LAS VEGAS – Jared Anderson attempted to put the rampant rumors to rest Thursday.
The emerging heavyweight prospect disputed widespread speculation that he knocked out Tyson Fury during a sparring session before Fury was supposed to fight Deontay Wilder a third time July 24 at T-Mobile Arena. Persistent gossip within the boxing industry suggested that Fury’s difficulty in sparring, primarily against Anderson, was his motivation for postponing his third fight with Wilder for 2½ months.
Fury refuted those rumors before Anderson addressed that topic Thursday. The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion has assured BoxingScene.com and other outlets that he indeed tested positive for COVID-19 early in July and thus was forced to postpone his first defense of the WBC belt he won from Wilder by seventh-round technical knockout in February 2020.
“Nah, we gonna cancel all that,” Anderson told a small group of reporters after a press conference Thursday at MGM Grand Garden Arena. “Never happened. None of that. I ain’t wanna speak out on it before, make anything, you know, worse than what it was. I know how fans get real reckless online, so I left it alone. But just to clear up anything, no, it was no knockout, no, it was no knockdown in camp. Love the work, love to perform with him. So, I’m thankful for that.”
The 21-year-old Anderson (9-0, 9 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, will encounter Russian veteran Vladimir Tereshkin (22-0-1, 12 KOs) on the Fury-Wilder undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. Anderson-Tereshkin will open the pay-per-view portion of this joint venture between ESPN and FOX Sports at 9 p.m. EDT ($79.99).
Fury stated Wednesday that an improved Anderson appeared to be a different fighter during their sparring sessions leading up to Fury-Wilder III than in their prior camp. England’s Fury also has anointed Anderson as the next big thing in the heavyweight division.
“It means everything, you know, to have that support of a former, well, current world champion, maybe soon to be former after he retires and everything,” Anderson stated during the aforementioned press conference. “But it just means a lot. You know, it just lets everybody know that I’m a name to be reckoned with and everybody gotta look out for me.”
Most handicappers have established the 6-feet-4, 250-pound Anderson as at least a 20-1 favorite to beat the undefeated Tereshkin. After promising an impressive performance, Anderson also predicted that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), who is a 3-1 favorite, will stop Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) within seven rounds again in the 12-round main event.
“I’m biased,” Anderson said. “So, I mean, y’all gotta understand that. I’m going with Tyson, of course. I think seven rounds, [inside of] seven rounds, he’ll get the stoppage.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.