Staples Center has landed the Dec. 1 heavyweight title fight between unbeaten World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder and England’s former champion Tyson Fury.
In a nod to the Southland’s strong boxing interest and its ability to lure Hollywood celebrities, Wilder’s powerful co-manager Al Haymon has turned to the Los Angeles venue that has previously staged two heavyweight title bouts featuring Vitali Klitschko.
Wilder-Fury will be a Showtime pay-per-view bout.
The fighters will open a press tour next week in England, stop in New York and end in Los Angeles with a Wednesday stop that will invite the public and launch ticket sales, with prices starting at $75 at the Staples Center box office and axs.com.
Alabama’s boisterous champion Wilder (40-0, 39 knockouts) hoped to fight England’s three-belt champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) this fall, but Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, balked in favor of a mandatory title defense against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin that Joshua won by knockout Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Joshua said he expects to fight the Wilder-Fury winner in April at Wembley.
Wilder turned to the enigmatic Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), who won three heavyweight belts from long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but soon after had substance abuse problems, blowing up in weight during his layoff before returning to fight two nondescript opponents this year.
“I have tremendous respect for Fury for agreeing to leave England and come to the U.S. to challenge me,” Wilder said in a statement. “I’m the WBC champion, he’s the lineal champion, and the winner of this fight will show the world who is ‘The Man’ in the heavyweight division.”
Fury said in the same statement: “This is the Tyson Fury show. It always has been. This is my era, and I proved that when I beat Klitschko in his own backyard. …
“Until someone beats me, I am the king of the heavyweight division. Long live the king.”
For Staples Center, landing the bout accentuates the enthusiasm for combat sports shown by AEG President/CEO Dan Beckerman, who last year lured a string of major bouts featuring Vasiliy Lomachenko, Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez and the “SuperFly” series to AEG venues here and in Las Vegas.
Most powerful for the local market was Mikey Garcia’s summer lightweight unification triumph over Robert Easter Jr. at Staples Center that drew 12,560 after the June 9 Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares “battle for Los Angeles” featherweight title bout also sold well.