Revised attendance figures cast doubt over Tyson Fury’s US pulling power as British heavyweight boxing suffers another major blow
- The ascendancy of British heavyweight boxing is now under increasing threat
- Revised figures have shown far fewer people turned out to watch Tyson Fury
- Fury dispatched Tom Schwarz but many spectators remained unconvinced
- Anthony Joshua has again been warned about an instant rematch with Andy Ruiz
Britain’s recent ascendancy in heavyweight boxing has been damaged not only by Anthony Joshua’s sensational upset by the portly Andy Ruiz Jr but by growing doubts being cast in America over the box-office pulling power of Tyson Fury over there.
Joshua’s shocking KO loss of his four alpha-belts to the man who thus became Mexico’s first world heavyweight champion has been followed this weekend by a downward revision of the numbers in attendance at what was billed as Fury’s US coming out party in Las Vegas.
On the night Fury blitzed Germany’s Tom Schwarz at the MGM Grand Garden the gate was announced as 9,012.
Revised attendance figures have now cast doubt over Tyson Fury’s US pulling power
Now two sources in America with access to the Nevada State Athletic Commission records are adjusting that figure to 6,676, of which only 5,489 were tickets sold while 1,147 were given away.
This is more in keeping with the upper tiers of the 16,000 capacity Arena being curtained off. It is also understood that in addition to the comping of VIP hotel guests, MGM employees were drafted in to fill seats in the lower levels.
No-one could have done more to sell the show than Fury the charismatic entertainer. In truth, but for his showmanship the room might have been virtually empty.
But if his mission to conquer the huge American boxing market is to succeed then his ESPN television paymasters will be expecting more for their hundred-million-dollar investment than their moderate viewership estimated for this fight.
In truth, but for Fury’s showmanship the room might have been virtually empty in Las Vegas
Which may explain why that shrewd Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is suddenly urging Fury and WBC world champion Deontay Wilder to get on with the rematch of their epic draw next, instead of each taking a further interim fight this autumn.
The Gypsy King is Arum’s direct concern and he will be wondering which other heavyweight he can find for a proposed date of October 5 in New York who can help them fill Madison Square Garden and flood the ESPN airways.
For certain it will have to be someone considerably more credible than Schwarz, who is ranked as lowly in his father-land as their eighth-best heavyweight and was predictably crushed inside two rounds. Yet they will not want an opponent so good as to put the Wilder bonanza in jeopardy.
Nor is Wilder likely to jump at putting off his other proposed rematch this September, against Luis Ortiz.
So Fury has to think in terms of reaching next spring with his US market value enhanced but also cast-iron certain of arriving there unscathed.
It may explain why Bob Arum is urging Fury and the prolific Deontay Wilder to fight once again
While no-one can deny that his comeback is a miracle resurrection of his peak – and quite brilliant – boxing skills despite drastic weight-loss, most of us over here were as underwhelmed by Schwarz as an opponent as the US critics.
Nor can British boxing rely completely on Joshua surging back to restore Britain to the summit of the marquee heavyweight division.
Roy Jones Jr is but the latest of many ring legends questioning the wisdom of AJ going straight into a rematch with Ruiz.
Even Wilder, who might have been the one to benefit had he and Fury fought immediately, warned of the dangers of falling into that trap when he said: ‘I would have done the rematch with Tyson straight away.
Anthony Joshua has been warned of the dangers of an immediate rematch with Andy Ruiz
But after I concussed him with that heavy knockdown, if he is going to get back on the horse then he was sensible to start with a pony.’
Team Joshua’s decision – like Fury’s with ESPN – is conditioned by television money. The DAZN digital streaming network who are now transmitting AJ fights in America are keen to harvest more subscribers there by siting Joshua-Ruiz II back in New York, probably on December 14, rather than under the roof of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
That makes the old maxim about instant rematches all the more disconcerting in Joshua’s case.
Since Paulie Malignaggi’s hands were even more broken than his face, then Ricky Hatton’s old foe may have a genuine complaint that he was ‘robbed’ of the decision by Russia’s Artem Lobov on his Bare-Knuckle Fighting Championship debut.
Still, it was sad to see him engaged in such a bloody charade at the weekend.
Paulie is even more articulate with his tongue as a commentator than he was with his fists as a two-weight world boxing champion and it is time to go back to talking a good fight… for good.
It was sad to see Paulie Malignaggi engaged in such a bloody charade with Artem Lobov