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Tyson Fury tops list of highest paid fighters in the world

The LINEAL!!! champion is the king of the fighter paydays, too, over the last year.

Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II - MGM Grand Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes in the World list for 2020 came out recently, and it’s LINEAL!!! and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury who is the highest-paid fighter in all the world over the last year, from June 1, 2019 through June 1, 2020.

The 31-year-old Fury, the 11th-highest-paid athlete in the world overall, brought home $57 million total, $50 million from his fights and $7 million in endorsements. Fury fought three times over that period, against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin in 2019, and most importantly against Deontay Wilder on Feb. 22 of this year.

Wilder also made the list, and was the only American fighter to do so, coming in No. 20 overall and No. 4 for fighters. The 34-year-old from Alabama brought home $46.5 million total, with just $500,000 of that in endorsement money. (I say “just” as if it’s not still a lot of money, but relatively speaking, y’know.)

Wilder was just a bit behind another heavyweight, the United Kingdom’s Anthony Joshua, 30, who was No. 19 overall on the list at $47 million, $36 million from fights and $11 million in endorsements.

The only other boxer on the list was Canelo Alvarez, often billed as the highest-paid man in boxing because of his enormous 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN. But Canelo, 29, only fought once in the time period, so he’s at No. 30 overall, raking in $35 million for a lone fight with Sergey Kovalev in November, and another $2 million in endorsements. Per fight, Canelo legitimately still is the highest-paid boxer in the world, and by quite a bit. If you break it down to average per fight and eliminate the endorsements, you’ve got Canelo at $35 million, Wilder at $23 million, Joshua at $18 million, and Fury at just under $17 million per fight.

The No. 2 highest-paid fighter, and No. 16 athlete overall, was UFC’s Conor McGregor, who raked in $48 million total, $32 million for his one fight against Donald Cerrone on Jan. 18, and another $16 million in endorsements.

All the numbers on this year’s list are skewed by COVID-19, of course, and likely will be next year, too.

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