Boxing’s heavyweight division is slowly lighting up as a new champion emerged last week, yet plenty of unfinished business remains to be completed before we see any new contenders getting their opportunities. Anthony Joshua will exercise his rematch clause to attempt to avenge the defeat suffered 10 days ago when he lost his titles to Oleksandr Usyk. Another man exercising his option this weekend is Deontay Wilder, who is seeking to regain his WBC title from the English traveler, Tyson Fury.
T-Mobile Arena will become the third Las Vegas venue to play host to a fight between these two. At the Staples Center, an out-of-condition Fury got off the floor twice in a fight judged a draw on a night full of drama and controversy. The rematch at the MGM Grand featured a commanding performance from Fury, dismantling and finishing Wilder in seven and leaving what appeared to many to be no room for doubt. That contest nearly 20 months ago was the last occasion either man was seen in a ring, so to call this weekend’s bout an immediate rematch might be stretching it, but it is what it is.
The most striking aspect of immediate rematches is that the man who has lost by knockout in the first meeting generally loses by knockout again in the renewal, and it has thrown up a very interesting stat. On the 54 occasions in the last 40 years when this has occurred, 45 of the rematches have ended in the same result — a stoppage victory for the winner of the first contest. I know this fight is a third contest, but both had bouts between their first and second meetings, so this point has credence.