A look back at a selection of heavyweight trilogies ahead of Fury-Wilder 3

Deontay Wilder will have a third meeting with Tyson Fury after a court ruled in favour of the American's right to exercise his rematch clause.

Heavyweight title history is scattered with memorable trilogies, and below, we examine some of the best three-fight series. 

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier (1971-1975)

By far the most famous boxing trilogy, Ali and Frazier first clashed in 1971 when Frazier clubbed the comebacking Ali to a 15th-round defeat - the contest was dubbed as 'The Fight of the Century'.

Ali took a bloody, non-title rematch three years later. It set up the brutal ‘Thrilla in Manila’, in which Ali triumphed again when Frazier’s corner refused to let his man go out for the 15th and final round.

Muhammad Ali's rivalry with Joe Frazier is one of the biggest and best in boxing history
Muhammad Ali's rivalry with Joe Frazier is one of the biggest and best in boxing history

Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe (1992-1995)

Bowe wrested the title from Holyfield in an epic 1992 battle, but surrendered it a year later via majority decision. It was a bout made famous by the arrival of ‘Fan Man’, who parachuted into the ring midway through the seventh round.

In their third meeting in November 1995, Bowe clambered off the floor to stop Holyfield in round eight and win back his titles.

Floyd Patterson vs Ingemar Johansson (1959-1961)

Sweden's Ingemar Johansson loses fight against Floyd Patterson in March 1961
Sweden's Ingemar Johansson loses fight against Floyd Patterson in March 1961

Johansson scored a major upset when he floored defending champion Patterson seven times in the third round to win the title in 1959. A year later, Patterson became the first man to win back the belt via fifth-round knockout.

In their decider nine months later, Patterson survived two first-round knockdowns to stop the Swede in round six.

Muhammad Ali vs Ken Norton (1973-1976)

Rebounding from his first loss to Frazier, Ali was undone in his first meeting with Ken Norton in 1973, which he lost by split decision and sustained a broken jaw.

Muhammad Ali suffered a shock defeat to Ken Norton, the second professional defeat of his career
Muhammad Ali suffered a shock defeat to Ken Norton, the second professional defeat of his career

Six months later, the split decision swung in Ali's favour, setting up the decider three years later, in which Ali, back as champion, won a controversial unanimous verdict.

READ MORE: The greatest American fighters to have won gold

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