both fighters had appeared keen to meet again, with a New York or Las Vegas showdown tipped for May 18.

READ MORE: Fighting talk: Wilder vs Fury 2 'could be agreed within 48 hours' as purse bid deadline looms

But with 'The Bronze Bomber' signed to a deal with rival US network Showtime, in the eyes of many observes this will complicate attempts to get him in the ring with Fury for a second time – despite the Brit himself claiming otherwise.

"If I didn't want to fight Wilder then I wouldn't have taken it the first time,” Fury said.

“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.”

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Fury however then appeared to temper that with the message that it “isn’t the end of the world” if the pair do not meet again.

"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," said the fighter, 30.

The new deal also further tangles the web over a potential fight with British IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua, whose fights are broadcast through DAZN in the US and Sky in the UK.

Joshua makes own US bow on June 1 at New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden against the undefeated Jarrell Miller.

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Joshua’s choice of opponent has drawn fire due to Miller’s relative obscurity, while boxing fans are itching for the London fighter to face one of Fury or Wilder – the latter of which could see the crowning of the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

READ MORE: 'Who the f*** is dat guy!?': Joshua slammed by fans for US debut versus unknown 'Big Baby'

For now at least, fans are left scratching their heads at which way the heavyweight division will turn next.   

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