The Big Question: Was Fury's win the best ever victory for a British boxer abroad?

Boxing Monthly
25/02/2020 11:27pm

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Members of the BM team ponder where Tyson Fury's victory against Deontay Wilder ranks in the pantheon of victories by British boxers on foreign soil...

It's top 5 for me. Don't think it tops Fury's own vs Klitschko considering the dominating force and machine he was up against. Neither does it beat Honeyghan going to Atlantic City to take down Don Curry. Some bookies refused to take bets on that one. I would still have Stracey vs Napoles over it too. I'd have it in top 5 with either Buchanan beating Laguna or Minter beating Antuofermo. The Gypsy King certainly owns the best two British wins abroad of the last 30-35 years. Tops Benn vs DeWitt, Lewis v Holyfield II, Calzaghe's two near the end of his career and anything Hatton or Khan did in America. - Shaun Brown

In bullying and stopping Deontay Wilder on US soil, Tyson Fury delivered the kind of devastating performance that Lennox Lewis often did when sensing danger, particularly in stoppage victories over Donovan Ruddock, Andrew Golota, Michael Grant and Hasim Rahman II. Although I’d rank the Wilder result a rung below Fury’s own dethroning of Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, the nature of the performance was even more impressive. Rather than rank the great away performances from British fighters I’d place Fury’s demolition of Wilder alongside the truly legendary ones from Lloyd Honeyghan vs Don Curry and John H Stracey vs Jose Napoles. - Chris Williamson

I genuinely thought Fury was better against Klitschko which for me was the greatest performance by a British heavyweight of all time. Always liked Lennox Lewis vs Rahman 2. That was a statement. Despite losing, Henry Cooper’s performance against Muhammad Ali has got to be one of the best British heavyweights performances of all time. Fury vs Wilder 2 is up there - it was a tactical masterclass from Fury. - Chris Glover

In terms of British heavyweight performances abroad, there’s not a long list. Lennox Lewis scored some very good wins in the U.S., and his two performances against Evander Holyfield look the standouts for me. He also scored solid wins over Tony Tucker, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer, Hasim Rahman, Andrew Golota, David Tua (though the latter two were also fighting away from home). The only other rival I can think of is Bob Fitzsimmons over Jim Corbett in 1897.

Aside from that, we’re looking at Henry Akinwande and Michael Bentt – and you’d have to consider whether either was really British (I recall Big Henry chanting “USA” at Scott Welch after outclassing him in Nashville, while Bentt appeared to jump on the British bandwagon after defeating Morrison for the WBO belt). Frank Bruno and Henry Cooper did most of their fighting here.

In terms of performance, Fury against Wilder was excellent, but the question for me would be: How good is Wilder? He looked terrible when forced onto the backfoot – even more disappointing than Tua looked against Lewis, when Lennox elected to box. Wilder was absolutely clueless. It’s tough to gauge how good the American is based on his record (we know he’s a great puncher). If he retired tomorrow, would he rank above Mercer and Tucker? We’ll be able to answer that once he retires (it’s difficult to rate fighters when they’re still fighting).

Fury’s win over Klitschko was more impressive on paper, but it was a tough watch. Nether set the world on fire that night. I’d rate the Wilder win ahead of that one, but I’d put both in with Lewis and Fitz.

In terms of any weight – the competition gets tougher, with Honeyghan over Curry, Buchanan over Laguna and Stracey over Napoles (among others) all thrown into the pot. - Andrew Harrison

I suppose it depends on which you rate as more important, the gravity of the event, or style points? In terms of style points, Fury's destruction of Wilder is perhaps the greatest performance by a British fighter abroad, ever. In terms of gravity, Fury's toppling of Klitschko rates right up there with Lewis' win over Evander Holyfield. However, Wilder was only a titleholder, and a rather unproven one at that. His mystique was created against lackluster opposition. Klitschko on the other hand was the legitimate heavyweight champion, a future hall of famer whose name is mentioned with the all-time greats. Fury ended a decade of dominance on 28 November 2015. Either way, Fury is in the discussion. His accomplishments are truly historic. - Michael Montero

I'd have it top three, probably. I think Fury's performance in Germany was outstanding given Klitschko's regime and the division's hierarchy. But (prepares to be slated) Wladimir was known for pretty textbook, sometimes boring victories and the fight itself wasn't electrifying. It was tactically perfect from the Morecambe-man, who at that time was an unknown quantity on that stage.

The beauty of Fury smashing Wilder to bits was the excitement, the brutality raining down in the opposite direction and the hype built from their initial encounter. It was fantastic. The predictions from fighters and members of the media favoured Wilder by about 70 per cent and nobody gave Fury stopping him a second thought. In truth, Wilder looked like a rabbit in the headlights as early as the second round.

Lloyd Honeyghan beating Curry seems consensus number one. I remember hearing on a podcast (maybe Boxing Life Stories) that most of the media didn't bother making the trip. Before my time, but that must have been some night! - Craig Scott

I think Chris Williamson hit the nail on the head: "Although I’d rank the result a rung below Fury’s own dethroning of Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, the nature of the performance was even more impressive." In terms of best British heavyweight performances I still think Lennox Lewis destroying (a word often overused, but in this case totally justified) Andrew Golota pips this on shock value and sheer adrenaline, which is surprising considering Golota was the challenger. However, Fury's performance should in no way be detracted from and is solidly in the 10 best British fighter away performances ever. - Colin Harris