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Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought to a controversial draw when they met in December 2018, so will we get a definitive winner when these two heavyweights rematch for the WBC title on February 22?
Road To Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury 2
Tyson Fury’s comeback was one of the biggest stories in boxing in 2018. He was on top of the world when he dethroned legendary heavyweight Vladimir Klitschko to become world champion for the first time in November 2015, but it would be over two years before he would step foot inside the ring again as a battle with depression and issues over a failed drug test forced him onto the sidelines. The 30-year-old eventually made his return to action in June 2018, stopping Sefer Seferi inside four rounds in what was a truly farcical fight, and his next outing a couple of months later saw the former heavyweight champion go the distance with Francesco Pianeta in an underwhelming bout that was clearly designed for Fury to get some rounds under his belt before challenging Wilder later that year.
The decision to take on the unbeaten ‘Bronze Bomber’ so early into his comeback was called into question by many, but Fury had been doing a successful job in shifting the weight he had put on during his exile from boxing and he was insistent that he could go to Los Angeles, become the first man to beat Wilder and once again sit atop the heavyweight division. He came agonisingly close to doing just that. Fury outboxed Wilder for much of the contest, but he was dropped twice in the bout, with the second knockdown being a moment that will be shown for years to come. The challenger appeared to be done when the ‘Bronze Bomber’ sent him crashing to the canvas in the final round, but miraculously Fury was able to regain his senses, get back to his feet and finish off the contest.
Despite the two knockdowns many felt that he had still done enough to get the nod from the judges. However, two of the judges did not share that belief and that resulted in the fight being ruled a split decision draw, sparking an angry reaction from the thousands in attendance who felt the challenger had done enough to end Wilder’s perfect run in the professional ranks.
There were immediate calls for a rematch, and the WBC quickly confirmed it would give fans what they wanted. Fury, surprisingly, turned down the chance to immediately rematch Wilder, instead opting for a couple of ‘warm-up’ fights that hardly captured the imagination. He made quick work of Tom Schwarz in June before overcoming a nasty cut on his way to an uninspiring decision win over Otto Wallin, and while the former world champion was off fighting nobodies Wilder was making a return to winning ways with a couple of brutal knockout wins. Dominic Breazeale was sent packing inside a round in May and the ‘Bronze Bomber’ then dispatched of an aging Luis Ortiz inside seven rounds when they met in a rematch of their 2018 contest, which Wilder also won of course.
Both Wilder and Fury had avoided upset losses that would have derailed rematch plans for 2020, and just after Christmas it was confirmed that the two men would finally meet for a second time on February 22 with the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada playing host to the contest. So can Fury complete the job having gone so agonisingly close to beating Wilder last time out, or will the unbeaten champion leave no doubts with another trademark knockout success?
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury 2 Tips
There may not be a tougher fight to call this year than this rematch between Wilder and Fury. Fury went into that first meeting as the better technical boxer out of the two men and therefore it was no real surprise that he out-boxed the unbeaten champion for almost the full 12 rounds, but it was also no surprise when Wilder uncorked a couple of trademark big bombs to drop Fury to the canvas on a couple of occasions. The real shock was that Fury managed to somehow survive that second knockdown in the 12th and final round. He appeared to be dead to rights as he laid on the canvas looking up at the lights, but in scenes that went viral post-fight, Fury regained his senses, hauled himself back to his feet and went on to hear the final bell.
The judges then robbed him of a deserved win, but what that fight did do was prove that Fury simply has to fight the perfect fight to become the first man to beat Wilder. If Fury can outbox the ‘Bronze Bomber’ again, which he is perfectly capable of doing, and this time avoid the knockdowns, the judges will almost certainly have no choice but to declare him the world heavyweight champion after 12 rounds. However, on the flip side, can he survive another brutal knockdown at the hands of Wilder? The unbeaten champion may not be a master of the ‘sweet science’, but all it takes is for him to land one huge punch to either swing the fight in his favour or bring it to a definitive and violent end. We have seen it time and time again and, of course, we now know that he has the power to drop and hurt the challenger.
So can Fury fight the perfect fight or will Wilder land one big bomb? It really is tough to call, but I have to pick a winner and I find myself leaning towards another knockout success for Wilder here. For Fury to win he has to fight flawlessly for 36 minutes and that is a major ask. Wilder, meanwhile, needs just one split second and one punch to successfully retain his title. Even if he is outclassed for round after round, the champion’s punching power means that he is always in the contest and I just do not see Fury going 36 minutes without having his chin rattled by some wild, powerful punch from Wilder. Therefore I am leaning towards the champion leaving no doubts and perhaps finally setting up a huge winner-takes-all showdown with Anthony Joshua later this year.
What The Experts Are Saying
IBF, WBA & WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua talking to Sky Sports: “Fury has taken some relatively soft-touch fights to get his confidence back and is going into the New Year as a new man with a new team and a new mind-set. He must feel something within him that is new, and he wants to be the new heavyweight champion. He can beat Wilder providing he follows his game-plan for the 12 rounds. Wilder has shown that you can’t blink for a second with him, because it only takes one punch. Boxing is about hitting and not getting hit. Ortiz got hit with a big punch but Fury is evasive, a lot bigger, flicks out his jab. He is quite difficult to hit. Fury fought Wilder the first time after a long lay-off.”
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury Tale Of The Tape
What The Fighters Said
Deontay Wilder talking to Top Rank: “I’m happy and I’m excited that the rematch is finally happening. I want to give the fans what they want to see. I’ve been doing it with my last three outings – Fury, Breazeale and Ortiz. They’ve been spectacular events – from my ring walks where I gather all the energy of the people, to my uniforms that I wear to help spread that energy. Then I give them what they all come for – the knockouts, and my knockouts have been amazing. I proved myself the first time and I’m ready to do it again. It was a very controversial [first] fight [with Fury]. I promise my fans that there won’t be any controversy with this one. I’m going to finish it.”
Tyson Fury: “There’s no more ducking and diving. The date has been set, and the ‘Bomb Squad’ is about to be securely detonated and the real champion crowned as the world watches on for the most anticipated fight in years. This is unfinished business for me, but come February 22, this dosser will finally get what’s coming to him, and I can’t wait.”