It’s been six weeks since Tyson Fury handed Deontay Wilder a beating to win the WBC Heavyweight Championship. The Gypsy King destroyed Wilder in a manner rarely seen in such a high profile world title event.
This wasn’t just a win. It was a one-sided beat down of the American; with Fury looking every bit the man that made a mockery of Klitschko back in November 2015.
Fury had clearly outfoxed the American leading up to this fight. Weighing in heavier than the first bout, and having told everyone he intended to knockout Wilder in the second round, I firmly believe that Fury trained precisely for this instance, and this would be his game plan going in. I’m not sure Wilder quite realised what he had let himself in for by taking the rematch.
Wilder looked a rabbit in the headlights from the opening bell. Fury ploughed through the American in quick time, causing serious damage to Wilder’s ear in the opening rounds. This affected Wilder’s balance and footwork and Fury took full advantage, coming forward with disregard for anything coming his way.
Fury continued to steam forward, cheered on by the partisan crowd containing thousands of Brits who had made the journey across the pond. Fury’s confidence brim-full and the realisation that his destiny was a matter of minutes away, pummeled Wilder again and again as he came threw a thunderous jab, backing up Wilder until there was nowhere left to hide and scoring two crushing knockdowns.
The feared huge right hand of the American was no longer a threat, Fury fully comprehended at every moment just how badly Wilder was suffering and poured on the pain.
As the referee called a halt to proceedings - Wilder’s team had thrown in the towel in the seventh round -the elation that Fury had finally returned to the top echelon of boxing’s elite became clear. The transformation from a broken former champion, a weight-loss journey and mental health recovery to the heavyweight champion of the world.
In the first encounter it appeared that the real Fury was lurking just under the surface, given another few months of preparation it’s likely he would have been too much for Wilder and most felt he did enough to win the first meeting regardless of the judges scoring.
The second fight was a very different story, Fury had a couple of decent build-up fights under his belt and had become as he put it “match fit”. He was no longer having to fight weight loss whilst training and so was able to train harder and change the manner of his training in order to build strength and conditioning.
Fury’s father, John, had openly criticised Tyson’s former trainer and close friend, Ben Davison, stating that his son should be fighting at 19 stone plus to show his strengths inside the ring. To give his Father credit, he was correct on this showing.
Fury parted ways amicably with his friend and wanted to make changes quickly in the run-up to the fight, he enlisted the help of Sugarhill Steward, a world-renowned trainer that he had previously worked with and knew well,
“If I was going there to nick a point’s win, I would have stuck with Ben [Davison] but I’m going there for a knockout”.
The changes that Fury made in the run-up to the fight have highlighted just how a fighter needs to be ready both mentally and physically in different ways for different fights.
In the first fight Fury wanted to come in light and use his movement and speed to avoid Wilder’s right hand, Fury was caught by the right hand a couple of times, it happens in Wilder’s fights, he shows very little right up to the point he knocks out an opponent with a devastating swing. It cost Fury at the end of the fight and he couldn’t quite avoid the big right hand for the full 12 rounds.
The second fight was a different story, he knew that he had to make changes to overcome Wilder’s main threat, he did just that, coming forward and backing up wilder to an extent very seldom seen in a championship bout. Wilder had clearly been totally embarrassed by the way in which he had been defeated, his ring entrance suit excuse being one of several that ultimately offered more embarrassment for him, the fact that his team had to throw the towel in was actually a display of the man’s toughness but that seemed to be quickly soured following the post-fight press conferences which offered nothing other than excuses.
Fury has shown everyone just what is possible with a mixture of hard work, self-belief, and a fantastic family around him, it’s great for boxing to have him back and especially as a champion. It brings closer the possibility of a fight that a couple of years ago seemed absolutely impossible, a huge stadium fight with fellow Brit Anthony Joshua. A fight that every boxing fan would love to see and it would be at a level that only comes along once in a lifetime.
The interest and money that such a fight would generate would be immense and would probably set new records in terms of revenue and PPV buys, if the fight itself lived up to the hype then it would also likely produce a sequel or sequels that would also break records.
It remains to be seen if Wilder will actually get in the ring a third time with Fury, having exercised his option of another rematch, the option of offering Wilder a payoff to stand aside to allow Fury vs Joshua was mentioned recently by Eddie Hearn, with such a beating in the last fight it might be a possibility for Wilder, the American perhaps hoping that Joshua would beat Fury so that it lined up “the fight that never was” with Joshua.