By: Kirk Jackson
The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) has a tall task ahead this weekend, facing the long-reigning WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) in their highly anticipated rematch.
Wilder, the hard punching knockout-artist is undefeated across 43 bouts, but Fury fancies himself the man fit for the job.
Fury demeaned Wilder as “one-dimensional” and “a one-trick pony” during a conference call last Thursday, in promotion for their heavyweight championship rematch February 22 in Las Vegas. According to the colossal Englishman, he doesn’t need to concern himself with much more than Wilder’s dangerous right hand when they square off again at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I learned that he can be hit, and he can be hurt quite regular,” Fury said. “That’s the biggest thing that I learned about Deontay Wilder, not that I didn’t already know. Before I fought him, obviously I didn’t know what he was like in a boxing ring. And after I fought him, I know what he’s like now and that’s it. There’s nothing to worry about. He’s got a big right hand and that’s it. He’s a one-dimensional fighter and I’m gonna prove that on the 22nd of February.”
Possessing confidence he has the ability to withstand Wilder’s vaunted power, has helped Fury during his training camp with newly acquired trainer Javan “Sugar Hill” Steward and should be an important factor if Fury is to have success Saturday night.
“There’s no stress for me going into the fight,” Fury said. “You know, I’ve been 12 rounds with him, out-boxed him quite comfortable, took his best shots, got up, fired back into it. The one who should be concerned is Deontay Wilder, because with him being a one-trick pony, he’s a knockout artist, but he had me down twice in two rounds, nine and 12, and he had over two minutes in each round to finish me and he couldn’t finish me.”
“He couldn’t finish me, so yeah, he’s the one who should be concerned. He’s landed the two best punches that any heavyweight in the world could ever land on somebody else, and ‘The Gypsy King’ rose like a phoenix from the ashes, back to me feet and hurt him in the end of the round. So yeah, it’s gonna be pretty difficult for Wilder, not me.”
Leading into this camp in preparation for Wilder, as well as during camp, “The Furious One” has preached the rematch will result in a different outcome.
Fury, has discussed in length how much more superior a fighter he is compared to Wilder, how important is to him to display his greatness and how he intends on stopping the undefeated American. Fury even boldly proclaimed making Wilder quit and stopping “The Bronze Bomber” in two rounds.
It’s one thing to talk about excitement, talk about all-out action, talk about the knockouts, but then there is also the reality of results. One of the major questions heading into this rematch, is if Fury can deliver on his bold proclamations of dominance and destruction.
Based on his history thus far, it’s not far-fetched to observe a high-level of skepticism among boxing critics and fans alike. However, Fury possesses the physical tools to match his words and most importantly for Fury and his followers, “The Gypsy King” has the mental strength to accomplish this goal.
Fury’s pursuit of a knockout victory in the rematch stems from distrust of official judges based on his first encounter with Wilder. Fair or unfair, the victor of their first encounter depends on the observer’s perspective; which has already been discussed to ad nauseam.
For Fury to meet his goal, he dropped head trainer Ben Davison and replaced him with Sugar Hill Steward. The very thought of Fury standing in front of the hardest punching human may be scary in itself. But there’s a cliché saying, nothing never comes easy and many great fighters from the past and present stood in front of the fistic fire and extinguished that flame.
To reference in more recent history, Andre Ward stood in with the hard-hitting Sergey Kovalev twice, Canelo Alvarez against Gennady Golovkin twice and Floyd Mayweather against Marcos Maidana twice.
“The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. I know that is not the strategy Ben would have taken but that is why Ben is not training me for this fight, because I don’t need that strategy,” Fury told BT Sport in an interview leading up to the rematch.”
“What I did last time was fantastic but it wasn’t good enough to get me the victory. It had to be changed. It is very risky walking on to a puncher, but you won’t knock him out by dancing around the ring for twelve rounds.”
Achieving the knockout, or victory by any means is more difficult than it seems, as you just can’t speak it into existence. The last high caliber opponent succumbing to knockout against Fury was Steve Cunningham; a natural cruiserweight moving up in weight and coming off a string of defeats.
For Fury to knockout Wilder would be making a bold statement. One thing proven throughout the history of the heavyweight division, is all it takes is one punch to end the fight.
“I have confidence in Tyson,” Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum theorized during a recent media conference call to discuss their Pay-Per-View headliner, which will be distributed in a joint effort between ESPN and Fox Sports.
“You know… there are guys who say they are going to knock out their opponent, and it’s like baseball players getting up to the plate trying to hit a home run.”
“Anyone who knows baseball, will say the guy who looks to make contact has a better chance of hitting a home run than the guy who is swinging from his heels. Tyson is a great boxer but he has the determination to knock out Wilder. It’s not that Fury will try to force it,” believes Arum.
“It’s not like the first fight when Wilder was in trouble a few times in that fight. He’s not gonna let him off the hook. He’s gonna go for the knockout and finish him off this time.”
For Fury to emerge victorious this weekend, whether scoring the knockout or earning the decision, he must utilize his size to his advantage. Peter Fury, the former trainer of heavyweight Tyson Fury, says his nephew should receive ‘a big advantage’ if Deontay Wilder is underweight for the upcoming rematch.
“If Wilder comes in at the same weight he did in his last fight, I think that’s a big advantage for Tyson,” Peter Fury told Sky Sports. “I think Wilder came in under weight for that fight.”
“If he could just keep out of trouble early, get in close, rough him up a bit. Take him out of his stride, rather than give him the leverage to put the power in. Take him into a bit of a dogfight and sap his energy, especially in the second half of the fight.”
“He’s (Fury) got to use his size, he’s got to use his weight, and especially if Wilder is coming in roughly the same weight he was. You’re looking at two, two and a half stone advantage there. He needs to use that and that’s where he went wrong in his last fight for me. He (Fury) was doing the same thing round after round, but after the sixth round he should have turned his advantages to that. Whether it’s ugly or whatever it is, I think he should just sap the energy out of Wilder.”
This point will be of emphasis; Fury must use his SIZE.
Another important factor for Fury, is he must realize there isn’t one style or approach that can be utilized to defeat Wilder. He must display diversity with his attack and defensively as well.
Fury must switch it up; fighting up close early, attempting to fight in the trenches, smother Wilder’s punches, make him exert energy. At times, be fleet of foot, provide angles, be shifty and be out of harm’s way. He will have to constantly make Wilder think, make him constantly reset.
Fury must find out if Wilder can take what he dishes out. He has been buzzed before against Luis Ortiz and even against Fury during their first encounter. The mentality of making the opponent miss and making the opponent pay.
Question, can Fury sit in the pocket and put weight behind his punches? Under duress, will his accuracy remain intact, as the placement of punches is crucial for this fight?
One thing we’ve rarely witnessed from an opponent of Wilder is a high work rate. Due to fears of catching a knockout counter-punch, opponent rarely throw more punches than Wilder in a head-to-head match-up.
Fury may be in the driver’s seat, if he can overwhelm Wilder with a fury of punches. Another important note, both fighters, as famed trainer/analyst Teddy Atlas would suggest, is investing to the body will reap great benefits. For Fury, what better way to sap the harder puncher’s power then by going to the body, in addition to using his body to take away Wilder’s legs and strength?
“I have to knock this guy out, simple as that,” said Fury. “Anyone who thinks Wilder can’t be knocked down is an idiot. I will prove how powerful I am. I am going to make him quit.”