Wilder-Fury Officially Set For December 1st
By: Sean Crose
It may have taken a bit to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, but the heavyweight title bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is finally signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered on December 1st. WBC champ Wilder and former division king Fury have wanted to fight for a while. They even got in a ring together last month and declared their fight was happening. Then came a waiting game, with some eventually beginning to wonder if the heavyweight super showdown would occur at all. By Friday evening, however, the matter had been settled and made public.
“THE CONTRACTS ARE SIGNED & THE FIGHT IS ON!” read a press release. “The promotional tour will kickoff in London on Oct. 1 and continue with stops in New York City and Los Angeles.” Oddly enough, no location was named for the fight. The announcement made clear the bout would be aired on pay per view, but there was no mention of who would be handling the PPV services. Most striking of all, however, was that the news was made public Friday evening, American time, just hours before heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua was set to defend his crown in London on Saturday against Russian contender Alexander Povetkin. Perhaps PBC, which promotes Wilder, and Frank Warren, who promotes Fury, decided to go the Floyd Mayweather route by making a major announcement before a major fight.
Despite the reason for the timing of the news, word that Wilder, a 40-0 force of destruction with 39 knockouts to his name, would be facing the slick big man Fury, 27-0, added to an already big year for boxing, a year that has seen the sport spread across cable, social media and streaming services at a rapid pace. “This fight is definitely on and I can’t wait, man,” Wilder said on Instagram. “It’s going to be an exciting fight; it’s going to be an explosive fight.”
On top of being undefeated as professionals, both Wilder and Fury have outsized personalities, which make for good publicity, especially in the era of Mayweather and Conor McGregor. They are also both over six and a half feet tall, which makes them giant fighters, as well as giant characters. The winner of this match will surely have to face Joshua in the future (provided Joshua gets past Povetkin) in order to bring clarity to what is now a very interesting heavyweight division.
Wilder Trainer Mark Breland Weighs In On Upcoming Fury Bout
By: Sean Crose
“I don’t think they want the fight,” world welterweight champion turned top trainer Mark Breland told me earlier this summer. “When Joshua fights, he doesn’t talk.” The Joshua Breland was referring to, of course, was heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua, who holds every major belt in the division except for the WBCs famed green strap. That particular item is in the possession of the man Breland works with, Deontay Wilder, an individual who has been calling Joshua out for ages. That highly anticipated fight still hasn’t been made. What’s more, Joshua, unlike Wilder, “doesn’t talk” much about chomping at the bit to face his championship counterpart, leaving many to think – fairly or not – that the man isn’t interested in facing Wilder at the moment.
When we spoke in June, Breland made it clear he felt Joshua, who has defeated former long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in thrilling fashion, is content taking his time on the matter. “Eventually,” he told me, “they’re going to have to fight.” Breland indicated, however, that he doubted “it’s going to happen any time soon.” Breland also pointed out that Joshua was living high at the moment. “He doesn’t need Deontay,” Breland said of team Wilder’s mindset. “Deontay needs him.” How times change. Former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, who wrested the title away from Klitschko in 2015, has come back to the ring after some hard times and is now set for a heavyweight superfight – against Wilder, not Joshua. No doubt it must seem strange to Joshua that the biggest heavyweight fight right now is between Wilder and Fury, a man who has dismissively referred to Joshua as “the other chump.”
Yet when we spoke on Sunday, Breland himself noted the strangeness of the sudden turn of events. “A little bit,” he said after I asked if he was surprised his fighter would soon be facing Fury in the ring. Wilder-Fury is a huge risk for both men, as a fight with Joshua would probably bring each fighter more money and accolades. As Wilder said over the weekend, though: “This is what we’ve been waiting for…the best fighting the best.” Wilder will have a challenge for himself when he faces Fury (the date and location of the match will be announced this week). Standing at almost six feet, nine inches in height, the Englishman can be incredibly – and surprisingly – slick.
“There’s going to be a slight difference,” Breland said of Wilder’s training camp this time, “because Tyson is tall.” Wilder, he says, will “just have to adjust to someone taller.” Breland, who was a gold medal Olympian, as well as a professional world titlist, still isn’t impressed with how Joshua is handling his career. “I’ve been in boxing for a long time,” he told me. “When you’re a champion…normally you have to face the (top) person whose up next.” Joshua’s next bout will be on September 22nd, when he faces Alexander Povetkin, a top challenger, but not a current or former titlist.
Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Heavyweight World Championship Announced For Later This Year
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Saturday that they have agreed to a heavyweight showdown later this year. The announcement was made in Belfast immediately following’s the undefeated Fury’s shutout decision of Francesco Pianeta. VIDEO: https://s.sho.com/2vVYtlj
Wilder vs. Fury, a 12-round matchup for Wilder’s WBC Heavyweight World Championship, will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. A date and venue for the event will be announced shortly.
The 6-foot-7 Wilder is 40-0 with 39 knockouts and American’s only heavyweight champion since 2007. The 6-foot-9 Fury is a former IBF, WBA and WBO Champion who has never been defeated in 27 professional fights.
Frampton and Fury Win in Belfast
By: Oliver McManus
Up in Windsor Park in front of a raucous crowd of 25,000 – all out in support of their hometown hero – Carl Frampton completed a lifelong dream in competing at the home of the Northern Irish football team and, in doing so, stamped his authority all over the featherweight scene thanks to a convincing win over Luke Jackson.
Jackson, 16-0 before the fight, came into the fight with the heavy tag of underdog and despite this was determined to put in a performance to be proud of. Frampton meanwhile was cautious not to overlook the Australian but was steadfast in his belief that there bigger things lay visible on the horizon.
Dusk was settling over the skies of Belfast when the first bell rang and the fight kicked off with Carl Frampton taking to the centre of the ring and lurching out with a pawing left hand to signal his intentions – a swift right hand marked out the early danger, pushing Jackson onto the ropes momentarily within the opening minute.
Jackson, from a crouched stance, leaned in with left hands of his own but offered relatively little in way of genuine threat throughout the, admittedly quiet, opening rounds but the attacking mind set of Frampton was, undoubtedly, enough to notch up the rounds on the scorecards.
A rhythm was found with a consummate ease by The Jackal as he rocked back on forth on his toes, taking his time before offering up some solid body shots, moving with grace, crisp on his feet and displaying the technical ability and footwork that has seen him claim so much glory in the past.
Frampton was able to put Jackson near the red without having to break out of stride or launch any particularly vicious flurries – all he had to do was stay busy, stay present and that seemed to be enough to make life uncomfortable for the Australian challenger.
Big right hands, chipping uppercuts and solid hooks rendered a stiffness in the legs of Jackson and a left hand caught the right hand side of the Aussie – whilst he was off balance – to wobble his man and Jackson was being outworked in all departments, the work rate of Frampton was superior as he moved through the motions and the uppercut of Frampton proved to be a crucial punch throughout the contest before he dropped down to target the body.
Moving into the second third of the contest and much of the same followed with Frampton working the angles against a game, gutsy Luke Jackson who wasn’t looking particularly hurt but, equally, wasn’t really offering much in terms of counter punches.
Jackson, a Commonwealth bronze medallist was trying to attack, trying to find the body of Frampton but he failed to find any regularity with his punches, looking sluggish on his feet and half-hearted with the hands.
A solid sequence of punches in the fifth round signalled the start of the end for Jackson with Frampton starting to tee off, hammering the body of Jackson with alarming consistency and power, uppercuts snapping the head back of his counterpart and, to put it simply, looking a class above the challenger.
Having declared prefight that he wanted to secure a knockout victory there was a definite change in tempo at the halfway mark from Carl Frampton but with that brought a renewed vitality from Jackson who began to throw punches with the full swivel of his body – nothing Frampton couldn’t handle, mind.
With the Australian tiring yet continuing to show heart throughout each round, he began to wander more into range of Frampton who set about making him pay with repeated shots to the body and as the rain came cascading down onto the ring, Frampton’s shots continued to cascade towards his gritty opponent.
Looking in ferocious shape, Frampton started to piece combinations together and sent a beautiful uppercut followed by sickening shot to the livers of Luke Jackson, dropping him towards the end of the eight and with blood in the water, it was time for The Jackal to set finishing the fight off once and for all.
Holding on groggily, Frampton continued to target the body of Jackson with his shots now packing extra venom, extra power, shot after shot towards the big cage of Jackson were causing visible pain and it was only a matter of time before the Australian was pulled out by his corner – so it came, with 1 minute and 21 still left on the clock of the ninth round.
Next stop? Josh Warrington for the IBF Featherweight title of the world.
On the undercard of such a memorable occasion featured Tyson Fury, lineal heavyweight champion, in his second contest since returning from his much-publicised layoff and he was up against, two time world title challenger, Francesco Pianeta.
Underwhelmed sighs greeted the announcement of his opponent but, since then, the near-inevitable showdown with Deontay Wilder towards the backend of this year has seen the spice factor significantly raised and excitement abound.
He had to get the job done first, though, in Belfast and was set about doing his business without the showboating that blighted his encounter with Sefer Seferi and weighing in at 18st 6lbs he looked the real deal and incredibly nimble.
Pianeta came into the first round with an incredible ferocioty and pace to the encounter, showering shots in towards Fury but the Tyson merely swivelled his hips, weaved his head and avoided the punches without blinking an eye.
Looking cool and comfortable the mobile figure of Fury was able to bounce around the ring, establishing a convincing jab with his long levers against an opponent who, actually, came to fight and spring a surprise.
Controlling the pace of the bout with ease it was all about Tyson Fury and with Deontay Wilder in attendance, Fury looked like sending a statement to him and the Belfast crowd.
Firing shots in with a snap of the wrist, Fury looked fast, looked comfortable and, more importantly, looked happy to be in the ring and happy with his performance. Taking it vastly more serious than his contest in Seferi, this was the Tyson Fury of old and he found his range quickly, looping in shots round the guard and exploiting the, perhaps, over-eagerness of Pianeta.
Switching stances from time to time, Fury was free flowing and quick on his feet. Elusive in his movement it was clear to see who the superior fighter was and Tyson always looked like his reflexes were one step faster than Pianeta, making the German-Italian miss by a good few inches whilst staying alert throughout the full duration of each round.
Each round seemed to follow the same sort of theme with Pianeta looking to be brute in his manner of fighting whilst Fury nullified the sting with cultured and classy movement, a cat and mouse sort of game, controlling the contest with complete and utter ease, never looking fazed and, frankly, never looking out of second gear.
Taking each round on the scorecard of Steve Gray to win the contest by 100-90 the fight didn’t produce the explosive knockout that many were expecting but it did provide crucial rounds in the bank for Tyson with his world title challenge confirmed shortly after the fight – this may not have been the exact outcome that we wanted but, certainly, it was a performance that we needed and proved, beyond doubt, that, yeah, Tyson Fury is back.
Deontay Wilder will be next – in November or December – and to use Dillian Whyte’s words, “Wilder, let’s go baby, LET’S GO!!!”.
As always, then, boxing and Belfast just seems to be that magical combination that works each and every time.
Fury Rewriting Rules of Boxing Show Business
When most fighters face off, insults and sometimes pushes and blows are exchanged. When Tyson Fury does it there are smiles, hugs, selfies and best wishes for his opponent.
Friday’s hotel lobby fracas with Deontay Wilder even seemed well-meaning and conducted in good spirits. You got the sense the pair would genuinely enjoy exchanging views during a prospective pre-fight build-up.
By his own admission, the world lineal heavyweight king has always flouted convention (“I’m different…”) but now seems to be doing so driven not by contrarianism but by a simplistic goal: making the world a better place. Torn-up rulebooks are collateral damage.
The act of fighting – by its nature – is destructive. Selling the spectacle of that impending destruction is, historically, primarily reliant on presenting an element of ‘bad blood’ during the build-up. Often, combatants launch tirades of physical threats – sometimes as much to open up new heights of aggression in their own minds as much as to intimidate a rival.
If he ever felt the need to or not, Fury doesn’t need to sell anything now. The cameras will follow him, the journalists will write about him and the whole world will want to watch him box regardless. There is no reason for him to act or speak disingenuously.
At the weigh-in for his comeback fight, Fury picked up his comeback opponent Sefer Seferi as if the Albanian was a damsel in distress. After some playful groping of Pianeta at their opening press conference, there were laughs and handshakes all round.
Fury said: “It’s the Tyson Fury show. People know what they’re going to get when they come to one of these things and they like it.
“If I’m coming back and setting an example, being a role model, then there’s no need for all the animosity between fighters. I believe that nowadays you can put on a good fight without wanting to kill each other.
“I’ll pray for Pianeta. I pray he produces his best performance on the night. I don’t want to hurt Pianeta. I don’t want to do anything bad to him – I just want to beat him on Saturday night.
“I hope he goes home to his family lovely and safe. That’s just the man I am. I don’t wish harm on anybody. I’ve got no enemies and I don’t hate anybody.
“I like to put on a show. I like to do it. It’s entertainment. Yes, I suppose it’s entertainment. It’s great entertainment! I’m very modest, as you can tell…”
It’s nigh-on certain there will always be a place for the pantomime of genuine ill-feeling between fighters at press conferences and weigh-ins. Now Fury is a flag-bearer for an alternative, more light-hearted and humorous approach, though.
Perhaps we’ll see a change if and when he faces a man like Wilder – a fight which would likely take place on away turf against a formidable opponent who speaks English at a similar rate of knots to ‘The Gypsy King’.
For now, however, Fury is almost like a congenial host making his opponents feel welcome and at ease before serving up cold boxing lessons for dessert.
Only a few hundred tickets remain for Saturday’s historic stadium show at Windsor Park – featuring Fury v Pianeta, Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson, Cristofer Rosales v Paddy Barnes and more.
Tyson Fury vs. Francesco Pianeta Final Press Conference Quotes
Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former two-time heavyweight title challenger Francesco Pianeta faced off on Tuesday in Belfast during the final press conference for their 10-round heavyweight bout this Saturday from Windsor Park. The second comeback fight of the former unified champion will stream live exclusively to U.S. audiences on the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT (please note new start time). SHOWTIME will air an encore presentation later that evening on SHOWTIME EXTREME® (10 p.m. ET/PT).
The former IBF, WBA and WBO champion Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) returned to the ring in June and will fight for the second time in less than 75 days following a nearly three-year layoff. Prior to his extended hiatus, the 6-foot-9 Fury established himself as the premier heavyweight boxer in the world by becoming the first man to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in more than 11 years.
Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs), a 6-foot-5 southpaw who fights out of Germany, has twice challenged for the heavyweight world title. Pianeta faced then-unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and lost in a bid for a secondary title against Ruslan Chagaev in 2015.
Here’s what the fighters had to say at Europa Hotel in Belfast on Tuesday:
“The old Tyson Fury is gone. The Tyson Fury from three years ago and beyond is finished. Let’s face it, we all move forward in life with age and experiences and I’m not looking to dwell on the past. I’m looking to live for today and improve on who I am tomorrow. The new Tyson Fury is here now and my promise is to put on a good fight. Whether that’s better or worse than the old Tyson Fury, we’ll find out on Saturday night.
“What you’re likely to see from me on Saturday is a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard. Anything less is a failure.
“I do want to win a world title again so I have to raise my game. I’ve been out of the ring for three years nearly. It’s an uphill battle to lose the weight I’ve lost. It’s been challenging and a long, hard battle to get back to where I am.
“I study my heavyweights and I know Francesco has fought some very good men. He had a very good winning spree, he was 28-0 when he fought Klitschko. I’m not underestimating Francesco. I know he’s a very big, strong fellow and he knows if he wins this fight then he can go on to fight (Deontay) Wilder instead of me. It’s all to play for.
“In heavyweight boxing, if you take your eye off the goal for ten seconds you’re out of there. I know what to expect, I expect him to bring his ‘A game’ and he’s going to try to knock me out because that’s what they all do. Hopefully, he’s not successful and we put on a great show and entertain the fans.
“If I come through this, then Wilder has a chance to fight me for the lineal championship. I’m not the one who gets the chance to fight him. Let’s face it, he hasn’t really fought anybody. He has 40 fights and it is what it is. We’re not here to talk about Wilder at all. It may as well be a million years in the future, I’ve got to concentrate on this man in front of me. I’m sure he wants to take my glory away from me.
“I’ve made all the right sacrifices. I trained really well, ate right, slept well and I had four or five sparring partners that were all southpaws. If I do what I think I can do, then I’ll impress, put on a good show and win the fight. If I don’t do what I think I can do, then I’ll get chinned in about ten seconds and it will be, ‘See you later Tyson Fury and hello Francesco Pianeta.’
“Southpaws are a lot more awkward because there’s less of them in the division. You don’t get too much work with southpaws other than when you’re fighting with them. It’s hard to get southpaws to spar in training because there aren’t many heavyweight southpaws around the world. But I do have one interesting fact, every southpaw amateur or professional I’ve ever faced I’ve knocked out. That’s not good for Francesco.
“To be a two-time heavyweight champion is all right. It’s not great because there’s been plenty. To be a three-time heavyweight champion, it’s been done before. So I think I want to set a precedent of being a five-time heavyweight champion without losing a fight. That’s my goal. I always aim for the stars and set big targets.
“If I can beat Francesco Pianeta on Saturday night, I’ve beaten another boxer. Big deal. But if he beats me, he’s going on to something very big. It would be life-changing for him. It I can’t beat Francesco, then I’m going nowhere.
“I think I’m the greatest heavyweight that’s ever been born, so I should handle Francesco Pianeta. And whoever else is out there, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, all the bums out there.
“It’s very easy to win all the belts back. I’ve only got to beat two bums, basically. Wilder and Joshua and that’s it. They both haven’t got a brain cell between them so it shouldn’t be too hard for a great boxer like myself.”
Ben Davison, Fury’s Trainer
“Everything is good with Tyson. It’s good that he’s getting straight into the ring again. It’s been a good progression since the last fight and everything is perfect. We’re just ready for Saturday night. You can’t do anything more from now.
“He’s lost a good amount of weight since the last fight. To me, there’s only a certain level of fitness that you can get to and Tyson runs on two very good engines anyway. There’s never been any worry with that.”
“I’m going to give my best and I’m looking forward to the fight. It’s an honor for me to box in front of such an audience.
“I have a high opinion on Tyson. I was very impressed with his win over Klitschko, I rate him very highly. He says that he’s knocked out every southpaw he’s ever faced, but we’ll see if he is able to do that Saturday night.”
The Ultimate Showdown of Boxer vs. Brawler: Fury vs. Wilder
By: Dylan Smith
The Battle of the Behemoth
Could this be it? The greatest pugilist Giants waging war to win the ultimate title of Super Heavyweight Champion of the world and could the victor be crowned as the GOAT?
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are the longest bodied out of the top ranked heavyweights in the world with a combined wingspan of over 5 meters and each stretching over 6 feet 7 inches tall. Tyson Fury is back in the ring and has proclaimed he wants to take back his titles, which he never lost in the ring and even go on to defend them to match the great Joe Luis’ record of number of defences. So far Fury has done what he set out to do by beating Vladimir Klitscho on his home turf against all the odds so why now, even after his 2 year lay off, should we doubt him? One of the reasons could be the climate of the heavyweight division has drastically changed with rough tough young competitors like Joseph Parker and hard hungry powerhouses like Dillian Whyte who pose massive threats to Tysons unbeaten record and dreams of a glory. The British public and the world however do love a comeback story and an underdog as they are dramatised in classic films such as Rocky. So has he got the minerals? Usually for such a large man you wouldn’t see this kind of movement however Tyson floats around the ring turning, slipping and ducking like a man half his size normally would. His technique is masterful and you can tell he has crafted his skill over a number of years, dedicated his life to boxing. Some say he doesn’t hit hard for a large heavyweight but even if he doesn’t hit like AJ or Wilder he more than makes up for it with precision, speed and timing with 19 ko’s out of 26 contests. Tyson Fury throws every punch in the book from every angle and has an awkward style where he can switch stances, fight long or up close, spoil and counter on the entry and exit from the clinch. He is used to going to the champions turf so will he be the man for the job and can he shock the world again and prove all the doubters wrong in becoming the
WBC heavyweight champion of the world?
Deontay wilder is an absolute knockout artist with a phenomenal record of 39 ko’s out of 40 contests in which he has knocked out every opponent he has ever faced as a professional in the squared circle, as in the rematch against Bermaine Stivern he managed to take him out in literally the last second of the first round. His name appropriately resonates his fighting style as he is famous for throwing wild hooks and hurtful haymakers. He started off more of a brawler and still is, however his skill set has massively improved over the years. He has honed in on his accuracy of shots and has a fantastic snappy jab, he also displays his improved boxing intelligence with the shot selections and combination punches he throws, displayed recently against Luis Ortiz where he annihilated him in the 10th round after being shook himself earlier in the fight. Still with all that skill he still loves to bang out that straight right hand and possesses that one punch knockout power that could shut anyones lights out if it touches them anywhere on the head. Wilder likes to brawl and bash his opponents, break them down and finish in fierce savage style. We can talk attributes: length; power; speed and both fighters tick all of the boxes, also both have unbeaten records. It will then be a case of who can make the other one fight their style. Fury will box and spoil and Wilder will shake him off and look for the overhand right as Tyson enters the clinch. Or will Wilder want to box long and display his pugilist skills and shock everyone like Fury did to Klitschko. The likelihood is however Fury will bob and weave and Wilder will get more and more desperate and keep firing the right hand until it finds a home on Fury’s head.
With the deal being reported by Frank Warren (Tyson Fury’s promoter) as nearly done for December we may see how it plays out. Are we going to be given an early Christmas present? Will we see these 2 colossals collide in the ultimate mammoth match of boxer versus brawler for the most prestigious title in Boxing? I hope so.
The Elite Boxers in the Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora produced the two best performances of the night on Saturday at the O2 Arena and with that set up the potential for super fights across the heavyweight division, here we take a look at the five ‘elite’ heavyweights in the world and assess their credentials before a subsequent article next week will look at five ‘contenders’ –
Anthony Joshua – WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World
Where else to start but the face of heavyweight boxing? Anthony Joshua is capable of selling out Wembley Stadium with just the mere mention of his name and his record in the sport is simply remarkable – a gold medallist at his home Olympics in 2012, the pressure was always going to be on but, boy, has he handled the pressure supremely.
The 12th of December 2015 saw emotion seep into his fight-mentality for the first time as he let the rivalry between Dillian Whyte and himself get the better of his, previously, cool and calculated game plan with Joshua drawn into a firefight. Arguably that was the best thing that ever happened to him because it brought out a completely different animal within him, the killer instinct was born.
Wladimir Klitschko was legacy defining, there can be no other way of putting it, and whilst that clash highlighted the fact AJ was mortal – hard to believe, I know – you simply cannot knock the Watford-man for taking on and pulling off a feat of monumental proportions that many had previously tried and failed in, in only his 19th professional bout.
Oddly you could say his stock has fallen or, rather, the gap has got closer between himself and his closest competitors over the weekend with Chisora destroying Carlos Takam in a fashion far more convincing than Joshua and Dillian Whyte dropping Joseph Parker – once legitimately, once questionably – on the way to a unanimous decision.
Joshua is a rare breed of fighter in that he is seemingly willing to fight anyone and up against Alexander Povetkin in September he faces, previously, one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and, certainly, a huge puncher but someone that should be a relatively easy fight over Joshua’s last few tests.
2019, then, is the year for Anthony Joshua to continue in his pursuit of ever-lasting greatness.
Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
The ‘Punch’ to Anthony Joshua’s ‘Judy’ – a reference which anyone outside of the UK will need to Google – Deontay Wilder has a rather reasonable claim to being the hardest puncher in the current heavyweight division and is famed for his “windmill” shots which, when unloaded, signal a trademark finish to the fight.
Questions have, rightfully, been raised at the quality of Wilder’s recent opponents with the likes of Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne (the second time) and Artur Szpilka not exactly screaming “world class” but, having said that, Wilder has consistently dispatched the people put in front of him in a fashion you’d expect from the WBC Champion of the World.
Against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz in March this year, the American was in the toughest fight of his career and took the best that Ortiz threw at him. Whilst the fight was a strong 50-50 prior to the stoppage that the Bronze Bomber managed to pull out of the bag, the contest showed that Wilder was capable of taking a shot to land a shot and that is the phrase that best defines his style.
Even when in with the best, genuine elite level fighters, he sticks to what he does well and that, very simply, is PUNCH. Now some may argue that shows a weakness in ability to adapt to the styles of challengers and whilst that is something that could be his downfall in the future, it’s worked with tremendous success thus far.
Not necessarily a household name in the United States – indeed you could say he’s more well-known on this side of the pond than in his own backyard – you can understand the strategy from those around him of building him up with all-American match-ups (Dominic Brezeale is rumoured to be the next defence) which enable him to gain profile and keep the belt with, relatively, easy fights.
BUT then comes the question of why on earth should a world champion need to have his profile built up? The fight with Anthony Joshua is a fight that NEEDS to happen in order for Deontay Wilder to be able to put to bed questions regarding the legitimacy of his reign and, for many, we’ve still yet to see the WBC champ fully tested.
Dillian Whyte – WBC Number 1 ranked heavyweight contender
Whyte proved his doubters wrong on Saturday with a scintillating win over Joseph Parker, make no mistake, he was sincerely rocked and challenged by the former WBO Champion, dropped to the canvas at one point, but what was most impressive about taking the barrage of punches was that he proved his chin has developed far more than anything else since he faced Anthony Joshua in 2015 –we always knew he had the agility, the power, the energy, that was never in question.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 18 months since Whyte went to war with Dereck Chisora, winning a split decision, but that bout seems to be symbolic of the way he goes about every fight – with an attitude of “guts and glory”, leaving everything on the line, and that’s something you cannot criticise because it produces excitement galore.
Up against Robert Helenius, Whyte really failed to click into gear when in the ring with the Nordic Nightmare and whilst the fight wasn’t aesthetically pleasing it was a valuable lesson for the Brixton Bomber because it showed him that, sometimes, you can’t go all-out for a knockout and have to box around the opposition, out-working them and simply fatiguing them into defeat.
With Deontay Wilder having been offered a princely sum – a career high pay day – to face Whyte (in the United Kingdom) and turning it down, there can be no doubt as to the stature of Eddie Hearn’s fighter and the attributes he possess all point to him being a world-champion in waiting.
Mild controversy erupted when he, and his team, turned down fights with Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev in world title eliminators with many saying he was ducking the respective fighters but the fight with Joseph Parker seems to have answered all the questions being lobbied at him because whilst Parker isn’t as explosive as Ortiz he is faster, he is more sprightly and he’s every bit as technical as Pulev so, in a way, he got the best of both worlds.
I wouldn’t have said it three years ago but Dillian Whyte has proved me, and many critics wrong, and I’m happy to hold my hands up with regards to that because it was never anything personal but, for me, Dillian Whyte is the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders.
AJ in April? Sounds like a plan.
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Number 2 ranked heavyweight contender
Pulev is an interesting character, vastly underrated by fans and extensively avoided by fellow fighters, his technical style of boxing is one that hasn’t exactly played into his hands because with him not being a HUGE puncher, his technical and defensive aspect are exponentially enhanced and it makes him one heck of a challenge for anyone brave enough to take him on.
Dillian Whyte opted not to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev and Jarrell Miller is another to have avoided stepping into unknown territory for the fight – which the IBF sanctioned, in both cases, as a final eliminator – and it’s not the location that is the sticking point but rather the risk-reward factor which strayed significantly into the risk region.
As I’ve said, Pulev relies on the technical fundamentals not to blast his opponents out of the ring but rather to get the better of them in the longer run, over the scheduled distance, with calculated punch output, shot selection, and beautifully timed footwork culminating in style of fighting bordering on art but so under-appreciated.
Another fighter to have taken on Dereck Chisora, emerge from the fight win the win and be levied with headlines of “Chisora fails to perform” as opposed to “Pulev outclasses Chisora”, Pulev hasn’t been one to avoid fights for the duration of his career and as a former European champion the Bulgarian has produced convincing wins on the big stage for a long, long time with the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson all falling foul of The Cobra’s leathal bite.
A former world title challenger Pulev has the experience of that level and whilst he’s not looked as sharp as his previous years, since his loss to Klitschko (in 2014) he has looked mentally more prepared whenever he steps in the ring – albeit against lesser opposition – and many were expecting him to provide Anthony Joshua with a stern test when they were scheduled to face-off and with Pulev back in the world title scene, there could still be life in the ageing cobra yet.
Tyson Fury – Lineal heavyweight champion of the world
This isn’t wrote in any order so before anyone gets in a huff as to my positioning of Fury in this list – or indeed my inclusion of him at all – let me explain why the lineal champion is in this “elite” overview;
Whatever you think of his last opponent – Sefer Seferi – Tyson Fury was the man who beat the man and, in doing so, made Klitschko look average and that is an achievement that simply cannot be overstated, it was beyond unexpected and Fury produced the goods.
Further to that his mental strength is, for me, the best of anyone in the division. He has had several well documented struggles and, let’s be clear, earned more than enough money for him to afford to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life. So there was no need for Fury to comeback, he had proved his doubters wrong, but it was his inner motivation to prove that he was better than Joshua, better than Wilder, better than everyone that pushed him to return and lose 8stone in the process. That’s super-human.
Fury himself is unconventional in fighting style with the ability to switch stances with ease combined with his freakish height and surprisingly lucid movement marking him out as one of the most unpredictable men in the ring – one second he’ll be staring out into the crowd and the next launching a furious flurry into the body of his opponent.
And that is what marks him out from the other guys on this list because whilst they are all exceptional fighters in their own right, they are distinctly predictable – you know what you’re getting with each of them – but with Fury you get the impression that not even he knows. He’s no stranger to being an underdog, either, and dealing with the pressure of fighting in the away corner so his ability to handle those situations are incredible.
Fighting Francesco Pianeta on August 18th, Fury is targeting two further fights by the end of 2018 before mounting a serious challenge to the belts he used to own and with discussions already being held about the potential for a fight with Deontay Wilder, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he’s back where he belongs.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT, a look at the heavyweight elite boxers and of course the use of the term elite is entirely subjective, it’s merely my top 5 and there are plenty of guys that could have warranted being featured but, hey, nobody said it was easy!
Tyson Fury Returns to Defeat Seferi
By: Oliver McManus
Tyson Fury’s much-awaited return saw The Gypsy King back doing his thing, Sefer Seferi’s soul was soundly shellacked as he made his first foray into fighting in the United Kingdom – probably his last, too – the raucous atmosphere of near 20,000 fans exploded into life and Frank Warren stood proudly in the ring like an old school teacher witnessing his pupil achieve the greatest of successes.
Having lost 8st 2lbs since getting back in the gym, Fury was still unbelievably 4st heavier than Seferi but, by gosh, was he by far the physically imposing figure and within 12 seconds he had already set about taunting his Albanian opponent.
Seferi looked reminiscent of Brian Sutherland – remember him? – but Tyson Fury did little to impress in the opening round just looking far too relaxed, almost mocking his opponent and appearing to treat this as an exhibition contest.
Farcical, almost, there were flashbacks to David Haye vs Audley Harrison except 10x worse but Fury began to actually throw punches in the second round with fast, fleeting hands finding the target but having very little impact.
Phil Edwards, the referee, had to have words worth Fury and there began to be a genuine thought that Fury could be disqualified but before any noticeable action happened within the ring, a fight erupted outside of it.
The state of this fight is perhaps best summed up by the fact my 53 year old father, who I was watching with, fell asleep before the end of the third round and, god, it was becoming a real snooze-fest.
Fury looked bored and for all the hype surrounding his comeback this was, make no mistake about it, a borderline disgraceful performance. Aside from the fact his opponent offered nothing in return, Fury knew he could do anything and still win every single round.
Four rounds in and he produced some serious stuff, showing the class that made him world champion with good shot selection and but in even more farcical scenes, Sefer Seferi stayed on his stool at the end of the fourth round having come to Britain, pocketed 30 grand and done nothing!
The less said about this fight the better but Tyson Fury got the win to kick-start his career yet again.
Terry Flanagan was moving up in weight class having made six defences of his WBO Lightweight title and faced Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker for the same organization’s super-lightweight belt; Hooker was first into the ring and remained convinced throughout that he would be the man to take Flanagan’s unbeaten record and planned to “punch Flanagan straight in the f***ing mouth”.
Hooker was one a half inch taller than Flanagan and came into the bout with a nine inch reach advantage over the, technically outstanding, southpaw.
Flanagan, in the bright blue shorts, was looking to become the 10th British multi-weight champion and the first to do so in the light and super-light divisions. Fast and nippy on his feet, Flanagan bounced in and out with ease to keep Hooker’s brain ticking over and whilst Hooker looked aesthetically the bigger man – no surprise given his larger stature – the opening round was awkwardly cautious with the American underdog failing to settle into a rhythm and Flanagan utilising his footwork as opposed to his hands.
Hooker failed to connect with anything meaningful but threw some overhand rights to signify his intent whilst Flanagan stayed busy, kept the higher work-rate, to establish his tag as the favourite.
A scamperous, enthusiastic Flanagan looked incredible in terms of movement as he bounced around the ring to stay out of range from Hooker resulting in technical opening third to the fight with neither boxer willing to commit 100% to their game-plan but both staying in contention with tough-to-call rounds.
Fourth round saw fire aplenty with both men starting to gain confidence and throwing shots more regularly, Hooker often followed through with secondary punches to double-up on Terry Flanagan before some nasty head-action followed by dirty punches from Hooker left Flanagan feeling uncomfortable.
Into the fifth round and Hooker enacted that game-plan of his, landing square to the face of Flanagan with the Manchester man getting visibly angered, leading with his head – there was danger of this fight all going to waste for Terry with him showing little interest in the bout.
Perhaps this would be an all too familiar tale of an unknown American coming over to Britain and catching us, maybe arrogant, Brits unaware – Caleb Truax, anyone? A huge cut from Flanagan opened up in the seventh after Flanagan fired sensational shots into Hooker, battering up his opponent like a jumbo sausage with the pressure being piled on from a fighter aware that time was not his friend.
Hooker acting like an amateur-dramatics teacher began to fall victim to the open irritation of Flanagan who tried to step up the pressure on a fatiguing Hooker with the pride of Manchester showing guts of his own to inspire the crowd, landing at will on the American as the fight began to hot-up, Flanagan finding rhythm.
Replays showed that a concussive crack of heads between the two fighters resulted in the gaping clash of heads and with Frank Hopkins in Flanagan’s corner there could be no better man to ensure Flanagan had every fighting chance possible to come out with his second weight world title.
ON THE ROPES was Hooker towards the final third of the eight with Flanagan teeing off on his American opponent with the cut ever worsening but the heart of an absolute lion the only thing carrying Terry into war-like territory.
Claret flowing into the eyes of Turbo surely put paid to criticism, beforehand, that Flanagan was a boring fighter because this was shaping up into a real fire-fight – intentional or not, that’s a different question.
The British fighter came into the fight with far more experience and expectation was that the championship rounds would see him home and Hooker’s corner seemed to be increasingly nervy as the final three rounds got underway but, without doubt, the scorecards were far closer than either corner could imagine.
Flanagan started the 10th with yet another burst of energy, springing into the face of Hooker and firing off with some delightful left hands but Hooker retained in close contact with the former Champion and it was anyone’s guess who was leading on the scorecards with two rounds to go.
Truth be told this was disappointing from Flanagan, vastly disappointing, and it’s hard to say he deserved the win but, then again, the same could be said for Hooker – it was just a fight that failed to really showcase either of their skills; Hooker was more flashy but you’d make an argument that Flanagan was the more gritty, technical boxer.
Flanagan raided into the 12th round, a man on a mission, and came blasting into the round sending fire and fury cascading into the face of Hooker – this was the crescendo hoped for and with Flanagan fighting to the tempo of the crowd it looked as though he was getting the better of an awkward, lanky American who was fighting to elevate his career into unknown potential.
Terry coped well with the pressure, Hooker dealt with the occasion well and the cleaner work was carried off by the British fighter, the more experienced professional whereas Hooker fought dirty but hard – it’s hard to take a warming to his style and many of the fans didn’t.
The bell sounded and there was a warm, nervous applause from the crowd at the Manchester Arena, no-one really knowing which way the fight was going to go.
A split decision, 115-113, 111-117, 117-111, in favour of Maurice Hooker seemed to tell a different tale to the fight that unfolded at the Manchester Arena. It’s unjust but it’s not a rematch you want to see.
Ricky Hatton’s heavyweight protégé Nathan Gorman was the opening bout of the television broadcast up against Sean ‘Big Sexy’ Turner who promised to wipe the grin off the rapidly rising 21 year old, Frank Warren fighter.
The fight opened tentatively with Gorman throwing repeated double jabs and when the Sean worked his way up close – into phonebox territory – Gorman launched flurry after flurry of ferocious uppercuts with menace packed behind them.
Turned – who went the distance with Filip Hrgovic earlier this year – was undoubtedly the most durable of opponents to have stepped in the ring with Gorman but appeared to be lazy in his head movement, becoming an almost static target for the relaxed fighter to pick off at will.
A right hand uppercut in the 2nd round dropped Turned in his own corner, a heavy shot that emphasised the gulf in quality between the two combatants but Turner rose on the bell and lived to face the third round.
Gorman started that third round, of a scheduled ten, with a sustained barrage lasting about 30 seconds in attempt to blast Turner out of the ring and whilst Big Sexy stayed mobile, Gorman hit back after a fifteen second breather with two successive uppercuts to rock the Irishman followed be a flurry on the ropes to stop Sean Turner on the ropes and move the talented heavyweight talent to 13 victories without defeat.
A statement made, no doubt.
On the undercard JJ Metcalf fought Aitor Nieto – who’d never been stopped – for the WBC International Super Welterweight title and took to the centre of the ring right from the off, establishing his superiority from the off to keep a sustained pressure despite the attempted high temp from his Spanish appointment.
A controlled performance from Metcalf, who always looked like the better technical fighter, looked to be going the distance but in the 12th round, Kid Shamrock unleashed a thunderous blind-side left hook to drop Nieto to the floor and with the Spaniard’s legs betraying him, ever-stiffening, Metcalf went in for the kill with Nieto looking to cling on.
With 90 seconds to go the fight was halted momentarily to let Metcalf re-bind his gloves, allowing Nieto precious time to recover but, if anything, Metcalf emerged the more invigorated of the two, stalking his opponent patiently throughout the ring before a HUGE punch sent his opponent scampering across the full diameter of the ring – Victor Loughlin came in with the merciful stop but, boy, did Metcalf show some stamina.
Mark Heffron was sin the shape and fight of his life against Andrew Robinson for the vacant WBC International Middleweight Championship. Heffron was the favourite but Robinson had never been stopped and both had their eyes on this as the fight in which to take a substantial step up.
Neither fighter shied away in the opening rounds with both standing in the middle of the ring – a little tentative in the timing of their punches but both showing conviction and intent a plenty. Heffron was hammering in shots to the body in order to fatigue the body of Robinson, at one point landing a substantially low blow, and the better work rate was enough to win the first three rounds over his more experienced counterpart.
An enjoyable fight to watch, the sixth round ignited with a continued body attack to the iron-will of Robinson but, consequently, in the barrage of punches there was a variety of low punches that saw energy sap from Robinson and Ian John Lewis giving a final warning.
A great shot in the immediate restart rattled the brain of Robinson as he began to duck and weave, bent over near the ropes, Heffron swinging wildly, connecting with some and missing with others but they all counted to the downfall of Andrew Robinson who fell victim to a sixth round knockout from the Oldham favourite who, yet again for this card, MADE A STATEMENT!
Also on the bill – Lyndon Arthur out-pointed, experienced and tough, Charles Adamu by 60-54, Jordan Thompson secured a 4th round stoppage as did Alex Dickinson to move 5 and 0 with the win against David Howe, Jack Massey got a 2nd round victory and Zac Burton successfully completed his debut with a 40-36 victory.
Tyson Fury Return & Flanagan vs. Hooker Preview
By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday night marks the return of the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury after almost 3 years outside of the ring since his 2015 victory over then heavyweight king, Wladimir Klitschko. Taking on Sefer Seferi 23-1 (21KOs) over a scheduled 10 rounds.
From being stripped of the IBF belt within weeks of clinching 4 titles (IBF, WBA, WBO & Ring) that came with beating the 11-years undefeated Ukrainian; then vacating the WBA & WBO citing health issues; to eventually losing the Ring Magazine belt due to inactivity earlier this year; it’s been a rollercoaster of events since that night at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.
But the ride looks to be back on a steady rise again, and the lineal champion is ready to prove he’s better than ever.
‘I feel like I’ve been a goldfish in a tank and now I’m getting released back into the river where I belong,’ Fury told a packed-out press conference on Wednesday, ‘So just put me there and watch me swim.’
‘I’ve been out 1000 days, it’s a long time for anybody isn’t it? Not to mention the amount of weight I put on, 8 stone…I’m looking good, I’m flying…I’ve got better looking by the day.’
Fury, 25-0 (18KOs) admitted to rising to 27.5 stone. Compare that to the weight he expects to enter the ring this weekend, ‘Anywhere around 19’7.’
‘I feel sharper now, faster than I’ve ever been. More power. I just want it more.’
On his opponent, whose most notable fight came in a 10-round decision loss to Manuel Charr in 2016,
‘I’ve met his manager before, he was the manager of Christian Hammer, and I pumped his ass too. Listen Sefer’s a good fighter, I’m not underestimating Sefer. I look at him like I look at Wladimir, Joshua, Wilder, anybody.’
Seferi, according to Boxrec rankings, is Albania’s 2nd best cruiserweight (below brother, Nuri) and Europe’s 44th, having primarily fought most of his pro career at, or below 200lb. But, it was unrealistic to expect a top 10 level opponent as Tyson himself claimed a number of months ago.
Saturday’s fight is all about one man shaking off the rust and announcing his ring return.
Terry Flanagan vs Maurice Hooker
Fury may be the biggest name fighter on Saturday’s Manchester Arena bill, but he’s certainly not involved in the biggest bout. That honour goes to former WBO world lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan who takes on Texas native, Maurice Hooker, 22-0-3 (16KOs) for the vacant WBO super-lightweight championship.
‘Turbo’ Flanagan, 33-0 (13KOs) made five decent, but somewhat underwhelming defences of the lightweight strap he attained back in 2015, including convincing victories over Diego Magdaleno, Derry Matthews and Petr Petrov. But the Manchester native, who fights for a world title for the 4th time in his home city, was never able to secure the big unification bouts that were rumoured to be in development against the likes of IBF champion, Robert Easter Jr, or former WBA and Ring 135 champion, Jorge Linares.
In any case, speaking to ‘Fight Hub TV’, the southpaw is now ready to become a 2-weight world champion,
‘I wanted Linares, I wanted Lomachenko, I wanted them all, but they just didn’t happen…For some reason these fighters don’t. Maybe they see me as little reward and big risk.
‘I’ve prepared for elite fighters, I’ve not prepared for a Maurice Hooker, I’ve prepared for better,’
Terry fought just once last year, a 12-round defence against Petr Petrov and was due to fight his mandatory, Felix Verdejo around June time but pulled out because of a leg injury, before then deciding to make the move up in weight to 140.
‘Might Mo’ Hooker, trained by Vince Parra is yet to go the 12-round distance, going 2-0-1 in his last 3 fights over 10, including a split decision draw with former WBA lightweight champion, Darleys Perez on the KovalevWard1 undercard.
Hooker has so far made his career at super-lightweight and speaking to ‘British Boxers’, the American feels the difference in weight is going to be a big disadvantage for his British opponent,
‘The extra 5lb, my height, my power, my skills, everything; Terry’s not an exciting fighter and I’m ready for Saturday and I’m gonna take it to him.’
‘He’s soft. He was a champion at 135, how you gonna be a champion and not fight nobody?…He got a good matchmaker, they’re finding him these little guys to fight at 135.’
If Flanagan emerges the victor on the night, he’ll match fellow Mancunian, Ricky Hatton in becoming a two-weight world champion, and ‘Turbo’, though trying not to overlook his upcoming opponent, sees his future rising up at least another weight class,
‘I’m plenty big enough, I’m tall enough…I’m happy at the minute where I am but if them opportunities come up again at the weight above, I’ll jump at the chance.’
Tyson Fury’s Next Opponent: Sefer Seferi
By: Oliver McManus
Tyson Fury returns to the ring on June 9th after a substantial two and half year absence enforced by a variety of compounding issues resulting in the withdrawal of his license and despite such lengthy ring-rust the Lineal champion is looking in the shape of his life having lost eight stone since returning to the gym.
The former IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the world will be up against, 23-1, Sefer Seferi who calls himself The Real Deal – indeed the Albanian, born in Macedonia, will be looking to cause an upset of untold magnitude when he looks to dance with the devil in Manchester.
On the face of it that record looks like the opponent you want for a comeback fight – far more appetizing than the likes of a 17 wins, 19 losses, Jakov Gospic who, for many, was the expected level of opposition – with his 21 knockout victories appearing to be show immense one-punch power.
Look deeper at Seferi’s opponents and you’ll find that a mere five of them came into the bout with winning records and his last opponent – Laszlo Hubert – was a seventy-four fight veteran, 23 of those being losses (22 via knockout) and edging ever closer to his 43rd birthday.
The real deal got the job done in the 2nd round against the Hungarian who showed no real desire to fight and Seferi’s opponent prior to that was Marcelo Ferreira dos Santos for the World Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title which brings us neatly onto the second issue with Sefer.
Very simply put – he’s a cruiserweight! Not a cruiserweight who’s floated up into heavyweight and had success – akin to David Haye but on a smaller level – but an out and out cruiserweight who’s only ever had one notable fight in the heavier division.
To be fair it’s hard to say that the Albanian has even made a splash in the pond of the cruiserweight scene so the credentials for picking him are slim-to-none and when he did step up to fight Manuel Charr – now WBA Regular Champion – in September 2016, he lost via a 10 round unanimous decision.
If you can take BoxRec’s rankings too seriously you’ll see that the 39 year old isn’t even ranked as the best cruiserweight in Albania – that honour goes to his older brother Nuri.
Nonetheless it’s the padded record we’re familiar with a variety of boxers such as William Bezerra (a 41-0, 40 KO cruiserweight who’d never advanced past South American level) and is a paper-opponent you’d expect to see in with Tyson after such a lengthy absence.
Indeed I’d raise the point that you can expect Seferi to go further than the 40 seconds that Phil Lo Greco endured in with Amir Khan at the back end of April and Khan received far less stick for his choice of opponent than Fury has done and, no doubt will continue to do so, after his performance on June 9th.
Whilst Sefer Seferi does little to raise hopes of an immediate return to world level for Tyson Fury, when you look at where Fury was 12 months ago it makes the prospect of him getting back where he belongs even more realistic because he’s back fighting and, let’s be honest, few of us truly believed we’d see him back – at whatever level – and whilst this journey will take longer than many would hope for, let’s just enjoy it whilst it lasts because you never truly appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Fury Responds to Klitschko, Shows Respect for Joshua and Wilder
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury has shrugged off Wladimir Klitschko’s claims that he will lose to Anthony Joshua and disappear from boxing “like a fart in the wind”.
Speaking to Michelle Joy Phelps of Behind the Gloves, Fury was unmoved by his former adversary’s words, stating “well that’s typical Wladimir Klitschko, he would never be able to give me the credit that I deserve.”
It’s no secret that Klitschko isn’t a fan of the “Gypsy King”, who constantly tormented him in the build-up to their world title fight nearly three years ago.
Fury rubbed further salt into the wound by comprehensively out-boxing him in Cologne and says “even on the night in Germany he couldn’t make the effort to say he lost to a better man and he did.”
“He didn’t just lose, he got played with. Like I’ve said time and time again, if that’s the so-called super-champion, he got beaten by a fat man so how dare he talk to me like that,” Fury says.
Klitschko says Joshua will beat Fury because he has more desire and discipline than the Manchester native.
However, Fury feels that the Ukrainian is only backing “AJ” because he has a better relationship with him and says the former lineal heavyweight champion is still bitter about losing to him all those years ago.
“I’m sure him and Joshua are chum buddies and they support each other, but in hindsight we know who gave Wladimir the hardest fight,” he says.
“Joshua won by the skin of his teeth and had to climb off the canvas, Wladimir couldn’t land a punch on me in 12 rounds,” according to Fury.
Prior to his hiatus from the sport, Fury had a reputation for trash-talking his opponents and getting under their skin.
However, he has had plenty of nice things to say about Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder recently.
“I think they’re very fine specimens of men, they’re very good looking, they’re very athletic and they’re very good boxers,” he says.
“They’ve come from nothing and I’m so proud that they’ve changed their stars, their family, everything. I’m sure they’re getting everything they’ve ever dreamed of,” Fury says.
He bears no ill-will towards either fighter and hopes that they will be set for life by the time their careers are over.
“People are talking about $50 million, I think they deserve $250 million. Any fighter that gets in there and gets punched in the face for a living deserves a lot more than they ever get,” he says.
“It’s the hardest sport in the world, not just physically and mentally, but also being away from your family, being locked away in training camps,” according to Fury.
“The public don’t understand how much pain, torture and sacrifice is needed to get to that level of success,” Fury says.
Fury believes that Wilder will prevail when they finally face each other in the ring, however, as he holds a speed advantage.
“Wilder’s very quick and very accurate and he’s very dangerous,” he says.
“Anthony is dangerous too, but I just think the speed factor favours Wilder and the fighter who gets there quicker and first will be Wilder for me,” according to Fury.
He has had a tense relationship with Joshua in the past, but Fury insists he is not biased.
“I don’t like either of them more than the other. I know Joshua, I know Wilder, and I’ve met them both face to face. I like them equally,” he says.
“It is a heavyweight bout and anything can happen while they’re in there, but if I was putting 20 quid on it, I’d put it on Wilder to win,”
If the fight materializes, Fury will certainly be watching with interest as he is likely to face one or both men in the future.
Tyson Fury Announces Return
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Tyson Fury is officially back, but he won’t be fighting Joshua or Wilder just yet.
Former Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury has finally agreed terms with promoter Frank Warren and is set to return to the ring on the 9th of June against an as yet unnamed opponent.
Speaking at the official announcement in Manchester, Fury promised that he will recapture the belts he won against the great Wladimir Klitschko over two years ago.
“I’m back to reclaim what is rightfully mine and that’s the world,” says the outspoken former champion.
“There are a lot of people out there who are claiming to be the world’s best, and I know for a fact they’re not,” he says.
However, Frank Warren says he will not be rushing Fury into a world title fight anytime soon as he will need three or four fights to get “fighting fit” first.
“He’s going to be busy and he needs to get some rounds under his belt first,” he says.
Fury agreed, saying “by the time I return I’ll have been out for about 2 years and 7 months, so that’s going to be one of the longest comebacks in heavyweight history for a world champion”.
“It’s going to be an interesting journey if I’m honest and there are a lot of challenges out there that I’m looking forward to,” Fury says.
Fury, 29, is undefeated and rather than losing his belts in the ring, was forced to vacate them after suffering serious mental health problems.
In his absence, Anthony Joshua has claimed three out of the four heavyweight belts, while Deontay Wilder holds the WBC title.
Fury says that once he has a few fights under his belt, neither fighter will pose a major threat to him.
“Given the right time and the right amount of fights, all of those guys, I don’t believe that they’re going to be much of a match for me,” he says.
“My speed, agility and skill will be too much for what we have today, sluggers and wild punchers,” says Fury.
He says of Joshua “he’s looking for one punch all night, anyone who can move a little bit and who faints, he struggles against and he can’t land on.”
“I’ll outbox him for a few rounds and then knock him out, he’s not the hardest man in the world to hit,” he boldly states.
Fury says he bears no ill-will towards Joshua, however, despite the fact that “AJ” has taken his belts and become a huge star in the process.
“I’d just like to congratulate the fellow, he’s done very well. I gave up my belts voluntarily because I had bigger fish to fry and that was my own health and now I’m back and it’s up to me to get it all back,” says Fury.
“It hasn’t been frustrating, it’s been exciting. I’ve had many good Saturday nights watching the fellow. He’s an exciting fighter and I can’t wait to get in there and prove I’m still the best,” he says.
He feels that Wilder is the best fighter in the division at the moment because “he’s dangerous until the last two seconds of the fight”.
“As we’ve seen against Ortiz, he was losing the fight all the way through and he only needs to land one punch and unlike AJ, he has the agility and speed to throw from anywhere,” Fury says.
Fury sees plenty of weaknesses in Wilder’s game though, saying that “he’s a bit weak around the whiskers and he’s not the best boxer in the world so they’re all very beatable”.
Many have questioned whether Fury will ever be the same fighter after his mental health issues and enormous weight gain.
Having spent the last few months training hard and shedding the pounds, he says “let’s just say I’m a lot, lot, lot lighter than I’ve been in the past”.
He insists that he is now in peak physical condition and that his “timing, reflexes, everything, are better than they have ever been.”
“Achilles is back. I’m 29 years old and coming into the prime of my life. I’m stronger now and faster and looking at the competition out there, it should be relatively easy,” he says.
We’ll find out if he’s right in just two months.
Is The Gypsy King About to Reclaim his Crown?
By: John Hoolan
The supposed return of Tyson Fury to boxing has taken well over two years, his return to a boxing ring may well take longer or it might not even happen at all. However Fury is nothing if not the king of getting the media, via social media into a frenzy and everyone seems to have an opinion on him and what he should do next.
He has stated on many occasions lately via his social media outlets that he wants Anthony Joshua next. Not next month or next phase of the moon, but the very next fight. His comeback fight in fact. A great many think this to be a good idea, after all Fury beat the man (Klitschko) in his own back yard after ten years of dominance, and won the IBF, WBA, IBO, WBO, Ring Magazine and Lineal Titles, through a masterclass (I’ll come back to that), only to see him stripped of it all bar the supposed most important title of all.
Tyson Fury is still the Lineal Champion of the World and this is the thread/hope his supporters and himself cling too. The fact that he won it over two years ago, hasn’t come close to fighting since, has had some personal issues, served a ban and ballooned in weight to twenty five stone, seem to mean nothing at all and are totally irrelevant.
Is it right that a man can be lineal champion, not fight for over two years, announce his retirement at least three times in that time span and still be the lineal champ? I suggest not, quite a few others vehemently disagree with me. Fury is the king and will be forever comes the main chorus from that choir.
The world has turned a few times in the last twenty six or so months, perhaps it has stood still for some and gone backwards for others…
In fairness to Joshua he has remained fairly quiet on the subject of fighting Fury anytime soon until earlier today in the Daily Mail, when he said of the proposed fight –
“That’s more of a fantasy at the moment. It’s just that he’s not fit and he hasn’t had a fight. The ball is in his court. We’ve stayed consistent, we’ve defended the titles, we’ve won and we’ve captured more titles. If Fury was still fit, we would probably be talking about Fury for March.”
Of course this is already being called a duck by the Fury camp and his supporters, with Fury replying on social media –
“Just seen Anthony Joshua trying to play my challenge down saying I’ve not had a fight & not fit! I’m ready for this summer, don’t shit yourself now it’s been put on you!? When your the lineal champion in your division your number 1 even without alphabet titles. The truth. So whatever people want to say it will be AJ challenging me for my status!!! THE LINEAL HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. & RING MAGAZINE HOLDER.”
The fact Joshua is almost certain to sign for the Parker unification shortly after weeks of negotiations will again mean nothing. David Higgins from Duco is flying over to the UK this week, so the deal is as good as done. Team Fury followers will be whipped up into a frenzy and Joshua will again be seen as a coward and the lesser champion.
Some would argue that Joshua already has the better legacy over Fury however, perhaps that’s a discussion for another time.
The highlight (and it was some highlight) of Fury’s career was clearly beating Klitschko to take all those titles however, it was not the masterclass, schooling or beating that many would like us to think. Fury actually landed a punch on Klitschko less than 90 times in the whole of the 12 rounds, or 36 minutes.
Let that sink in for a second.
Less than ninety times in the whole of the twelve rounds, that is just over seven punches a round, seven punches in three minutes.
So with that in mind lets get away from the nonsense thoughts of a masterclass and even “Ali-esque” as quoted by some. It was spoiling tactics against an ageing champion. To be fair those were tactics that won the fight and titles however and whilst there were many euphoric roars from the British media/public at the time, as people have looked back at it since then, especially since the Joshua vs Klitschko fight was given fight of the year, those roars have become more like whimpers.
Tyson is no longer trained by his uncle Peter and is now instead trained by the very capable Ben Davison. The split from Peter shocked a lot of the boxing world, certainly within the UK however, perhaps it could be the best for Tyson. A completely fresh start as it were.
All that seems to be missing from Tyson’s armoury now is a promoter capable of matching his potential ability and his persona with some big money fights. I can only think that Hearn or perhaps Warren in the Uk are the only two big enough for the Fury ego. Warren has already tried to tame him before, but wasn’t able too. Hearn may relish the challenge whilst the old friend of the family (Mick Hennessey) is not going to be able to promote Tyson Fury on YouTube.
Perhaps a potential link up with Hearn led to the split with Peter Fury.
Kubret Pulev has been out of the limelight since having to pull out of the Joshua fight through a shoulder injury. There is a strong possibility he could the first defence for Manuel Charr for his WBA “regular” title.
Tyson Fury could do worse than fighting David Price as a comeback fight and then fighting the winner of Pulev vs Charr. He needs to get rid of the rust and there will be plenty. Win those two fights and it’s an easy way for him to get a ranking and also a sure fire way to build a future huge money legitimate fight against Joshua or even Wilder.
Whatever the future holds for Tyson Fury, I hope he has now beaten his personal issues and can focus on the rest of his career.
Love him or loathe him, the world heavyweight scene is a hell of a lot more interesting with Fury involved.
The Boxing Mad Man.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheBoxingMadMan
Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua: A Fight of Compatibility
By: Waqas Ali
Without any doubt, this fight would be dubbed as one of the biggest domestic fights in British boxing history.
The comparison in styles, skills and techniques are completely in inarguable.
Both Joshua and Fury have immense talent that would make any boxing fan to use it as a tool of arguing ones point and as evidence.
But the question at this moment remains is: Is there any closure to getting the fight made?
Not quite or even the slightest.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) has called out Joshua numerous times on Twitter including a recent stating: “Fantastic first week in camp. The weight is pulling off. I’m more focused and determined than ever, if @anthonyfjoshua don’t have the balls to sign to fight me then I’ll be out in late April/Early May. Feel like I never left!
Fantastic first week in camp,
The weight is flying off,
I'm more focused & determined than ever, if @anthonyfjoshua don't have the balls to sign to fight me then I'll be out in late April/Early may,
Feel like I never left!??
— TYSON2FASTFURY (@Tyson_Fury) January 6, 2018
Joshua, who has been spending time in Dubai with his family has yet to respond to the tweet.
Joshua also known as ‘AJ’ last fought in October ’17 when he stopped Carlos Takam in ten rounds retaining his IBF title. Six months earlier, he fought in a competitive slugfest with 41-year-old former unified champion Wladamir Klitschko and stopped him in the eleventh round.
The fight was watched by more than ten million viewers in Germany and peaked at 658,000 viewers on America’s Showtime.
Fury’s last bout was back in November 2015 when he defeated Klitschko for the WBO, WBA, IBF, and the IBO heavyweight titles.
He also became the first fighter of Irish descent in 121 years to win the heavyweight title since Bob Fitzsimmons who won the belt in 1897.
Perhaps one of the main differences between AJ (20-0, 20 KOs) and Fury was the way they individually fought Klitschko.
Fury took control right from the very first round by using his height, reach and footwork to outwork Klitschko.
The famous Klitschko right hand did not come until ten rounds later when the Ukrainian finally landed the shot but did very little effect.
A complete clinical performance from Fury saw hit the Compubox numbers of throwing 371 punches and landing 86 with a connect percentage standing at 23%.
Klitschko, who constantly clinched and performed very little activity against Fury, threw 231 and landed just 52 (23%).
With Anthony Joshua, Klitschko gained some momentum in the fight. Especially in round five where he was knocked down by AJ and took control with the remaining one minute eleven seconds of the round and stunned the Watford born fighter.
Klitschko again took control in round six when he knocked down AJ with a 1-2 combination. The next remaining rounds were competitive with each fighter gaining momentum and exchanging hard hitting shots.
That all changed in round 11 when AJ stopped Klitschko after dropping to the canvas once again and forcing the referee to stop the bout.
CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 107 of his 355 punches thrown (30%), and Klitschko landed 94 of 256 (37%).
In terms of height and reach, Fury stands at six feet nine inches with an 85 inch reach. Whereas AJ stands at 6 feet 6 inches with an 82 inch reach.
By looking at the context of the bouts with Klitschko we can see a range of differences of how each fighter fought but the question of Fury’s inactivity of two years will be raised in many of the boxing fans’ mind.