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Wilder vs Fury: Time to believe the hype

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury: predictably unpredictable.

Boxing at Windsor Park Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

After cruising to a shutout win against Italian punchbag Francesco Pianeta (35-5-1) on Saturday night, the world watched as Tyson Fury was joined by the ‘Bronze Bomber’ after being ushered into the ring by promoter Frank Warren.

This was expected. With talks between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder apparently breaking down earlier this year because of Matchroom’s refusal to guarantee Wilder entry to the ring after Joshua’s fight against Joseph Parker, it appears Frank Warren bit the bullet in staging this head-to-head in Belfast after the result was announced - and boy did he enjoy it. Grinning like a Cheshire cat, hall-of-fame promotor Warren declared “IT’S ON!” to the millions watching around the world, as the WBC heavyweight champion and the lineal heavyweight champion eye-balled each other on the canvas.

Despite this announcement, we are still waiting on the details. A date and venue are expected to be announced from the BT Tower in London tomorrow [Monday], with November 10 in Las Vegas the current front-runner.

So how have we got here? Starting out as a rumour, many of us (myself included) were under the assumption that this was all a media ploy by Fury and Warren to raise the profile of the ‘Gypsy King’. Muddying the waters of the, then, ongoing talks between Joshua and Wilder, Fury threw his hat in the ring six months and probably two fights prematurely, before most of us expected him to.

Granted, the fight hasn’t happened yet; Fury’s long list of pull-outs still allows scepticism to surround this fight. However, if it does materialise, it will signal a huge step up for Fury as he continues to rehabilitate in the sport.

Underlining the apparent simplicity of the negotiations between the two teams, Fury explained the process after being handed the microphone after the fight: “We are two men who will fight anybody. They called. I answered. I said ‘send me a contract’. They sent me a contract. I said ‘yes’ and now he gets his chance to fight the lineal heavyweight champion of the world. One thing I promise when I go to Las Vegas, I’m knocking you the f*** out.”

Speaking to the BBC, Frank Warren provided a little more meat on the bones of this bout, with confirmation expected this week: “All of the terms are agreed, we’re working at the moment on the date and the venue. We have another unification match with Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton and we don’t want a clash on those two dates. One of those fights will be in November, and one will be in December.”

After the fight, Wilder also gave an insight as to how these two undefeated heavyweights have managed to pin each other down: “I’ve always wanted the Tyson Fury fight. To finally get him, it’s a blessing. In our eyes he’s still the lineal champion, he’s undefeated. He’s still getting massive respect, he’s the man who beat the man. I can’t wait to meet the man that beat the man, so when I beat the man I become the man. You understand?”

The old adage “styles make fights” couldn’t be more appropriate as we begin the build-up to this heavyweight clash. Fury - weighing just over 10-pounds more than when he beat Klitschko - has transformed his body over the past twelve months. Losing 140 pounds has allowed the ‘Gypsy King’ to return to the ring, and more importantly, return to his free-flowing style that many a fighter has struggled to negate. Saturday’s performance against Pianeta was by no means the finished article, however, flashes of combinations coupled with light footwork gave us a glimpse of the Fury of 2015: that famous night in Dusseldorf.

He was caught several times during the 10-rounder, but with Pianeta unable to provide the power necessary to hurt Fury, the home favourite was toying with the Italian; Muhammad Ali-esque unguarded head movement in his own corner was a typical display of his unrivalled confidence.

Fury has often been seen to raise, or lower, his game in relation to the calibre of his opponent. These 10 rounds dragged on at times, however, his new coach Ben Davidson appeared content with the rounds in the bag, while others at ringside were egging Fury on to get the stoppage.

November will come around quickly. Fury has shown improvements in the past six weeks, but a step into the ring with Deontay Wilder is a whole different prospect. Let’s try and avoid making the Klitschko comparisons. Fury’s career-defining night in Germany will be of stark contrast to the challenge he faces against the undefeated American. In Dusseldorf, Wladimir stuck to his game-plan. A stubborn reluctance to take a chance and pull the trigger was seized upon by Fury, who used his movement and boxing brain to defend against any form of measured attack; waiting, waiting, waiting, the Ukrainian ran out of time in his pursuit to safely dispatch of Tyson.

Wilder, is the antithesis of Klitschko. Unpredictable, reckless, unorthodox and dangerous; the WBC champion sometimes appears to throw punches that even he didn’t see coming. Windmill motions and KO power thrown from the hip, Wilder is a threat from any angle and in any round; his slight, athletic figure enables him to venture into the latter rounds still carrying explosive bombs.

This makes Wilder extremely dangerous, and a slight favourite, to take the lineage from Fury, with the Brit facing 36-minutes of relentless pressure from the Alabama slinger.

Fury has put his body through hell the past two years. The question has to be asked of the ‘Gypsy King’: is this a genuine attempt at taking over the heavyweight division, or the first opportunity to cash-out? I’m inclined to believe option A. Fury believes he is the best heavyweight to walk this planet, and although we can disagree, his record for defying the odds is an unbeaten one. With his 0 still intact inside the ring as well as defeating drug-addiction and depression outside it, Fury won’t fear a trip to the US to take on the WBC king. The green and gold is the last piece of the jigsaw to complete Tyson’s astonishing career. Who’s to say what he can’t achieve in this sport.

So hold tight, listen up and prepare for three months of relentless build-up to this proposed super-fight. Say what you like about either Wilder or Fury: they’ve given the fans what they want. Take note, AJ.

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