Big-fight forecasts: Wilder vs Fury

Mick Gill
01/12/2018 1:43pm

Photo: Mike Stobe / Stringer (Getty Images)

Can Tyson Fury, after such a long spell of inactivity, recapture his old magic against the dangerous Deontay Wilder? Mick Gill canvasses predictions from 30 members of the fight fraternity...

Colin Hart (Hall of Fame journalist): Wilder wins by knockout in eight or nine rounds. Tyson is fighting him too soon. Muhammad Ali was out [of] the ring [for] three years and seven months, beat two top-10 contenders in Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena but still got beat by Joe Frazier. Tyson has only had one proper fight in three years, forget that pantomime with [Sefer] Seferi. Had Fury had four or five decent fights he’d beat Wilder, but just because he’s finally got all the weight off, doesn’t mean he’s fighting fit. No doubt he’ll mess Wilder around for six or seven rounds but then he’ll run out of steam. The Fury who defeated Wladimir Klitschko would beat both Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but I don’t believe we’ll ever see that man again.

Billy Nelson (trainer): Wilder wins in a good fight. He’s been more active and in more competitive fights the last few years. Fury’s very good and has the skill to win, but his inactivity is a big concern. He’s the better fighter and he’s too clever to get stopped.

Dereck Chisora (former world heavyweight title challenger): Wilder stops him. He can really hit. Tyson hasn’t found his rhythm since coming back. His two comeback fights were a joke. With another six to eight months prep, Tyson would beat Deontay.

Colin McMillan (former WBO featherweight champion): Difficult one. A really interesting fight for the division. So many intangibles. It all depends on what Tyson Fury turns up. Though my head says Wilder, I’ll go with my heart and back Fury. Wilder is exceptionally heavy handed, and he’s shown recently that he can get you late, if he doesn’t get you early. It’s inevitable that he’ll connect at some point and he definitely carries the equaliser. But Tyson has the size and mobility to cause any heavyweight trouble and he has the fighting spirit to come through any crisis. If he does get hurt, he’ll resort to boxing defensively, keep it long. Fury on points. The Fury who beat Klitschko would win, hands down.

Barry Jones (former WBO junior lightweight champion): Patriotism aside, you’ve got to go with Wilder. Tyson is capable of standing Wilder on his head with his ability and awkwardness, but he’s just been inactive for too long. The Tyson of 2015 would confuse and demoralise Wilder but, for this, his judgement of distance will need to be perfect and I doubt that it will be. Wilder is athletic but has no boxing skills and throws those power shots from down by his ankles. Tyson will slip and slide but, at some stage, one of Wilder’s bombs will land and Fury will get stopped. I hope I’m wrong but, on form, you have to side with Wilder.

Colin Jones (former world welterweight title challenger): Provided his health and fitness are back on track, I’m backing Fury to shock a few. He’s very unpredictable and underestimated. In good health, Tyson is very durable. Wilder can certainly hit but these big punchers open themselves up all the time. How long can he keep that style going? Assuming Tyson is in condition, I can see him taking the strength and stuffing out of Wilder. It’ll be dangerous for the first four rounds but then he’ll take over and win on points.

Anthony Farnell (trainer): I love Fury, but I have to go Wilder by stoppage. He’s too fast, too powerful and has been a lot more active. He’s got a big, big punch and Tyson can get hit. I believe Deontay is the best of the lot… chins ’em all. Tyson’s been out the ring too long. He can probably outbox Wilder for a bit, but I see him getting caught eventually. Luis Ortiz gave Wilder a tough fight but it’s very hard to spend 12 rounds with Wilder without getting hit clean. The division’s as bad as I’ve seen and Wilder certainly isn’t a great heavyweight compared to champions from the past, but he’s too explosive for the others at the moment, in my opinion.

Brian Lawrence (trainer): Wilder stops him. Fury’s just had two Mickey Mouse fights in three years and that doesn’t prepare you for top level. If he’d had three proper fights against good opposition it’d be a different story, but he can’t win on the preparation he’s had. Wilder can’t box — and I’m surprised because his trainer, Mark Breland, was a terrific boxer — but he can seriously punch. This is the poorest heavyweight scene for years.

Carl Frampton (two-weight world champion): I’d love to see Tyson pull it off, but realistically he requires one or two more hard, competitive fights. Though he’s been losing the weight, he hasn’t looked brilliant. I’d not write him off but fear it’s too early. He needs more sharpeners. If it was my last pound, I’d stick it on Wilder. He can box. He brings a fast, underrated jab and generates serious power and leverage with that long right hand. It’ll be an exciting fight for sure because Fury’s such a brave man and he’ll be swinging back till the end.

Chris Sanigar (manager): I back Fury now that he seems to have his head back on. Wilder will do his utmost to take him out, but Fury is elusive and smart enough to negate those aggressive attacks. Obviously, it’s a concern how long Fury’s been out, but he knows this is his big chance to redeem himself. If he can’t get himself in shape and (mentally) up for this, there’s no hope for him. Fighting in LA is no issue for Fury. He’s won overseas previously. He may go behind early, but he’ll eventually triumph on points.

Derry Mathews (former world lightweight title challenger): I go for Fury to deliver a fairytale win, though he might have to get off the floor. He’ll enjoy going to the States and wreaking his havoc. Wilder can whack but you can’t hurt what you can’t hit, and Tyson has fantastic movement for one so big. I doubt it’ll be a good fight to watch. Fury will win ugly — spoil, hold, spin him round, punch and run. It’s a great time for British heavyweight boxing with AJ and Dillian Whyte also ripping it up.

Dom Ingle (trainer): I think the improvement from Tyson Fury’s first comeback fight to his second was very noticeable. For the second, I believe he consciously set out to complete 10 rounds without getting hit. He’s one of the hardest to beat and he has a very good team around him. He’s clearly been working very hard and he’ll be determined and motivated because, if he wins, he lines himself up for one of the biggest fights in heavyweight history against Anthony Joshua. Wilder served a long apprenticeship. He was a sparring partner for David Haye. He brings no finesse and is vulnerable, can be hurt. But he proved last time against Luis Ortiz that he could pull through after he was under fire. But if he can’t hit Fury, he can’t hurt him. Fury’s unpredictable with his switching. He brings excitement and entertainment. Fury on points.

Duke McKenzie (Former three- weight world champion): You’ve gotta go Wilder, inside the distance. Due to his problems away from the ring, I think Tyson Fury is now a danger to himself. His last two wins were against Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Boxing’s not a game. I can’t even see Fury competing. Wilder is as good as it gets right now. Only AJ can give him a competitive fight because of his size power, ability and because he’s fully compos mentis. Fury will get wiped up but will make a bucketload of money. Maybe I’m just jealous!

Glenn McCrory (former IBF cruiserweight champion): Right now, Tyson Fury is the hardest heavyweight to beat. He’s a good mover, has great defence and is so big. He’s the last one you’d want to fight, very good at what he does, very clever. He’s awkward, can box southpaw or orthodox, can tie you up and also punch a bit. He’s just colossal. People forget how good a boxer he is, some of the stuff he does. Wilder’s power makes him a tough fight for anyone but he’s very raw, very beatable. Tyson will mess with his head beforehand and then mess him up in the ring on the night. He always finds a way to win. I think Wilder will have a stinker. It won’t be a great fight to watch but Fury will win comfortably on points to set up a blockbuster with AJ. I’ve a feeling that, down the line, we’ll be speaking of Fury in the same reverential terms we speak of Ali. He has the same outrageousness, the same charisma.

James Tennyson (European super featherweight champion): I go with Fury on points in a brilliant fight. He could’ve done with another tune-up or two, but he should still be too big and too awkward. Wilder is big and dangerous himself - a risk for anybody - but I back Fury to be too quick, too sharp, too nippy on the move.

Jimmy Tibbs (trainer): Tyson will win if he can get his old form back. He’s got his weight back down. At his best, he’s capable of beating most heavyweights about. He could have done with another couple to shed more rust and he’ll need to stay focused to get through the early rounds because Wilder likes those quick knockouts. He’s a very dangerous man. But eventually Fury will start manoeuvring Wilder about. Fury’s got a beautiful jab, his concentration is good and he puts shots together well. He’ll be teeing up Wilder all over the place.

Carl Froch (former WBC, WBA and IBF super middleweight champion): I pick Wilder. 40 fights, 39 knockouts... there’s a lot to like. He brings that explosive, erratic power. I really like Fury. He’s a wicked character but he’s not fought anyone on a serious level for over three years. We just don’t know if Fury’s near his best. The only way he could win is if he can utilise his awkwardness and reduce it to a messy 12-round points affair. Wilder’s not the most technical but he’s been too busy and he’s too experienced. I think Wilder wins on points or late stoppage. I hope I’m wrong.

Kal Yafai (WBA super flyweight champion): It’ll be interesting for a couple of rounds but Wilder wins, probably by stoppage in the mid rounds. He dug deep to come through against Luis Ortiz and that fight’s brought him up to the next level, whereas Fury’s level of activity and opposition has been poor of late. We travelled the world together as amateurs. It’s always possible he could outbox Deontay like he outboxed Klitschko. Tyson’s very deceiving in what he does. Very clever. If Fury had a couple more fights against better opposition, it’d be a different story. But Wilder’s an explosive athlete who carries mad power. He’s very quick for his size and unpredictable, not quite sure what he’s doing himself.

Luke Campbell (WBC mandatory lightweight title challenger): I’d like Tyson to win but give the edge to Wilder. He beat one of the best in Luis Ortiz last time and carries crazy, unorthodox power. The build-up should be fun to watch. If Fury had maintained the momentum of the Klitschko win, he’d still be at the top now but his inactivity will play a massive part. His two comeback opponents were nowhere near Deontay’s level. Fury’s a tricky customer when he’s switched on because of his size and movement but, with Wilder, it only takes one clean shot and it’s over.

Johnny Nelson (former WBO cruiserweight champion): On current form, you have to back Wilder’s youth and ferocity. They’re two tall, long units. One will be trying to take his man out, the other will be trying to tip-tap. Tyson will win all the mind games, that’s a given. The Yanks just can’t handle us Brits in that department. And I don’t doubt that Tyson will train like a maniac. But he’ll need the team he had behind him when he beat Wladimir Klitschko. He needs motivating and his new crew is unproven. Wilder’s got the unpredictable power, the direction, the dedication. He’s got a real determination to get his opponent out of there. I think Tyson gets himself disqualified before he gets stopped!

Nathan Gorman (undefeated heavyweight): Tyson wins a very one-sided fight by a wide points margin. Deontay Wilder is the most dangerous heavyweight out there with the best back hand in the division. If he hits you clean, you’re going, however tough you are. But I’ve seen Tyson sparring in the gym and he’s sharper than ever, moving better than ever. He’s also more serious, more switched on. In his two comeback fights, he’s just shown 50 per cent of what he has. Also, he’ll really thrive on going into Wilder’s back garden. Look what he was like against Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf. Deontay’s colourful too, but he’ll not out-talk Tyson!

Mickey Vann (former Star Class referee): Tyson will win. He’s a very tough boy and so big, awkward, unconventional. He’s also got that big Travellers’ resolve. He’ll go down fighting. And he’ll not be remotely fazed by going to the US. Like I say, he’s a Traveller! Wilder’s a strong lad but a bit wild with all that overarm stuff. He’s also a bit open and we don’t know how tough he is. Unlike Tyson, he’s not had too many “pressure rounds” yet. Tyson will probably have to stop him to win over there. I think this could be like when Danny McAlinden stopped Jack Bodell at Villa Park; a wild, wild free for all! I think Wilder will take him too easy, be overconfident and come unstuck.

Scott Quigg (former WBA super bantamweight champion): If I had to bet, I’d put my money on Wilder. I hope I’m wrong, but this is too early in Tyson’s return. He could’ve done with a couple of top-five ranked opponents before this. He’s not been hit hard with the small gloves on since making his comeback. That said, if anyone has the ability to pull it off, it’s Tyson. If he gets control of the rhythm of the fight, it’s possible he can break Wilder down. But Wilder is himself very quick and athletic for a heavyweight and he possesses that lethal, sharp, powerful right hand. He’ll have improved noticeably from coming through those rough patches in the Ortiz fight. Whoever wins, it’ll be by stoppage.

Robin Reid (former WBC super middleweight champion): I’d like Fury to win but my boxing brain says that Wilder will. I like Tyson but expected more of a statement from him in his two comeback fights so, unless he’s using kidology — and I wouldn’t put that past him — you’d have to say he’s under-prepared for a fight of this magnitude. For once, I doubt Tyson will have the edge in pre-fight antics and bravado. Wilder is untidy to watch, but they’re the worst type to fight. Those wild, overhand swings are hard to defend against, and Wilder’s swings are very, very dangerous. He’s been busier and has looked an improving fighter [in] his last few fights. He has the explosive power to take anyone out and I think he wins by late stoppage.

Tony Sims (trainer): It’s a cracking fight on paper because they’re both massive names but, based on recent activity, the only result that I can see is a Wilder stoppage win, possibly with Fury retiring on his stool. I think Wilder’s a good fighter with fast hands and a very hard punch. Fury’s nowhere near the fighter he was. You can’t take three years out of the ring, abusing your body, and return to the same level. I don’t give Fury any chance.

Martin Murray (four-time world title challenger): Fighting in the US could affect Fury. Wilder’s the big American star and the Yanks will want to keep his belt over there. Worst case scenario, they’re sure to have a rematch clause if Fury springs an upset. The pre-fight pressers and weigh-in should be entertaining. Fury likes to get into the opposition’s head but Wilder’s a proper character too and I doubt he’ll “bite” on Tyson’s antics. Wilder bangs hard so Tyson can’t trade with him but, technically, Wilder’s not at Fury’s level. Nor has he fought anyone as big, slick and confident as Fury. Tyson can outbox and frustrate Wilder, nick the rounds and beat him on points.

Jim McDonnell (trainer): Interesting fight. Genuine 50-50. Tyson’s not a heavyweight, he’s a super heavyweight, and if the Fury that fought Klitschko turns up, he’ll beat Wilder. He’s the bigger man and he knows how to capitalise on those advantages. His range and judgement of distance are brilliant, and his timing is immaculate. His balance, co-ordination and fitness all looked top notch in his comeback fights, albeit against donuts. But I think Wilder gets the victory. The timing in his backhand is unreal. That’s why he knocks everyone out.

Josh Warrington (IBF featherweight champion): I go with Wilder. It won’t be a walkover. Tyson will make it difficult for him because he’s such a long, awkward, rangy operator. But it’s the inactivity that concerns me. I see Tyson sitting on the ropes for too long. Fury is elusive and difficult to catch but in heavyweight boxing it only takes one punch and Wilder hits seriously hard.

Clinton Woods (former IBF light- heavyweight champion): Though Wilder, Joshua and Fury are all very close, I always considered Tyson to be the best heavyweight. But his last two joke fights just turn me off boxing. The press conferences and weigh-ins were a farce. If it was in England, and I knew Fury could rekindle the form that beat Klitschko, I’d back him. His jab and power are decent, and his movement is impressive for such a massive man. But over in the US, I have to go with Wilder. He lets his bombs flow and we just don’t know what Fury will bring.

Alex Steedman (BoxNation presenter): Fury on points. I was more impressed than most by Fury’s performance in Belfast. The movement and ring smarts are still there even though he could use a return of the stiff jab that hammered Chisora. The really big punchers like Wilder may feel they can take risks with Fury but Wilder’s right hand travels 10 feet before landing and, let’s be honest, he’s struggled with average opponents. The 2015 Fury embarrasses Wilder and, though the timing of this opportunity isn’t ideal, the boxer beats the banger all day.

Final tally: Wilder 18 Fury 12