Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said Friday night during an appearance on ESPN's Now or Never that his highly anticipated rematch against WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder will take place in February.
"It's a done deal, if we both get through our next fights, then we're going to fight Feb. 22," said Fury, who faces Otto Wallin on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas. Wilder is reportedly set to face Luis Ortiz for the second time in November.
A source at Top Rank confirmed to ESPN that Feb. 22 is the working date for the Fury-Wilder fight.
On Dec. 1, Fury and Wilder fought to a disputed draw at Staples Center in Los Angeles. For large segments of the fight, it was the boxing acumen of Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) that riddled the hard-punching Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), but a 12th-round knockdown of Fury salvaged the draw for Wilder and allowed him to retain his WBC title.
Fury, who was sent to the canvas twice in that contest, does not regret taking a more cautious approach in the final round while holding a lead on the scorecards.
"It wouldn't have helped anyway because we probably still would have gotten a draw," Fury said Friday night. "I was so far ahead on points, the knockdown in the last round doesn't alter anything, it doesn't mean nothing. So they were going to rob me anyway, they were going to do it whether I got knocked down 20 times or none."
So what changes the second time around?
"I have to knock him out in the rematch," said Fury, who plans to take a more aggressive tact in the rematch. He also says he believes that next time he'll be a better version of himself.
"I've been much fitter and I've had defenses of my titles, so I'm a lot different person than December of 2018," he said.
After defeating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, Fury, beset by well-chronicled personal problems, stayed out of the ring until June 2018, when he defeated the nondescript Sefer Seferi and then the nonthreatening Francesco Pianeta two months later, before being matched with Wilder.
Though some might question the strategy of slugging it out with a noted puncher such as Wilder, Fury, of Britain, says he believes it's the only strategy that will allow him to win in the States.
"It's not going to play into my hands to get robbed again, and I don't plan to come to America to get robbed on two decisions. I've seen it happen in the past, and I don't want to see it again," he said.
Even with the second go-around with Wilder looming in 2020, Fury said it wouldn't be difficult to focus on the task at hand with Wallin.
"It's not hard, at all, because you'd have to be a fool to underestimate any heavyweight -- especially one with an unbeaten record," Fury said.