Heavyweight Boxing – Out of the Crossroads and Into the Light
By: Aziel Karthak
A thundering right and a follow up left from the most potent hands in boxing dropped Tyson Fury in the 12th round of the WBC heavyweight title fight in December. The die seemed cast. But the hulking Englishman rose up from the canvas, before the fat lady could belt out the first note and just after Referee Jack Reiss had counted “nine.” In a way, his astonishing recovery mirrored the revival of heavyweight boxing in recent times.
The sport overall is healthier than people give it credit. The middleweights have Canelo and Golovkin. Below them in a range of weight divisions are refulgent talents such as Terrence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Mikey Garcia and the incredible Vasily Lomachenko. Old hands like Pacquiao are still around. Yet, it is the heavyweights, or rather DeontayWilder’s classic with Fury that was the apex of 2018.
Sometimes, we make too much of too little. Yet, it’s understandable in this case. For so long, the heavyweight division was the most important in boxing, though fans of Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvin Hagler may take umbrage. To be heavyweight champion was to be the most famous sportsman on the planet.
So, what happened in the 21st century that made the division so forgettable? Was it lack of skill? Was it lack of personality? Was it both? The Klitschko brothers were doubtless amazing, albeit robotic fighters, even if the competition around them left a lot to be desired. Alas, they did not have the fighting style or the controversy to keep the division at par with what the likes of Pacquiao and Mayweather were doing do in the lighter weights. Yet, their most damning issue was the comparison against what came before in the division.
The 1970s had Ali, Frazier and Foreman as champions and a rung below them were accomplished fighters such as Norton, Quarry and Bonevena who were capable of holding their own against anyone. Between them Ali, Frazier and Foreman fought each other a combined six times, some of them wars that are indelible marks on the game’s history. Norton himself fought Ali to three close fights, winning one in the process.
The closest decade to the 1970s in terms of genuinely skilled heavyweights at or close to their prime was the 1990s. There was Holyfield, Bowe and Lewis, with Tyson missing for a large part of the first half of the decade. The one issue with this lot was that, apart from Holyfield who fought the other three a combined seven times, the rest did not meet each other in their primes. By the time Lewis knocked out Tyson in 2002, the latter was a mere shadow of the wrecking ball that had terrorized admittedly average competition in the 1980s. (You can argue Tyson was never the same after he fired Kevin Rooney late in the decade.)
The first 15 years of the new millennium had very few memorable heavyweight fights. Lewis-Tyson was 10 years too late and Lewis–Vitali Klitschko was a case of what could have been. Then suddenly out of the blue like an Ali short right, we were blessed with the surprisingly good Joshua–Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 that provided gasoline to the flickering embers of heavyweight boxing.
The current generation has it in them to make the next few years a special time in what is historically the blue-riband division of the sweet science. For one, as Fury and Wilder showed, they are willing to fight each other. Is Joshua willing to dance with them like he did with Wladimir? Chances are, he is, but boxing promoters have always sought to protect their golden geese from the time of Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey.
Joshua remains the most marketable – a good-looking and seemingly well-mannered champion, who has three of the four belts and is the youngest of the triumvirate. The matchmaking though sometimes embarrassing is understandable in this day and age. How wonderful would it be though, if his handlers just bit the bullet and put him in against any of the other two?
What’s amazing to note is that the two Englishmen and the American have never lost in the combined 91 times they’ve stepped into the ring. Also, that the division’s health is peachy is reflected by the competition immediately below them. The likes of Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz are hardly cans and have the skills and the styles to give anyone fits.
Said the immortal Rocky Marciano after besting Jersey Joe Walcott to win the heavyweight crown in 1952, “What could be better than walking down any street in any city and knowing you’re the heavyweight champion of the world?”
The answer may still be “nothing” as long as today’s promoters stay out of the way and let these warriors at each other. We shall wait and hope.
WBC Orders Wilder-Fury Rematch
By: Sean Crose
As expected, the World Boxing Council is ordering a rematch between it’s heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury, the man he fought to a draw last December in what is already being considered a classic bout. Per the WBC:
“Consistent with the WBC Board of governors voting regarding the direct rematch between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, the WBC is hereby notifying both camps that the free negotiation period is opened and if there is no agreement between the parties a purse bid will be conducted by the WBC on Tuesday February 5th .
The WBC has modified the 70-30 split and has confirmed a 60-40 split in favor of the champion Wilder considering the market value of Fury.”
The announcement, which arrived on Thursday, came as little surprise to the fight world. In fact, talks between the two camps are already reported to have begun. The first battle between the two undefeated giants was truly a contest of skill and will, as the slippery Fury was able to avoid the hard hitting Wilder for large portions of the fight – until being dropped twice. The second knockdown, which occurred in the last round, say Fury flat on his back, seemingly done. Somehow, however, the enormous Englishman was able to get back on his feet and finish the round strongly.
The fight, of course, ended up being a draw, with many – though certainly not all – feeling that Fury had done enough to win. The controversy, coupled with the wild knockdown and recovery of Fury after over half an hour of the two fighters essentially playing cat and mouse, almost begged for a rematch. To make things even more enticing, the two larger than life heavyweights, who stand between six and a half and seven feet tall, have personalities to match their statures.
Lost in all of this is heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua, who, like Fury, is an undefeated Englishman. A staggeringly huge draw in his native country, Joshua has yet to fight in America, where the second Wilder-Fury fight, if it comes to fruition, may likely take place. Although Joshua holds most of the major titles in the division, Wilder’s WBC belt is arguably the most well regarded and well known. On top of that, Fury has a claim to the lineal championship due to the fact that he bested long reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitshcko in 2015, making Fury “the man who beat the man.” In other words, there’s no undisputed ruler of the heavyweights at the moment, which makes the once bland weight category more intriguing and interesting than it has been in perhaps a generation.
Boxing’s Hard Problem: Observations from the Wilder Fury Fight
By: Rahat Haque
Any new fan who becomes interested in boxing learns quickly that the sport is immensely subjective in nature, and that judges take a lot of heat regularly for controversial decisions. It makes sense then, to score every fight, as you would want a basis of comparison in case there was public outrage over a decision. Learning the art of scoring and then practicing it via judging fights gives the viewer a certain weight of expert authority compared to the fan who does not partake in judging. However, it does not address the root cause of controversial decisions, which arise because of varied opinions between judges and fans alike. It does not address the issues of subjectivity, which permeates the sport. As long as there is boxing, there will be subjectivity.
One should try to be a human compubox, keeping a mental tab of punch count. But no one ever gives you straight answer on how to assign weightage to the quality of punches. Should a light jab be worth ¼ of a more thudding power shot such as a hook or cross? Should a cleanly landed punch be worth twice than that of a punch landed half landed and half absorbed the glove? We do not have such conversations in boxing, that is, the quantifying of something that is supposedly subjective. But without a quantitative framework, we cannot continue to act as if there is a right or wrong score. This is a real problem of boxing which never is discussed, as it exposes the sweet science’s lack of scientific rigor when it comes to assessing performance. When scoring fights, one should also consider the three other main factors in scoring, namely: aggression, ring generalship and defense. But again, it is absolutely shocking how certain media personalities will simply say that judges favor one over another, when in reality, they are supposed to take all three into account! One can even hear Max Kellerman say, that the way to score a round is to assess “who would you rather be in that round”. It is as subjective a criterion as there could be! It is madness.
Let us turn our attention to the fight that took place on Dec 1st. Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury. I scored it 114-112 for Wilder. Does that shock you? Well, if you did not score the fight, and 99% of the viewers do not profess to have any method which they use to score, then you must forfeit your right to be shocked. In a round by round sport, it is critical that one assesses a winner for every round. If one do not participate in this process, then they check in their right to be shocked at another scorecard at the door. If one did score the fight, then the next logical question arises: what was the criteria of scoring? To which, there is no universal agreement.
I gave rounds 1, 2, 4,9,11 and 12 to Wilder. Rounds 9 and 12 of course were 10-8 rounds because of the knockdowns. Hence, my score was 114-112 to The Bronze Bomber Deontay Wilder. I thought I would find some commonality with my scoresheet and Alejandro Rochin’s scoresheet, the only judge who had it for Wilder. While he gave all first four rounds to Wilder, to my surprise, he gave rounds 8 and 9 to Wilder as well! This is not the first such case either where a judge who scored it the same as me had different rounds for different fighters. This demonstrates the subjectivity that exists even amongst judges who have the same result.
As long as we have the three judge panel, we will continue to have decisions that people will disagree with. Whether it is a classified a robbery or not depends the percentage of people who did not agree with the decision. What this also means is that there are “robberies” every weekend in the perspective of those who are in the less popular cohort of a decision. The solution to all this, if there needs to be one, is another matter. Perhaps I will write a piece in the future about how to reduce the subjectivity in scores in boxing, thus ensuring a more accepted and trusted method agreed upon by all. However, let us assume for a minute that nothing is going to change. What is the best scenario in such a case? If things continue the way they are now, one hopes that every fan embraces the subjectivity of the score and takes it upon themselves to score the fight. Is that what is happening now? No. Does the media play a role in swaying the fans one way or another? Yes, most vehemently!
The boxing media despite being in the same ecosystem as everyone other stakeholder of the sport, seem to think that they are beyond subjectivity. We can argue about our scorecards, if you also happened to score the fight. Like with the Wilder-Fury fight, we can go back and forth as to why scored a certain round for a certain fighter. But to say that one party is somehow committing a grave sin if they do not agree with another is unacceptable! Yet, that is precisely what the Showtime commentators did for the whole fight. They all seemed to be in unison over Fury’s success, which is all right. But to then impose their own subjectivity to the whole world as the real McCoy was not right. It surely swayed many fans who might have been otherwise on the fence. Many of those fans then surely parroted what they heard on their TV screens, thus enhancing the drumbeat of the robbery narrative. The Wilder Fury fight was only one example of course. This will continue to happen unless we all first address the hard problem of boxing, the subjectivity of scoring.
© Roey Haque
Better Chance of Joshua Fighting Fury than Wilder According to Hearn
By: Michael Kane
According to Matchroom supremo, Eddie Hearn, there is more chance of Anthony Joshua fighting Tyson Fury at Wembley in April than a fight against WBC champ Deontay Wilder.
It would seem tentative negotiations are taking place between all the interested parties, with a match up between any two of the three likely to be welcomed by fans.
As it stands the most likely fight to take place is a rematch between Wilder and Fury, with Las Vegas or New York appearing to be the favoured locations, disappointing the UK fans who had hoped for the rematch in one of the UK’s football stadiums.
Hearn however has said both Wilder and Fury have been offered the fight with Joshua.
“Well, to say Deontay Wilder’s camp has gone quiet, that’s saying it lightly,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “Probably up to six unanswered emails now.
“In fact, I sent one a couple of days ago, saying I just want to check these haven’t gone into your Spam items.
“It is frustrating because you walk out there on the street ‘When’s he going to fight Deontay Wilder?’ It’s like, whenever they want it, but sometimes the public want to believe a fighter on Instagram all day.
“If they wanted the fight, they would talk to me. They’re not even talking to us. We’ve made offers, we’ve made percentage splits. Everything we can do, to try and make that fight.
“I think right now, there’s more chance of fighting Tyson Fury. There’s a man that knows he can have this fight, if he wants it. I’ve spoken to him. He knows if he wants to fight Joshua, it can happen April 13.”
Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller are two other names that have been mentioned to face Joshua, it appears Whyte wasn’t happy with the deal offered. There has also been rumours that Anthony Joshua may not appear at Wembley in April but instead make a debut in America, most likely against Miller.
“There’s Dillian Whyte, there’s Jarrell Miller, but Joshua is back from holiday, he’s started training now, he wants to know,” said Hearn. “We’ve probably got 10 days to two weeks before we officially have to pull the trigger.
“All those guys that I’ve mentioned, particularly Wilder, Fury and Whyte – that fight is there for them.
“What I can tell you is, Dillian, I was with him this morning. He wants a great deal to fight Joshua. I don’t blame him for that. He’s been through a hard road to get where he is to No 1.
“He can wait and become mandatory at some point, but if Dillian Whyte wants to fight for the world heavyweight title on April 13, there is the opportunity for him to do so, right now.
“It’s almost like a race against time, particularly for those three, Wilder, Fury and Whyte. They’ve all had offers, they could all sign now today, and get the fight. But do they want the fight? I believe the offers, some have been made, some are about to be improved, it’s put up or shut up time.
“You want to win these four title belts, you believe you can beat Anthony Joshua, then let’s go, but everyone wants to negotiate, and rightly so.”
Will We See Anthony Joshua Take on Tyson Fury?
By: Michael Kane
Will we see Anthony Joshua take on Tyson Fury this year? Both fighters are with different promoters and different UK PPV channels so trying to put the fight together could prove problematic.
Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren has suggested that both Sky and BT Sport could show the fight as a PPV.
“In the UK. You could go to Cardiff, they have a roof on the stadium. That should be summer, outdoors at a football stadium and would sell it out 10 times over,” Warren told the BBC recently.
“It would grip the country – one of those events that transcends the back pages. Everybody would be talking about it.
“It will be a pay-per-view event because the fighters will want to maximise their income, you can understand that. It’s very easy (to make) this fight (if it’s 50-50).
“When I say 50/50, let Sky and BT Sport Box Office both have it. Take all the obstacles away like they do in the States. The fans want the fight.
“If both TV channels are showing it, that means the boxers’ incomes are going to be more. It’s a no-brainer.”
However an other obstacle is the rivalry between Warren and Joshua’s promoters, father and son team, Barry and Eddie Hearn who run Matchroom Boxing.
Warren continues, “Anthony Joshua is a business. He makes money. It doesn’t matter who he fights, they can fill up Wembley.
“They (Matchroom Boxing) have a seven year business plan, which is filling up Wembley twice a year and it’s a cash cow. I get that! Barry (Hearn) is an accountant by trade. That’s not what the fans want!”
There is no doubt that UK fans would love an all British clash between the two heavyweights however as always politics may stop the fight from ever happening.
With an April date already booked by Matchroom Boxing for Wembley, it’s unlikely we will see Joshua take on either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. In fact we might not even see Joshua appearing at Wembley, with reports now suggesting a fight with Jarrell Miller will take place Stateside to introduce Joshua to the U.S market.
This could leave a Wilder – Fury 2 fight to take place and once again overshadow Anthony Joshua who has been the beacon for British and Heavyweight boxing in recent years.
Hearn Claims Fury-Wilder Not Great
By: Michael Kane
Matchroom Promotions head Eddie Hearn has had his say on the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight.
Hearn, who represents WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua claims the fight wasn’t great.
Photo Credit: Eddie Hearn Twitter Account
Hearn told IFL TV, “I’ll say something a little bit controversial, because it wouldn’t be an interview without it. It weren’t a great fight.
“If you watch it back, some rounds – look at the punch stats – there were very, very few punches thrown.”
Hearn did admit it was dramatic.
“But what it was, was dramatic. With the knock down in the ninth, which was a weird one, and the moment in the 12th was unbelievable.”
Several former champions, including Lennox Lewis and Paulie Malignaggi have said the result should have been scored for Fury and the general feeling in the UK is that Fury was robbed. Not so says Hearn.
“I had Fury winning by two rounds, so is a draw a robbery? No, not really. But Fury won the fight. But if you’re scoring it two rounds to someone. One round the other way and it’s a draw. But in my opinion Fury won the fight.”
Hearn had been vocal in the run up debating whether the Fury v Wilder fight would actually take place and speculating whether it would sell out the arena or sell pay-per-view. He has conceded Fury proved him wrong, at least.
“I’m holding my hands up, Fury proved me wrong. Again.
“I didn’t think he’d beat Klitschko, he did, I didn’t think he’d beat Wilder, he should’ve.
“So I give him the respect, and getting up in the 12th was great.”
Tyson Fury to Donate Purse to Homeless and Poor
By: Michael Kane
Tyson Fury has been in some big fights over the years, none more so than his fight with mental health issues including depression and suicidal thoughts.
His mental health battles have made him determined to help other people who suffer from mental health issues and also to help the homeless. He has told the Irish Mirror that he will be donating his purse from Saturday’s bout against Deontay Wilder, a reported £8 million.
Fury may not have got the result he wanted in Saturday after his fight was scored a draw with Wilder however it seems he has a bigger picture of what he wants to do with his life and money.
“I’m going to give it to the poor and I’m going to build homes for the homeless,” Fury said. “I don’t really have much use for it, I’m not interested in becoming a millionaire or a billionaire. I’m a boxer not a businessman and I’ll probably go down the same route as every other boxer — skint at the end of it all. You can’t take it with you so I might as well do something with it and help out people who can’t help themselves.”
He continued, “When I go home I’m going to build some homes for the homeless and set up some funds for drug addicts and alcoholics.
“I was always going to do it but being here (in California) gives me that extra push to go and do it even more.
“It has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and I’m leaving as a better person.
“There are a lot of homeless people on the streets here, more than I’ve ever seen ever in my life. I’m staying in downtown LA but if you go five minutes down the road there’s like – I don’t know- thousands of homeless people.
“I’m just an outsider with an opinion buy it’s a situation that is happening all over the world, especially in the UK as well.”
Fury also wants his kids to have to earn their money the same way he had to graft for his.
“I believe all kids should make their own money in life because if they don’t, they won’t appreciate it,” Fury said.
“It’s easy to spend someone else’s money and the money I’ve earned is practically blood money. My kids have to make their own living and make their own way in life; they won’t be living off my name or reputation because that’s too easy a route,” he continued. “You see many of these rich people’s kids doing nothing because they had it too easy. I never had it easy, I had to work for whatever I got. I was working from very young, everything I wanted in life I had to work for.”
Winners and Losers From a Wild and Furious Weekend
By: Kirk Jackson
A legendary late, great trainer informed the public six years ago about the greatness awaiting the heavyweight division.
Before his untimely passing in 2012, Emanuel Steward spoke highly of two rising heavyweights geared to take over the division once Wladimir Klitsckho’s reign ended.
“There’s one kid in America no one speaks of and that’s Deontay Wilder. He was on the Olympic Team (United States) he lost but he’s a big kid,” said Steward.
“I’ve had the fortune of; he has trained with me before, he’s a big kid too, bigger than Wladimir (Klitschko) and he’s got good speed and power and best talent… and best talent is going to be Tyson (Fury) and Deontay Wilder.”
This past weekend exhibited the rare instance in which the main event matched or arguably exceeded the pre-fight hype building over the course of several months.
The WBC heavyweight champion Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) battled the Lineal heavyweight champion Fury 27-0-1(17 KO’s) over the course of 12 exhilarating rounds.
Although the bout ended in a draw, there were winners and losers for this event. We’ll start with the losers.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 2, 2018
It’s hard to be considered a loser when you’re the unified champion of the division, holding three of the coveted world titles and undefeated. But for Joshua, who wasn’t in attendance due to business obligations, appears to be an afterthought amidst the excitement and controversy stemming from the past weekend’s event.
The perception amongst many boxing circles suggests Joshua or his team is avoided possible unification with Wilder for quite some time now. These very same circles of people may possibly add Fury to the list for Joshua.
Fury spoke his piece on the potential of facing Joshua in the near future post-fight with Wilder.
“That’s me and Joshua, everybody wants it and the only people who don’t seem to be his team,” said Fury. “We are the two best heavyweights in the world right now. I am No. 1 and he (Wilder) is No 2. We had the balls to put it all on the line.”
Now for the winners. The first obvious choice is the Gypsy King.
Battling depression, ballooning up to 400 lbs., over two year lay-off, battling substance abuse, Fury’s struggles are well recognized at this point.
“I think it’s all been well documented. But it didn’t get me. I found a way. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, more determined. My story has got more pain in it now. I believe that rain has passed and the sun is shining brightly,” said Fury about his struggles and comeback.
For anybody who’s ever been knocked down in life, that was for you. You can get up too! #andstill lineal heavyweight champion of the world
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) December 3, 2018
Realistically, Fury entered this situation as a win-win opportunity. Some of us within the boxing community believed in Fury’s boxing ability and mental capacity to come back and defy the odds – in which he did successfully.
If he were to lose, the narrative casted was he supposed to be destroyed by the knock-out artist Wilder and there would be no shame in losing.
Contrary to Showtime commentary, Skysports commentary and other observers, Wilder is the winner because he walks away with his title.
“I think, with the two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said after the bout.“We poured our hearts out tonight. We both were warriors. We both went hand to hand. But, with those two drops, I feel like I won the fight. I don’t think he had control of the fight. I wasn’t hurt. I came out slow. I rushed my punches.”
We must remember, rounds are scored subjectively and judges do not have access to punch stats. While analyzing the punch stats, cumulatively and round-by-round, Fury has the edge regarding accuracy and efficiency, but the statistics are closer than you would think and Wilder was the aggressor.
Kevin Iole from YahooSports.com, scoring the fight 113-113, provided excellent analysis of the fight:
“I thought Fury was clearly the better boxer, but he wasn’t active enough. And while I vehemently disagree that Wilder won the first four rounds, I also disagree with the contention I’ve heard that Fury dominated those rounds. There wasn’t a lot to pick from in a lot of rounds.”
Either way, there’s a compelling case for a rematch.
Ultimately, the fans won Saturday night as well. No matter the result of the fight, it was highly entertaining.
The walk-out introductions for each fighter was captivating, with Fury walking out to a mixture of three songs and capturing the support and adoration of the United Kingdom contingent travelling to U.S. soil to support their fighter.
The pitch-black setting for Wilder, walking out to large bombastic sounds and accompanied by budding Hip-hop star Jay Rock, performing his popular song “Win.” The fitted golden mask/crown was a nice touch as well.
Each fighter throughout the course of the event whether it was the walkout entrance, post-fight interviews and most important through-out the course of the fight exhibited their showmanship as fighters and displayed their contrasting, unique personalities.
How often do we get to see large, stylistically awkward, elite level fighters? They’re mirror images of each other regarding uniqueness, but obviously their styles and stories are different.
But when blended together the equation is pure entertainment. The ultimate winner was the sport of boxing.
Fury vs. Wilder: A Tale of Skill vs. Power
By: Daniel Smith
Fury’s proficient boxing skills should’ve earned the victory, while Wilder’s power was his saving grace that grabbed the draw.
Last night’s Fury vs. Wilder fight was like a clash from the classic exhilarating days of heavyweight boxing. The thunderous blood-pumping adrenaline that whammed and thrummed throughout the rip-roaring crowd. The sheer electricity and enthralment that speared through the arena like lightning bolts as the two heavyweight giants danced, jabbed and salted one-another with steely shots for twelve wonderful rounds of professional boxing.
From the announcement back in August, throughout the build-up to the fight itself; this match had everything all classic bouts should possess. The story of a lineal champion struggling with issues relating to mental health and a return to the sport that defied the odds.
Return for title contention:
Fury was the underdog in this fight, with nearly three years on the couch and a 250lb ballooning. Not many envisioned he could actually present as a worthy opponent and possibly beat the wrecking-ball knockout merchant that is, WBC heavyweight champion, Wilder.
Boxer vs. Brawler:
Pugilsitc intelligence vs. raw, brutal strength – what or who prevails? A clear example of the sweet science against power and barbaric scrapping.
The lineal heavyweight champion proved he’s still the slick and hybrid-style boxer he always was, as he schooled the champ for ten of the twelve rounds, despite opinions that Wilder would blast him out of the square jungle by round 6.
After having his face speared with solid jabs, Wilder puts Fury on the canvass with a beefy right in round 9 and briefly unconscious in 12 with a monsterous right and brass-knuckled left.
Off the canvass to battle some more:
Fury, clearly ahead on points until a chilling five second knockout in 12, somehow manages to hurl himself to his feet before dishing out some more thudding jabs and a further schooling to Deontay Wilder.
The final bell clangs and a split decision is the call without too much complaining from both fighting men. A respectful embrace closes the bout as the boxing world salivates with the juicy prospect of yet another thrilling fight between Tyson ‘the gypsy king’ Fury and Deontay ‘the bronze bomber wilder’.
Here’s to the REMATCH in 2019.
Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder: Precise or Preposterous Result?
By: Waqas Ali
On Saturday night, Tyson Fury produced one of the best comebacks in a world title bout as a British heavyweight in this century.
After suffering personal setbacks with depression and mental illness, Fury said after the bout in a heart-felt interview with BT Sport that his comeback was in the name of those who suffered from personal trauma like his.
“It’s an iconic comeback isn’t it?,” Fury said.
“After two-and-a-half years out the ring, ten stone ballooned, mental health problems.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
“I just showed the world tonight, and everyone suffering with mental health problems, you can come back and it can be done.
“Everybody out there suffering from the same problems, I did it for you. If I can comeback from what I’ve been through then you can do it too.”
Fury coming in as the challenger was on steady ground with Wilder, who was defending his WBC heavyweight title for the eighth time.
Wilder was coming in throwing jabs to the body of Fury but did very little effect. Fury kept moving his head side to side avoiding the big right hand of Wilder.
Fury also known as the Gypsy King was using his jab really well against the 6 foot 7 Wilder and was certainly catching the eyes of many spectators.
Despite the first sign of Wilder making Fury suffer from a bloody nose in round four, Fury was on the lead with his crisp and flurry combinations, jabbing to the body and taunting Wilder from time to time.
After the fifth round ended, Floyd Mayweather was interviewed by Showtime and said that he had Fury winning and that Wilder had to up his game.
He said: “Wilder is dependent on just one shot – he’s looking for one big shot – and as a fighter, you have to use other weapons.
“Fury has the combinations, and a very, very fast jab and is taking his time so it’s looks like, if Wilder doesn’t do anything else, Fury’s going to win if it goes the distance.”
Fury in round six around the 1:50-1:46 mark, landed a bursting amount of combinations that set Wilder back on his tracks.
They were sweet on sight to see but sour for Wilder to taste.
In round ten, Wilder threw 31 and landed only one, whereas Fury threw 38 and landed ten.
The only two major standouts for Wilder in the second half of the fight was the two knockdowns in round nine and twelve.
The 12th in particular stood out the most when Fury went down from a 1-2 combination and looked to be out cold. Wilder was celebrating but thanks to referee Jack Reiss he initiated the count and by God’s grace, Fury got up.
Despite the knockdowns, it clearly looked like that Fury had won.
But the outcome of this bout went as a draw, with California’s Alejandro Rochin, scored the bout for Wilder 115-111. The lone British judge, Phil Edwards, scored the action even 113-113 and Canada’s Robert Tapper scored their fight for Fury 114-112.
Just like the reminiscent of the first bout between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield back in March 1999, in which Lewis out-fought and out-punched his opponent all the way, he too got a draw at the end of it.
Speaking as a pundit for BT Sport, he said: “They need to get some good judges, these judges were terrible.
“It happened to me and I knew it was going to happen to him. Everybody could see who won. Boxing definitely won and Tyson Fury won the fight to me.
“But that’s why you’ve got to go in and try and knock the other person out, especially if you’re not on home soil. You’ve got to make your fists be the judges.”
Fury with landing 13 more overall punches than Wilder (84-of-327 to 71-of-430). According to those statistics, Fury connected on more power shots (38-of-104 to 31-of-182) and more jabs (46-of-223 to 40-of-248).
Wilder landed 17% of his power shots tonight after landing 54% in his previous 8 fights
According to a poll initiated by Boxing on BT Sport, out of over 25,000 voters 85% of them thought that Fury won.
Nine percent had Wilder winning and six percent had it a draw.
Forget the judges, who do you think won? #WilderFury
— Boxing on BT Sport (@BTSportBoxing) December 2, 2018
“How after a fight like this can there not be a rematch? It’s a draw and unfinished business. They’re both still undefeated. He won that fight tonight, everybody knows it. We’ll do our best to get it back on again.
After the bout, Frank Warren stated that a rematch should happen but only in Britain for a second meeting: “In Britain that’s an 80,000 job, there’s no doubt about that. Everybody’s going to come to see that in the UK. Vegas will be drooling over this. When did you last see a great heavyweight fight in the USA? When was the last time?
“Tyson and Deontay have livened this division up.”
This bout resurrected the heavyweight division nationally and globally and these two warriors these two fighters deserve all the praise in the world particularly Fury. Going into his opponent hometown and produces a cynical and clinical performance deserves a huge standing ovation.
The decision of the bout is preposterous.
Wilder-Fury And The Continued Heavyweight Resurgence
By Jake Donovan
Even without a winner being produced in the memorable heavyweight title fight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, or going 12 more months without Wilder and Anthony Joshua colliding in the ring, 2018 will still go down as a year that saw restoration in
the sport’s most storied division.
That’s a very good thing for boxing.
It wasn’t a year where Wilder and Joshua challenged each other—at least where it matters—but where both faced serious challenges and manage to persevere in the face of adversity.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Some 17 months after recovering from the lone knockdown of his career to knock out former World champion Wladimir Klitschko in their 2017 Fight of the Year, Joshua found himself in a tough assignment versus Alexander Povetkin this past September at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The official scores had Joshua ahead through six rounds, but even many among the partisan crowd of 80,00 in attendance along with those watching live via Sky Sports or DAZN saw the unbeaten, unified champ having a difficult time keeping the former titlist at bay while fighting through the sight of his own blood. It changed in a hurry, thanks to a pair of knockdowns in round seven putting away Povetkin for good.
It was a far more memorable night at the office than was his unification clash versus New Zealand’s Joseph Parker earlier in the year. The fight itself turned out to be a disappointment, especially when playing to the backdrop of a unification bout between unbeaten titlists coming in front of 78,000 in attendance.
The threat of a war never quite broke out, as Joshua was content to box his way to victory in going the distance for the first time in his pro career. The feat came four weeks after Wilder would stare down adversity for the first of two times in 2018, rallying from early struggles versus Luis Ortiz to put away the previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw in the 10th round of a terrific heavyweight battle worthy of Fight of the Year consideration.
The feat was far more definitive—and considerably less controversial—than his relying upon a pair of knockdowns and suspect scoring to escape with a 12-round draw in Saturday’s instant classic versus Fury at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Most had Fury winning, but the unbeaten 6’9” Brit was also forced to rise from adversity—literally, as he twice peeled himself off the canvas following hard knockdowns in delivering arguably the best performance of his wild career.
That Fury survived the 12th and final round simply should’ve been enough to give him the win and Wilder’s alphabet title along with it. Only one judge saw it that way, with Robert Tapper scoring the contest 114-112 for the former unified heavyweight champion.
Mexico’s Alejandro Rochin lived down to every negative stereotype heaped upon the sport, disgracefully turning in a 115-111 card in favor of Wilder, including his inexplicably scoring the first four rounds for the defending titles. England’s Phil Edwards ruled the bout 113-112 to produce a stalemate—and the possibility of a rematch during the first half of 2019.
Of the four aforementioned bouts, only Joshua-Povetkin didn’t feature unbeaten heavyweights on both sides of the marquee. It’s not at all a bad exception, considering that Povetkin had only lost once in his pro career prior to his September showdown versus Joshua—that defeat coming five years prior in an Oct. ’13 points loss to Klitschko.
It’s always a letdown when we can’t get a fight between the two best boxers in the division particularly when they are both unbeaten and in their respective primes. But at least we were given the next best thing throughout 2018—a steady stream of heavyweight fights worth caring about and not even limited to the very top level.
On the heels of his first pro defeat, Parker was eager to remain in the mix and claw his way back toward the too of the divisional heap. In doing so, he agreed to yet another away game in England, his third straight. He’d only go 1-2 on his road trip, having outpointed Hughie Fury in 2017 prior to his loss to Joshua, only to suffer a second straight loss in falling short versus top contender Dillian Whyte this past July.
The win was enough to keep Whyte in the title hunt, as the UK-based heavyweight is the frontrunner to land a coveted showdown versus Joshua next April. Such a bout would give Whyte a shot at avenging the lone loss of his career, having suffered a 7th round knockout in Dec. ’15, Joshua’s final fight as a contender before blasting out Charles Martin in two rounds for his first title win four months later.
Even with the lure of a lucrative rematch, Whyte decided there was plenty of room to make at least one more statement. Rapidly approaching is a December 22 rematch with Dereck Chisora, whom he barely edged in their 12-round thriller in Dec. ’16.
If the sequel is even half as good as the original, then the clash will serve as a fitting close to what was a fantastic year for the heavyweight division. Even better, the final month of the year will figure to set the stage for two more big bouts right out the gate in 2019 in Joshua-Whyte II and Wilder-Fury II.
Given Joshua’s massive drawing power in the United Kingdom and the instant buzz that came with Saturday’s thriller between Wilder and Fury in Los Angeles, the upcoming calendar year will boast two true super fights in what has once again become the sport’s glamour division. That’s what happens when the best in the world consistently square off, even if it stops short of a promised pairing between the very best.
Showtime PPV Round by Round Results: Fury and Wilder Battle to An Entertaining Draw
By: William Holmes
Deontay Wilder (40-0) and Tyson Fury (27-0) met for the WBC Heavyweight Title in the main event of tonight’s Showtime Pay Per view (PPV) offering.
The heavyweight division used to be the glamour division in boxing with the biggest pay per view offerings, and this was the biggest heavyweight fight capable of selling pay per views and capturing the public’s attention since Lennox Lewis was a champion.
A silent tribute was given to former President George H.W. Bush before the start of the fight, and that was followed by the national anthems of tonight’s fighters.
Tyson Fury entered the ring first and he was followed by Deontay Wilder to an enthusiastic crowd.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Wilder throws an early jab to the body. Wilder looks to be in good shape. Wilder with another jab to the body. Wilder misses with two wild shots and Fury clings to Wilder. Fury puts his hands behind his back. Fury backs into a corner and Wilder lands some short shots on Fury. Fury lands two quick jabs on Wilder. Fury puts his hands behind his back again. Wilder hits the shoulder of Fury. Fury lands a body shots and Wilder lands a left hook to the chin of Fury. Fury lands another short jab. Wilder misses with another wild right cross. Wilder misses with another wild right and Fury lands a good combination.
10-9 Fury, but close round
Wilder misses with a jab. Fury is showing some good head movement. Wilder looks a little flustered. Wilder with two more jabs and misses. Wilder lands a right but it was partially blocked. Fury lands a good short right hand to the chin of Wilder. Fury puts his hands in the air and taunts Wilder. Fury lands two good jabs. Good right to the body of Wilder by Fury. Fury’s jab is looking good. Wilder barely misses with a vicious right hand and follows it with a left hook. Wilder barely misses with a right cross again.
Another closer round, 10-9 Fury. 20-18 Fury
Fury lands a quick jab to the body. Fury with another jab to the face of Wilder. Fury lands another jab. Wilder lands a good jab on Fury that gets his attention. Wilder barely misses with a wide left hook. Wilder with a decent hook to the body and Fury answers with a hook upstairs and then two jabs. Fury lands a good straight right hand and then puts his hands behind his back again. Wilder lands a good right hook and Fury then lands a combination to the body. Good short right by Fury and he then ties up with Wilder. Fury with a good right to the body.
10-9 Fury; 30-27 Fury
Wilder has a lot of Vaseline on his face. Wilder with a jab to the body. Wilder barely misses with a straight right hand. Fury lands a short left hook on Wilder. Good jab by Fury, and Wilder answers with a jab of his own. Loud chants of USA in the crowd. Wilder barely misses with a bomb of a right hand. Good jab by Fury. Fury lands a good two punch combination. Fury is still showing good foot movement and lands three good jabs from the outside. Fury looks like he is bleeding from his nose.
10-9 Fury; 40-36 Fury
Wilder is bouncing on his feet. Wilder gets tagged with a quick jab and answers with one of his own. Fury leads with a left hook. Wilder misses with a left hook right cross combination. Fury lands a left hook. Wilder backs Fury into a corner but doesn’t land anything with the opportunity. Wilder lands a jab in the nose of Fury. Fury may be tiring. They both land a jab. Fury with a jab to the body and then head. Fury with a quick little combination. Wilder misses with two bombs and Fury answers with a combination. Wilder just not landing his big shots.
10-9 Fury; 50-45 Fury.
Wilder backing away from Fury. Wilder throws a jab to the body. Wilder misses with two jabs. Wilder misses again with a straight right. Fury with two quick jabs, but Wilder lands a jab of his own. Fury lands a combination and backs Wilder up. Wilder has some swelling by his left eye. Wilder lands a quick jab. Wilder lands a short jab. Wilder gets tagged by two jabs. Fury looks comfortable on the outside. Wilder lands a short right, but then eats two jabs. Wilder gets hit with another jab. Wilder’s jab is effective when he throws it, but he’s not throwing it enough.
10-9 Fury; 60-54 Fury.
Fury is circling away from Wilder’s power hand. Fury lands two jabs followed by a right cross. Fury lands a good right cross. Wilder lands a good jab to the body of Fury. Fury lands a jab to the body and Wilder lands a counter left hook. Fury lands a hard right hand. Fury is throwing a little more power into his shots. Wilder throws some bombs but misses. Wilder lands a good jab. Wilder misses another hard right hand. Fury lands another good hard straight right hand. Wilder lands a good jab on Fury.
10-9 Fury; 70-63 Fury.
Fury lands a quick reaching jab. Fury looks like he wants to press more than earlier rounds. Wilder misses with a straight right hand. Fury lands another good jab on Wilder. Wilder misses with a jab. Fury is tagging Wilder with his jab and dodging out of the way of his power shots. Fury goes to the body of Wilder. Wilder lands a good jab. Wilder sticks two jabs in the body of Fury. Fury with a good right hand followed by a right cross. Tyson Fury is looking very confident.
10-9 Fury; 80-72 Fury.
Fury has Wilder backing away. Fury gets touched with a jab. They both land a jab at the same time. Wilder is still a danger with his power. Wilder barely misses with a two punch combination. Wilder lands a right hook and Fury gets to the mat. Fury gets up before the count of ten. Wilder is looking for bombs and Fury ties up. Wilder barely misses with a wild right hand Fury lands a good right cross. Wilder misses with another bombs. Fury lands a good two punch combination. Wilder throws some bombs but misses. Fury just took a deep breath. Fury puts his arms up and begs Wilder to come forward. Fury lands some short shots inside and makes Wilder miss again. Entertaining round.
10-8 Wilder, 88-82 Fury
Fury looks recovered. Fury lands a good short right hook on Wilder. Fury has Wilder backing up. Fury lands a good two punch combination. Fury lands a good jab. Fury lands a good two punch combination. Good jab by Fury again. Wilder lands a good jab. Fury lands a good two punch combination. Wilder lands a good right hand of his own. Fury lands another good two punch combination. Fury flicks out a quick jab. Wilder misses with a lot of combinations.
10-9 Fury; 98-91 Fury
Wilder lands a jab to the body of Fury. Wilder lands another jab to the body but Fury lands a jab upstairs. Wilder probably needs a knockout to win. Fury lands another good jab on Wilder. Wilder misses with a combination and Fury lands a short hook. Fury lands a good jab followed by a combination to the body. Fury lands another short jab on Wilder. Wilder lands a good left hook on Fury. Wilder landed a good body shot on Fury that appeared to slow him down a little bit. Fury gets tagged by a short uppercut by Wilder. Wilder may have stolen that round.
10-9 Wilder; 107-101 Fury
Both fighters are bouncing on their feet as round starts. Fury looks to have a little more energy than Wilder. Fury barely misses with a jab. Fury lands a good right cross and Wilder answers with a two punch combination but Fury gets back to his feet. Wilder throwing bombs and Fury ties up. Wilder lands another good shot on Fury. Fury backing up. Fury puts his hands behind his back. Fury lands two good shots of his own and then ties up. Fury coming forward and throwing good shots. Fury is coming forward on Wilder. Wilder looks tired. Fury tags Wilder with some shots to the body.
10-8 Wilder. 115-111 Fury by Boxing Insider.
Both fighters embrace each other at the end and exchange words of respect after a highly entertaining bout.
The judges scored the fight 115-111 Wilder, 114-110 Fury, and 113-113 for a split decision draw.
Showtime PPV Undercard Results: Hurd, Ortiz, and Joyce Stomp their Competition
By: William Holmes
The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV offering between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
The opening bout of the night was between Joe Joyce (6-0) and Joe Hanks (23-2) in the heavyweight division.
Joe Joyce was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics and has stopped every opponent he has faced as a professional.
Joyce was the taller fighter, but looked a little awkward around the ring and was stunned with some decent combinations by Hanks early on. However, when Joyce connected with a straight right hand it hurt Hanks and had him momentarily stunned. Joyce was able to follow that up with a jab and a left hook to the chin that sent Hanks crashing to the mat.
Hanks struggled to get up by the count of ten and protested when the referee waived the fight off, but he looked badly hurt at the time of the stoppage.
Joe Joyce wins by way of knockout at 2:25 of round one.
The next fight of the night was between Luis Ortiz(29-1) and Travis Kauffman (32-2) in the heavyweight division.
Ortiz is an elite fighter with a deep amateur background and the difference in talent was evident early on. Ortiz had Kauffman backing up early on with a stead streak of jabs and kept it up throughout most of the fight.
Kauffman got hit with a low blow in the third round and got some time to recover, but got tagged with a good combination by Ortiz after his break in what may have been the best shots of the night at that point.
Kauffman continued to get moved corner to corner in the fourth and fifth rounds as he was backwards. Ortiz landed a vicious straight left hand in the sixth round that sent Kauffman to the mat and Ortiz celebrating jumping in the corner. But it may have ben premature as Kauffman got back to his feet.
Ortiz picked Kauffman apart for the remainder of the sixth round and landed some solid straight right hands but wasn’t able to finish Kauffman off.
Ortiz had Kauffman backing up in the seventh round and sent him to the mat again in the eighth round with an overhand right to the temple. Kauffman got back to his feet again and took several more hard shots, including a left uppercut, but was able to survive the round.
Ortiz went for the stoppage in the final two rounds, an landed a low blow and a near knockdown in the ninth round that was ruled a push. He did land a left hand in the tenth and final round to score his third knockdown of the fight, but Kauffman got up to his feet again, only to get tagged with another left hook that had him badly hurt before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Louis Ortiz at wins by TKO at 1:58 of the tenth and final round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Jarrett Hurd (22-0) and Jason Welborn (24-6) in the super welterweight division.
Welborn was pressing the pace in the opening round and kept his head in the chest of Hurd and fought the fight in close and appeared to do well.
Hurd pressed behind his jab in the second round and appeared to throw a large number of left jabs and hooks. Hurd was rolling well with the punches of Welborn in the third round, but Welborn may have stolen that round with a flurry at the end.
Welborn opened up the fourth round with some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes and connected with some clean hooks to the head while Hurd’s back was against the ropes. Hurd covered up and took the shots of Welborn before unloading a right uppercut to the body that sent Welborn to the canvas.
Hurd took some heavy shots in the process, but wins by knockout at 1:55 of the fourth round.
Rd 4: Weblron landed some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes. Some hard combos. Hurt taking on some good shots. Hurd fighting back. Body shot sends him down. For ten. KO!!
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury Weigh In Recap
By Jake Donovan
Through all the screaming, shoving and taunting in the buildup to the titanic heavyweight encounter between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury came a source of familiarity in an otherwise disposable part of any heavyweight fight: the official weigh-in.
Friday’s festivities—which included a mob of fans and media, as well as a host of past heavyweight champs and contenders—marked just the latest occasion where Wilder will give away a significant amount of weight to an opponent. The defending titlist checked in at a near career-lightest 212.5 pounds, a full 44 pounds less than Fury who tipped the scales at a fighting ready 256.5 pounds.
The two will finally collide on Saturday night, airing live on Showtime Pay-Per-View (9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. In fact, it will mark the first time since Wednesday’s wild pre-fight press conference where they will literally stand face-to-face, as the two were kept at a considerable distance on Friday.
It was a wise decision given their numerous shoving matches and near-riot offerings any time they’ve shared a stage over the course of the past two months. Fury did his best to taunt the defending titlist, but Wilder—donning his signature pre-fight mask during the weigh-in and all the way through his on-stage interview with Showtime’s Steve Farhood—refused to take the bait, saving his energy for when he will actually get paid to punch.
“Talk is cheap; tomorrow is time,” Wilder insisted in explaining his decision to not entertain Fury’s tactics. “Action speaks louder than words. Come tomorrow, I can’t wait to unleash everything I’ve kept inside of me.”
All of Fury’s talking was limited to the comments he hurled at Wilder while the two were far separated on stage. The unbeaten Brit left without conducting an interview.
Wilder (40-0, 39KOs) attempts the 8th defense of the heavyweight strap he acquired in a Jan. ’15 decision win over Bermane Stiverne. The bout marked the lone time that the 33-year old has been extended the distance, having since scored seven straight knockouts, including a one-round drubbing of Stiverne in their Nov. ’17 rematch.
A win inside the distance on Saturday will earn Wilder a significant piece of boxing history, tying Larry Holmes and Tommy Burns for the most consecutive knockouts (eight) in heavyweight title fights.
Fury (27-0, 19KOs) enters his first official title fight since his massive Nov. ’15 upset win over Wladimir Klitschko in Nov. ’15. The feat earned the 6’9” Brit a slew of alphabet titles along with the World (lineal) championship, although never making a single defense as he spent the next two years combatting mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction.
A celebrated ring return came this past June, with Fury halting Sefer Seferi in four rounds. A follow-up points win over Francesco Pianeta in August was a forgettable affair, in fact memorable only in it setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown. Wilder was ringside for the affair, joining Fury in the ring in revealing to the world their plans to eventually collide.
Should the upset occur, it will make Fury the first Brit to win a title fight on U.S. soil in more than 15 years. The last to do so was Lennox Lewis, in the final fight of his Hall-of-Fame career and in this very venue when he rallied to stop Vitali Klitschko on cuts after six rounds of heavyweight warfare in June ’03.
Jarrett Hurd headlines the preliminary portion of the evening, as the unbeaten and unified 154-pound titlist fights for the first time since his Fight-of-the-Year-level split decision win over Erislandy Lara this past April. He attempts the third defense of at least one title as he faces Australia’s Jason Welborn in the evening’s chief support.
Hurd (22-0, 15KOs) checked in at a career lightest 152.6 pounds, while Welborn (24-6, 7KOs)—fighting for the first time both for a major title and in the United States—was slightly lighter at 152.5 pounds.
Their title clash marks the lone non-heavyweight entry of the four-fight bill.
Luis Ortiz (29-1, 25KOs) looks to win his second straight following a heartbreaking 10th round knockout loss to Wilder this past May. The once-beaten Cuban southpaw faces Pennsylvania’s Travis Kauffman in a scheduled 10-round affair.
Neither will ever be mistaken for bodybuilders, but both carry their frames particularly well in the ring. Ortiz weighed 241 pounds—the same weight for his last bout, also at Staples Center in scoring a 2nd round knockout of Razvan Cojanu in July—while Kauffman tipped the scales at 229 pounds, his lightest weight in eight years.
Opening the show, 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Joe Joyce (6-0, 6KOs) takes on Newark, NJ’s Joe Hanks (23-2, 15KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout.
England’s Joyce checked in at 262 pounds, just one pound lighter than his U.S. debut exactly two months ago when he knocked out Iago Kiladze in five rounds this past September. Hanks weighed 247.5 pounds, the lightest he’s weighed since returning to the ring in 2017 following a 2-½ year break. He’s won two straight in his current comeback.
Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury Mental Warfare
By: Kirk Jackson
“He goes on about he’s beaten this person, he’s beaten that person,” says Tyson Fury 27-0 (19 KO’s), who’ll challenge Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39 KO’s) in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event December 1, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I’ve seen him knocked out before, spark out, by a little fat fella, that big [raises his hand] – out. In the amateurs, he boxed America versus Russia and the little Russian fella cleaned him out. Bam! The ‘Bomb Squad? The Bomb Squad’ was on his back. Like a dead fly, he was on his back, legs and arms in the air, sparked out. There ain’t no videos around the world of Tyson Fury ever getting knocked out.”
Photo Credit: PBC Twitter Account (@premierboxing)
As predicted the verbal back-and-forth, mental warfare, leading up to the biggest heavyweight bout of the year, featuring two undefeated champions, has been nothing short of entertaining.
Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion and Fury, the last recognized Lineal heavyweight champion aim to battle for heavyweight supremacy this weekend. The unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, will certainly watch the two combatants intently.
If you ask Fury, it appears he doesn’t care if Joshua is watching and doesn’t think much of Joshua’s current standing as unified heavyweight champion. Fury has plenty of venom for Joshua as well.
“Listen, I’m already number one,” Fury said. “So I don’t need to beat Deontay Wilder to prove that, because I’m not any old champion. So I can’t move up any more spaces. But if he beats me, he can become number one. But if I beat him, I stay where I am. The belts that AJ has are only belts he picked out of the garbage tin, because they were all given to him by me – every single one of them.”
Wilder by all accounts is an emotional fighter; his feelings fueled from past experiences in life inspires the rage he unleashes inside the ring. He described in an interview leading up to the fight the desire to share his pain with Fury, to inflict as much damage as possible and that Fury will understand his story through absorbing this pain.
“As fighters, people don’t understand how much it takes to break your body down days, weeks and months at a time. As a fighter, you’re forced to absorb pain and inflict punishment on your body every day you wake up,” said Wilder.
The damage inflicted inside the ring. That’s what it ultimately boils down to. But often overlooked is the psychological war leading up to the fight and the mental warfare once the physical battle begins.
Fury displayed his mental prowess over opponents in the past and even across the promotional tour with Wilder displayed a measure of command many observers believe provides him advantage heading into the fight this weekend.
“He knows he can’t win and it’s clear for everyone to see now. He’s a very nervous character and by the looks of it he doesn’t want to fight. He talks a good game but he talks nonsense really,” said Fury.
Fury continued, “Wilder hasn’t always been this brash, colorful character we see today. Up until he had 30 fights he was quite shy and reserved. This is why no one knows him. Now he has a bit of swag about him, but it’s not genuine, it’s fake.”
“He’s snide, a fraud, and when he gets in there with the real deal on Saturday night he’s going to know what it looks like. When you see a bad man, you know what one looks like. I look at him and I don’t see a bad man, I see a pretender.”
Come fight night we’ll find out if what Fury states holds any weight. Both fighters overcame tremendous personal and professional obstacles and adversity to reach the pinnacle of the sport and to arrive at this special moment upon us.
From a professional standpoint tough heavyweight challenger Luis Ortiz hurt Wilder badly during the seventh round of their March 3 fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but couldn’t finish the job. Wilder withstood the onslaught and roared back to floor Ortiz twice more in the 10th round, stopping the Cuban southpaw to retain his title in Rocky-esque fashion.
Former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham knocked down Fury in the second round of their March 2013 battle in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Fury overcame that difficulty to knock out Cunningham in the seventh round.
From a personal standpoint, the hurdles each man overcame and still battle to this day are well documented. Both guys’ endured tough upbringings, Fury has battled depression, mental illness and drug abuse most recently. Wilder cares for his daughter with special needs and that’s an everyday battle.
As far as the trash talk and mental tactics, Wilder welcomes it.
“I very much enjoy it. I enjoy the confrontation that we have; I enjoy the rumbling with the mouth that we have,” said Wilder. “We try to see who has the bigger motor and the mouth. Call him a motormouth.”
But will this be his undoing? Wilder acknowledges Fury’s mental toughness and how that can be a factor.
“One thing about Tyson is he’s mentally tough,” Wilder said on a recent conference call. “He’s the Gypsy King. If you know about gypsies, you know they’re traveling people and they’re fearless. So when I knock him out, I can say I knocked out someone that was fearless.”
Can Wilder implement the right game-plan, stay focused and ultimately win the fight? If Wilder is too “Wild” in his approach and too focused primarily on the big one-punch knock-out and head hunting, he will lose.
For Fury if he loses focus for one moment, it can all end due to Wilder’s punching power. Fury must not underestimate Wilder’s ability to adapt; he’s underrated with that aspect.
Fury is a nightmarish match-up, as is Wilder, which is what makes this bout so intriguing. Can Wilder deal with someone bigger and taller than him? Plus Fury is awkward, has long arms, uncanny rhythm and reflexes, great boxing instinct, high boxing intellect and strong mental strength – as does Wilder.
These fighters mirror many traits but provide different versions from a stylistic standpoint.
Again, this may boil down to who can preserve through the mental war waging in the ring come fight night.
“That’s why I don’t really get excited when I knock somebody out, because I’ve already fought that person multiple times in my mind before ever stepping into the ring,” said Wilder in an interview leading up to Saturday.
“That’s through visualization and meditation. I do it with every fight. As it relates to Tyson Fury, I’ve already fought him 75 times in my mind at this point. On December 1st, when it’s time for the realization to happen, it won’t be a surprise to beat him because I’ve already seen it happen. I’ve spoken it, I envisioned it and I believe it.”
For Fury, this is the road to redemption, to claiming a world title for the first time since losing his belts due to circumstances outside the ring. This is his opportunity, in perhaps his biggest test professionally, to show he is the Gypsy King and the heavyweight king.
“I said that Wladimir Klitschko would be the easiest fight of me career, and he was. Now I’m gonna say that this guy’s (Wilder) gonna be me easiest fight, and I predict he will.”
We’ll see which prediction holds true.