After their controversial draw in December 2018, Tyson Fury rematches Deontay Wilder next weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, for the WBC and the vacant Ring Magazine title. The rematch is renowned as the biggest heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis fought Evander Holyfield in 1999.
In the build-up to the first fight, Fury had two comeback fights against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta, under new and relatively inexperienced trainer Ben Davison. The primary focus was on Fury, who is regarded as the lineal heavyweight champion, cutting the weight that he had put on in the aftermath of the historical night in Dusseldorf. Fury defeated long reigning champion and ‘hall-of-famer’ Wladimir Klitschko. Conversely, Wilder faced his toughest test in the first Luis Ortiz fight, an undefeated Cuban who was regarded as the bogeyman of the heavyweights at the time, and was avoided by many in the division. Wilder was arguably saved by the bell after being rocked late in the seventh round. On the verge of being stopped, Wilder recovered and went on to drop Ortiz twice, with the referee waving the fight off.
The first Ortiz fight was deemed as Wilders acid test, which he passed, but not with flying covers.
In the first fight, Fury established an early lead on the scorecards, as he controlled his range well and imposed his awkward style, which Wilder had real difficulty adjusting to. Fury grew in confidence and started to land some eye-catching combinations, as Wilder struggled to land anything of any substance. However, as demonstrated in the Luis Ortiz fight, Fury had to be perfect as any mistake could prove to be fatal against Wilder, who is undoubtedly the most powerful puncher in the heavyweight division.
There was also the question of whether Fury would have the stamina to go 12 rounds, as he hadn’t gone 12 rounds since the Klitschko victory in November 2015. In the latter stages of the ninth round, Wilder finally found a breakthrough and caught Fury with a right hand, who consequently took a knee. However, an unfazed Fury saw out the rest of the round and didn’t show any signs that he was hurt. Fury started the 10th round strongly, who used his jab effectively and stuck to the game-plan. Time was of the essence for Wilder, who was still a mile behind on the scorecards even after the 10-8 round as Fury was still oozing with confidence. In the final round, Wilder landed a devastating right hand followed by a left hook, which sent Fury crashing to the canvas. The Barclays centre erupted as Wilder, convinced that the fight was over, started blowing kisses to his wife in the crowd, as Fury, head against the canvas, looked down and out. The referee was still counting as everyone in the Barclays Centre was convinced that the fight was over, apart from one man; Tyson Fury.
Miraculously, Fury got up and managed to beat the count. Some described it as a phoenix rising from the ashes. Others described it as the Undertaker rising from the canvas. Everyone in the arena couldn’t believe what they were seeing, whilst Wilder looked perplexed as his celebrations abruptly came to an end. Once again, Fury found a way to recover convincingly and went on to win the rest of the round, hurting Wilder and taunting him with his notorious gloves behind the back showboating. Ben Davison looked on in horror. When the final bell rang, Fury celebrated and climbed onto the top of the ropes, whilst Wilder looked on in anticipation. The judges’ scorecards were announced, which were scored 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113, resulting in a split decision draw, much to both fighters dismay. The historic twelfth round won the Ring Magazine Round of the Year 2018 award.
After the first fight, Fury signed a lucrative £80m multi-fight deal with Top Rank in February 2019. He has also fought Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. Meanwhile, Deontay Wilder arguably faced much stiffer competition in Dominic Breazeale, and especially in a rematch with Luis Ortiz.
After an eye-catching stoppage in an uncompetitive and complete mismatch against Tom Schwarz, Fury battled through and laboured to a unanimous decision victory against Otto Wallin, showing heart, grit and determination. Fury suffered a horrific cut to the eye in the third round which required 47 stiches. Meanwhile, Wilder produced yet another highlight reel knockout in the first round against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale. After comfortably winning every round, Luis Ortiz was on the receiving end of a devastating right hand from Wilder in the 11th round, who added yet another brutal knockout to his collection.
In preparation for the rematch, Tyson Fury has appointed Javan “SugarHill” Robinson as his new head trainer, as Fury was in search for a technical trainer with more experience. SugarHill is the nephew of the late hall-of-fame trainer Emmanuel Steward, and Fury had previously worked with Emmanuel Steward and SugarHill back in 2010. Fury has stated to the media that he is training to knock Wilder out and leave it out of the hands of the judges.
A key difference though in the rematch is that Wilder knows what he’s coming up against, after going twelve rounds against Fury. Wilder will be able to make slight adjustments in the rematch.
A key adjustment will be to close the range and be more aggressive.
In the first fight, Fury was able to evade Wilder’s right hand due to Wilder throwing the shot too early and being out of range. Not only does Wilder need to be more calculated with his attacks, but he also needs to avoid loading up on the right hand. Wilder making these subtle changes will be pivotal to the course of the fight.
Popular boxing twitter-feed, ‘The Boxing Feed’, released a detailed perspective on the upcoming fight. They listed the various strengths of each boxer. This can be seen below:
Many have suggested that the first fight was Wilder’s best chance to beat Fury, who is now in much better shape, and has a more technical trainer. However, a key issue for Fury is the cut sustained from the Wallin fight. Due to the nature and severity of the cut, Wilder may target the right eye and try to reopen the cut.
Wilder Fury 2 will determine who the heavyweight kingpin is and, based on the first fight, fans can expect a spectacle.
Last modified: 18th February 2020