Philadelphia is recognized as one of the premier boxing cities in the country. The area routinely draws huge numbers for the biggest boxing matches.
Saturday’s heavyweight championship fight in Las Vegas between WBC champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and lineal champ Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) is expected to be one of the best in the last 10-15 years, according to those associated with the ratings and promotion of the fight.
There is no immediate connection to Philly. Fury hails from the United Kingdom. Wilder is from Tuscaloosa, Ala.
It’s the second bout between these undefeated fighters after a complicated draw Dec. 1, 2018. The husky, 6-foot-9 boxer (Fury) vs. the long, 6-7 knockout artist (Wilder). The two fighters each essentially have the weight of an entire country on their shoulders.
“This fight has national appeal and has captured the interest of the United States and Great Britain with Fury," said Bill Wanger, Fox’s executive vice president and head of programming. “We expect the fight to do well, and just because of Philadelphia’s history with the fight game, we’re expecting a good turnout.”
Joe Hand Promotions is in charge of distributing the fight to bars, restaurants and commercial businesses in the United States. It’s common for Philadelphia bars to pick up fights, but Wilder-Fury II is drawing more interest than usual.
Twelve locations in Philadelphia and 75 in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area had already signed up for the fight as of Friday morning. New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit have seen the largest spikes in interest for Wilder-Fury II.
“For fans that are in Philadelphia, what I call one of the greatest hotbeds in boxing, there’s not going to be a place too far from anybody that they’re not going to be able to go to a corner bar or restaurant and watch it in their neighborhood,” Hand said.
Fury and Wilder’s first fight resulted in a complicated draw. Those on Wilder’s side believed that Fury had received a prolonged 10-count and was knocked out in the 12th round. Fury’s side believed that he outboxed Wilder and deserved a win by decision.
The judges’ scorecards read 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury, and 113-113.
Wednesday’s press conference added to the anticipation. Wilder and Fury traded words for about two minutes before shoving each other. The fighters were banned from the traditional face-off at Friday’s weigh-in because of the dispute.
The fight will be available live on pay-per-view for $79.99. The card will start at 9 p.m., with the main event expected to begin around 11.
The Hard Rock Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dave & Buster’s, and Chuck’s Alibi are among the locations showing the fight in Philadelphia. ESPN, Fox, Top Rank, and Premier Boxing Champions have teamed up to promote what is expected to be the most anticipated heavyweight fight in recent memory.