The rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will almost certainly be worth the pay-per-view fee alone. Two of heavyweight boxing’s most entertaining performers will once again go toe-to-toe at the MGM Grand on February 22, practically two years since their highly entertaining draw in their opening encounter.
Wilder, as is his trademark, will look to get rid of Fury as quickly as possible with one of those trademark right hand bombs, but the Gypsy King showed plenty of punch resistance in the first fight – twice climbing off the canvas to take the contest to the judges’ cards.
The Brit let his fancy footwork and outstanding head movement do the work, picking off the Bronze Bomber with snappy combinations that clearly caught the eye of the judges given that he was ahead with one and did enough to secure the split decision stalemate.
And so the anticipation is reaching fever pitch ahead of the Las Vegas date, and with the sportsbooks struggling to split the duo in their Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury odds, those in attendance and the tens of millions watching worldwide should be treated to another barnstormer.
Should you need any further convincing, early details of the undercard have now been released with the first three bouts named, and there are plenty of tasty treats here to whet the appetite for the main event.
Emanuel Navarette vs Jeo Santisima
Emanuel Navarette will make what will be a staggering fifth defence in a year of his WBO super bantamweight title against the challenger from the Philippines, Jeo Santisima. Putting his gold on the line is nothing new for Navarette, who has claimed his distinction of one of the most active champions in the world by fighting eight times since January 2018.
The slippery Mexican has won 26 of his 31 fights by way of knockout, so you know there is dynamite in those hands, and he is currently riding on the crest of a 25-fight unbeaten streak. He’s twice beaten the highly-rated Isaac Dogboe, and this is a young champion who simply loves winning.
Santisima is a rather more mysterious character given that he has never fought outside of his homeland, and in truth his resumé is lacking any high-profile victims. He will give away big fight experience, pedigree and the reach advantage to Navarette, who will be expected to triumph in convincing fashion.
Charles Martin vs Gerald Washington
The artist formerly known as ‘King Charles’ is desperate to return to his throne. It’s a desire that comes from boasting the second shortest title reign in heavyweight history, and so the pressure is firmly on Charles Martin to deliver in this title eliminator.
He was demolished inside two rounds by Anthony Joshua back in 2016, and a light workload ever since has done little to convince – Martin was also humbled on points by Adam Kownacki in 2018.
So this is last chance saloon territory for the 33-year-old, and nothing shy of a convincing victory here is likely to propel him back into the world picture.
Gerald Washington’s progress was halted in a big way by three defeats in four starts against Wilder, Jarrell Miller and Kownacki, but a good win over a decent campaigner in Robert Helenius has given the 37-year-old an unlikely route back to a world title shot.
Sebastian Fundora vs Daniel Lewis
This is an intriguing clash between two promising super welterweights.
Sebastian Fundora is a curious size for this division – stick thin, he stands 6ft 5in with a reach of some 203cm. A perfect record came to a halt last time out in a draw with Jamontay Clark, and so there’s a certain motivation to get back to winning ways here.
Daniel Lewis will make the trip from Australia, with this being just his second fight outside of his homeland. A former Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist, the 26-year-old will be looking to put on a show here.
With more undercard fights to be announced, Wilder v Fury is shaping up rather nicely!