Wilder v Fury II preview

There can be no doubt that the fans that choose to stay up till the early hours of Sunday morning will witness the biggest heavyweight fight for a generation – if you are going to pick an event to wreck your sleeping pattern, this is it.

Think Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz, only 11 weeks ago – but bigger, much bigger.

“Both unbeaten champions and it’s a rematch, that’s never happened before at any weight,” says boxing historian and pundit Steve Bunce, when previewing the fight on BT Sport. This gives an idea of the magnitude of the occasion.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will be going to war in Las Vegas with the WBC’s version of World Heavyweight Championship on the line.

Wilder has held the belt since 2015, making 11 consecutive defences. Meanwhile, Fury holds the lineal title. This title has been passed down the generations from one champion to the next – this title can only be lost in the ring.

They first met 448 days ago at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and produced a blockbuster fight, but it resulted in a draw that left both men feeling like they had been denied.

Fury had only returned to boxing less than six months before the fight. After his incredible win against Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in 2015, he suffered with depression and drug addiction.

But against Wilder he danced around the ring, in mesmerising fashion, echoing his win against Klitschko.

When speaking on a preview show for BT Sport, Former World Champion and pundit Paulie Malignaggi says: “I have yet to hear a single foreign fan on this planet, think Wilder won the first fight.”

Despite Fury producing a boxing clinic, there were two moments when Wilder was able to get through and knock him down. First, in the ninth round with a shot that Fury told BT Sport was “being on the back of his head” and “scrambling his brains.”

But the moment that defined the fight was in the twelfth and final round when Wilder landed a right-hand, left-hook combination that left Fury lying flat on his back with eyes closed and by his own admission knocked out for a few seconds.

But Fury produced the sort of resurrection only found in the pages of the Bible to get up and win the rest of the round, including a remarkable piece of showboating where he held both arms behind his back.  

Since that night both men have had two fights. Wilder has produced two more devastating knockouts to add to an already jaw-dropping showreel, that has led to many fans to believe that he is the hardest punching heavyweight in the history of the sport.

The first of these was against Dominic Breazeale. Just over two minutes into the fight Wilder detonated his dynamite of a right hand and left Breazeale lying motionless on the floor.

Wilder followed this up with a rematch against Luis Ortiz, who won every round going into the seventh before Wilder knocked him out with the same devastating right hand.

Fury, meanwhile, had two fights that beforehand were described as “tick over”. In other words, fighting lesser opponents that there is very little chance of you losing to.

He beat Tom Shwarz easily enough, but the bout with unbeaten Swede Otto Wallin proved a lot more difficult.

According to Compubox, Wallin landed 127 punches, the most anyone has ever landed on Fury in a 12-round fight. In comparison Wilder landed just 71 in the first fight.

Fury also suffered a cut above his eye that definitely impaired his vision and his performance. Wallin and many onlookers believe the fight should have been waved off. Post-fight the cut needed 47 stitches, a cut that Wilder will be hoping to open up himself.

“I haven’t seen anybody with a cut that bad, and it got worse and worse. I thought he (the referee) should’ve stopped it”, Walllin told World Boxing News.

Since then Fury has replaced his trainer. Ben Davison is out, and Sugarhill Steward is in. Steward is the nephew of the legendary Emmanuel Steward who trained former champions Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.

Fury tells the story of how Emmanuel Steward predicted the future of heavyweight boxing “Back in 2010 he picked two young kids out who would be World Champions, me and Wilder, but he said I would be the dominant heavyweight.”

Fury will be desperate to prove Steward right over the next 18 months. If victorious on Saturday night then surely Fury will try and fight Anthony Joshua, holder of the other four world championship belts. This fight would decide who is the undisputed champion in a golden era for heavyweight boxing.

Sugarhill Steward has brought in a new nutritionist, George Lockhart, the same one used by the UFC fighter Connor McGregor.

If you break this fight down, it hinges on one thing. Will Wilder be able to land his signature right-hand punch? If he can then I’m sure that there will only be one outcome. But Fury has the ability to dance around Wilder for 12 rounds.

Whichever way this fight goes, viewers will be in for a treat.

My prediction: A controversial one amongst British fans, Wilder to win by knockout in the 11th round.

By Alex Brinton

Photo credit: racingpost.com

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