The notion of a world heavyweight title fight taking place on Christmas Day likely makes a fight fan think of the movie, “Rocky IV.” Although the fictitious battle between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago was actually a non-title fight, the massive bout attracted an enormous audience despite it taking place on December 25. That was fiction yet we could be in store for the real thing.
But Australian boxing promoter Dean Lonergan is not thinking about emulating the 1980s’ box office smash, Lonergan says “wouldn’t it be great to do it on Boxing Day as a celebration of Jack Johnson’s victory for the heavyweight championship over Tommy Burns?”
Lonergan wants to host the third (and final?) fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in Australia, and he wants it to be beamed out to U.S audiences on Christmas night.
Speaking with Sky Sports, Lonergan says he has been in touch with Bob Arum and the fight is being considered for Australia, but it will depend on “what territories are going to be open.” Australia has not been hit as hard by the coronavirus in comparison to other countries and Lonergan is hoping big crowds will be allowed by December, if not before.
“If you want to come to one of the safest places in the world and give yourself a guaranteed crowd, well perhaps Australia is the place to be,” Lonergan said.
As a fight fan, would you be happy to watch a big heavyweight title fight on Christmas night? I sure would (although it would be Christmas Day UK time) and, as Lonergan says, that historic battle between Johnson and Burns took place on Boxing Day all those years ago. Why not, then? If Fury and Wilder are happy to do it, it could actually happen.
As for Jack Johnson, Lonergan is clearly a big fan:
“Jack Johnson has been so overlooked in the annals of history,” Lonergan said. “Boxing fans know who he is, but I don’t know that the wider sporting audience does. I think he’s one of the all-time great boxers and of course the first African-American to win the heavyweight championship of the world. He had to chase Burns all around the world to do it.”
Fury and Wilder won’t have to go chasing one another. Both men want this fight bad. A 50,000 stadium in Melbourne? A 45,000 stadium in Brisbane? Either way, this could be BIG. And historic.