Fury grabs £80m ESPN deal

Author: Kwame Larweh
Fury embraces Wilder after their brawl last year

British heavyweight Tyson Fury has signed a deal with a United States network worth a reported £80m.

The deal, which is understood to cover Fury's next five fights, will see him broadcast on ESPN in the US while remaining on BT Sport in the UK.

Fury believes the deal makes a rematch with Deontay Wilder "more makeable".

But Fury, Wilder and IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua now work with rival US broadcasters, making future negotiations arguably more difficult.

Fury's December draw with WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder aired on BT Sport in the UK as well as Showtime - who broadcast the American's fights - in the US.

Now Fury has his own US broadcaster, agreements will have to be reached between ESPN and Showtime over the airing of a rematch in America.

Joshua meanwhile is signed to the DAZN streaming service in the US.

Fury's promoter Frank Warren pointed to the size of ESPN's subscription base when he said his fighter was now on "a bigger platform".

Asked about negotiations for bouts with the division's biggest names, Warren said: "They will now have to come to us.

"This ESPN situation for him is probably one of the biggest things to happen to a British sportsman. It's something special."

As part of his new deal, Fury will be promoted by both Warren and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum in the US.

Arum, 87, has promoted the likes of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather and said Fury was "a generational heavyweight talent at the peak of his powers".

So what next for Fury?

Fury was expected to sign a deal to face Wilder again, with a date of 18 May mooted and Las Vegas the likely venue.

Warren said they still "wanted" the contest but quickly added Showtime was no longer "the only game in town".

"It's up to us to sit down and get it over the line," Warren added.

Fury still wants to fight before the end of May and Warren stressed the former WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion would not "sit around waiting".

Fury added: "If I didn't want to fight Wilder then I wouldn't have taken it the first time. The fight is more makeable now because of this deal.

"If you're watching Deontay I'm coming for you baby and and this time you won't rip me off."

This fresh dynamic in negotiations between Fury, Wilder and their broadcasters mean talks will have to conclude quickly if any bout in May is to be possible.

Joshua will make his own US debut in New York when he defends his titles against Jarrell Miller on 1 June.