”Lineal” heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, made it two wins inside a hectic six weeks on Thursday, as he stopped “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman inside three rounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
”The Gypsy King” accepted a risky challenge from the 6’ 9” former (tag-team) world champion. A tender cut above the right eye of Fury is just 48 days into a “100-day healing process,” with the heavyweight ignoring medical advice and jumping back into the ring against the 385 pounds of Strowman.
With Fury behind on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage inside the King Fahd International Stadium, a devastating right hand finished the argument at the end of the third round as Strowman failed to beat the ten count. Fury remains unbeaten, as Strowman licks his wounds looking to rebuild in 2020. Questions will inevitably be asked of the 36-year-old whether he has the hunger to return at the highest level.
In the pay-per-view event promoting the support of “Saudi Vision 2030”, Strowman was first to enter the ring to echoes of a mixed reception. The challenger to the “lineal” crown displayed an air of machismo as he circled the ring displaying his clenched, boulder-sized fists to the crowd. Void of hand wraps or gloves of any size, there were murmurs of concern spreading around the arena that Strowman has forgotten his gloves?! Surely not?!
Fury followed in traditional Saudi attire donning a thawb, shadowboxing as he approached the ring apron with trainer Ben Davison opting to remain seated ringside rather than working the corner of his man. An intriguing decision from Team Fury, with Ben and Tyson’s relationship flourishing over the past few years.
The Isley Brothers record “It’s Your Thing” accompanied Fury towards the ring, with the “Gypsy King” clearly suffering the same misfortune as his opponent, with his missing kit forcing the pair to fight bare-knuckle. It didn’t seem to concern the referee, who bought both men together to the centre of the ring.
The opening bell rang, and both men employed a compelling tactic. Circling, swarming each other in an attempt to work the perfect angle of attack was briefly interrupted by holds – holds that the referee seemed to reluctant to break up, with neither man offering any work on the inside. It was a clear 10-10 round (a Carl Froch special) to open proceedings, as both men continued to peacock around the squared circle without offering any desire to engage.
”On the 45th anniversary of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, we have the ‘Showdown in Saudi’,” the commentator proclaimed, audibly weighed down by the stress of trying to find a word rhyming with “Saudi.”
We finally got some action as Fury went to the body at the start of the second round. A right-left combination looked to have halted Strowman in his tracks, as Fury looked to stifle the gas tank of the American later on in the fight. Fury looked comfortable, but out of nowhere, the fight changed direction as Strowman managed to drop the champion in bizarre circumstance. It looked like a push when looking at the replays, with Fury’s 6’ 8” frame forced to do a forward roll in the centre of the canvas.
It was Strowman’s round, and with a couple of knockdowns throughout it was hard to see anything but a 10-7 for “The Monster Among Men,” as Fury found himself in deep waters.
The third round opened up with a couple of head clashes. They seemed to go unnoticed by the referee who I can only assume thought were accidental. Fury, pawing at his troublesome right eye, looked laboured trying to keep up with the pace set by Strowman, as the 36-year-old used some offensive shoulder rolls to pepper the abdomen of Fury.
After taking a lot of punishment in the early exchanges, Fury was able to counter, and in the process, bundle Strowman out of the ring! It was Joel Caudle vs Cassius Chaney-esque from Top Rank’s show earlier this summer; however, Strowman managed to beat the ten count! Unbelievable heart was shown as he bit down on his gums.
The third round continued as Strowman decided to go all Chris Eubank Jr on Fury. Picking up the “Gypsy King” in a similar fashion to how Eubank manhandled James DeGale earlier this year, Strowman once again went unpunished by the referee who’s flamboyant arm signals became more and more distinctive throughout. What does it take to get a point deducted around here?!
The momentum swung back the way of Strowman who delivered a huge right hand to Fury who hit the canvas for the umpteenth time. Flat on his back, it didn’t look good for the Briton, but in a throwback to his 2018 draw with Deontay Wilder, Fury sat up, gathered his senses and began bringing the heat back to Braun.
Exchanges followed outside the ropes as the judges peered over the canvas trying to keep count of a tumultuous round, with Strowman showing great footwork in charging around the ring like a bull looking to get as much power in his strikes as possible. It worked once, but on the second occasion, Fury had solved the puzzle laid out in front of him.
Strowman looked to force the stoppage when Fury unleashed a huge right hand knocking Strowman out cold in front of a stunned capacity crowd. Fury’s one-punch power resurfaced at his time of need, as Strowman failed to make the ten count, losing to a stoppage with a minute remaining in the third round.
As Fury celebrated, Strowman reacted by taking a cheap shot on the “Gypsy King”; security did an excellent job to avoid a repeat of the Mayweather-Judah brawl of 2006.
At the time of the stoppage, judges had Strowman winning the fight 19-13, 18-14 and 20-11, with bewilderment swirling around the arena as to how Fury had summoned the punch of his career in his biggest hour of need.
For Strowman, it’s back to the drawing board. Fights against the likes of Otto Wallin, Tyrone Spong or Tom Schwarz could force a title shot at the back end of next year, while Fury’s concentration heads full-steam towards his anticipated Feb 22 rematch with Deontay Wilder.
Questions will inevitably be asked of Strowman and his reluctance to employ a cornerman for the biggest fight of his career. Looking good in the early exchanges, better fight-management will be called upon if he gets another chance at the “lineal” throne.
On the other hand, Fury has successfully dispelled the myth that he is a feather puncher. A single right hand stopped all 385 pounds of Strowman last night, as the rest of the heavyweight division takes note.
Hold on. What?!