Five factors that may decide Fury vs Wilder 2

Luke G. Williams
18/02/2020 10:05pm

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Boxing Monthly’s Luke G. Williams examines five factors that may determine the eagerly awaited rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on 22 February…

If Tyson Fury has a defensive weakness it is that he is vulnerable to the right hand. Four times in his career he has hit the canvas – against Neven Pajkic in 2011, Steve Cunningham in 2013 and twice against Wilder in 2018 - and on every occasion it was the result of a right hand (although Wilder added a left hook for good measure when scoring the second of his two knockdowns). Of course, it’s worth pointing out that all four times he went down, Fury got up again and either won or drew. Judging by his Lazarus-like recovery from that heavy 12th-round knockdown against Wilder in Los Angeles, the Gypsy King possesses almost superhuman recuperative powers. However, until we see him take another big Wilder right hand flush it is impossible to know how that knockdown may have affected his punch resistance.

Last time around, Wilder won seven, five and four rounds respectively on the three judges’ scorecards, which - allied to the two knockdowns he scored - was enough to enable him to escape with a split draw. If he is to win a decision on the cards this time around he will need to be more active in rounds where he doesn’t land his biggest punches. To do this he will need utilise his under-rated jab with greater frequency and to better effect. Against Luis Ortiz in his recent rematch Wilder won only two, one and one of the six completed rounds according to the judges. His big punch got him out of jail on that occasion, but Fury is a superior boxer to Ortiz and if the Bronze Bomber starts slow and can’t find a giant punch on 22 February he may find himself in trouble on the scorecards.

There was widespread surprise before Christmas when it was announced that trainer Ben Davison, who many credit with saving the Gypsy King’s life as well as resurrecting his career, had parted company with Fury. New trainer, Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward is the nephew of the late, great Emanuel Steward and has worked with a wide range of fighters. However, will the change in regime energise and refresh Fury or merely muddy the tactical waters? (In contrast, the main man in Wilder’s corner is the often under-estimated Jay Deas, who has been with his fellow Alabaman since the first day he walked into a boxing gym). Fury and Steward have talked about going for a knockout victory this time around – is that kidology? And if this is the plan, might it actually play in Wilder’s hands?

Both men’s records in rematches are impressive. After being extended the full 12 rounds by Bermane Stiverne in winning the WBC title in 2015, Wilder iced the Haiti-born boxer in one round in a 2017 return. Meanwhile, his second tough fight against Luis Ortiz was won in seven, as opposed to the ten rounds it took him to dispose of the Cuban first time around. Fury has twice engaged in rematches – in 2009 he controversially outpointed John McDermott in an English heavyweight title fight, before winning an eagerly awaited return via ninth-round TKO the following year. Meanwhile, in 2011 he defeated Dereck Chisora on a unanimous points decision, prior to winning a 2014 rematch against ‘Del Boy’ even more comprehensively after Chisora stayed on his stool after ten rounds.

This is a key point. While Wilder secured eye catching and razor sharp finishes against Dominic Breazeale and the aforementioned Ortiz in 2019, Fury’s form line since the first Wilder fight hints at a slight reduction in focus, as well as competition. He disposed of the overmatched Tom Schwarz easily enough in June, but underestimated Sweden’s Otto Wallin in September, albeit he still found a way to win. However, a money-spinning WWE engagement in October in Saudi Arabia and the release of his autobiography in November have led some to speculate that Fury is spreading himself too thin, and has taken his eye off the boxing world. Whether this is true or not, we will soon discover…

There is extensive coverage of Wilder vs Fury 2 in the latest issue of Boxing Monthly magazine