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In this file photo taken on October 1, 2018 WBC world heavyweight champion, US boxer Deontay Wilder (left), and former world heavyweight champion, British boxer Tyson Fury (right) are separated by boxing promoter and manager Frank Warren (centre) during a press conference in London ahead of their scheduled title fight. - AFP

NEW YORK: The highly-anticipated rematch between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and former champion Tyson Fury will be delayed until after the Briton’s bout against a yet to be named opponent, the WBC said on Tuesday.

American Wilder and Fury fought to a thrilling split decision draw on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles when Fury controlled much of the fight only to be knocked down twice, including one in the 12th round that looked to be the deciding blow.

The fight breathed life into the heavyweight division and had both talking up a rematch as soon as it was over, but the WBC said fans would have to wait for the matchup.

“(Wilder vs Fury) is officially not happening next,” the WBC said on its official Twitter account.

“The (WBC) has received communications as our process and while Wilder confirmed its willingness to fight the rematch, Fury will take on another fight with expectations to do rematch at a later date.”

Fury signed an agreement earlier this month with ESPN that would give the broadcaster exclusive rights to show his fights on its platforms in the United States.

That deal could be a stumbling block for the rematch as Wilder has a long-term relationship with rival U.S. television network Showtime. --Reuters

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