Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury exchange punches during their last bout in December. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP

LONDON – 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 December 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 match-up.

“(Wilder vs Fury) is officially not happening next,” the WBC said on their 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 their platforms in the United States.

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