Boxing: Wilder-Fury III NZ's fight to lose, says promoter Dean Lonergan

Eden Park could play host to one of the most high-profile boxing fights in the world this year if American promoter Bob Arum gets his way.

Arum's keen to stage the third installment of a heavyweight trilogy between WBC champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and the removal of restrictions on gatherings in New Zealand has made the idea a real possibility. 

Having knocked out COVID-19, New Zealand's in a strong position to host it.

The concept is the brainchild of Brisbane-based Kiwi promoter Dean Lonergan, who was keen to hold the fight in Australia.

"It's only yesterday the borders opened up," Lonergan tells Newshub. "I thought if we can do this in Australia, why couldn't we do this in New Zealand?"

And the man who'll decide the venue - powerful American promoter Bob Arum - tells Newshub the chance to hold the fight in a sold out stadium in the midst of a global pandemic is a game-changer.  

"If that's the case, and we get some financial support we would be prepared - I think - to come over to New Zealand and do that fight," Arum says. "It is certainly a big possibility."

It's hoped the fight can be held in front of 60,000 fans at Eden Park and beamed to more than 150 countries around the world.

"We're super keen to look at the concept," Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner says. 

"Given what we've seen with COVID-19, this is the injection that's needed back into the economy."

"It'd be a great way to say to the world we've conquered this thing and here's what we can do," Lonergan adds.

With $400 million set aside for tourism, the fight presents an opportunity to sell New Zealand to the world in the wake of the pandemic.

Government assistance will be sought and the charm offensive has already begun.

"Your Prime Minister looks like she's a very astute person doing a great job," Arum assesses. 

"Unfortunately, the people in my country elected a conman dunce."

So it could be goodbye, America and hello, New Zealand for Wilder Fury III - but only if the Government moves fast.

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