The heavyweight division of professional boxing hasn’t been as competitive as it is now for decades. All championship belts of the sport’s highest weight category are shared between British rivals Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. Several challengers are waiting in the wings, including Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk.
Fight fans had hoped to see a unified champion this summer with Fury and Joshua rumoured to meet at Wembley Stadium, London, in a winner-takes-all bout for the ages. That bout may still happen, but promoters were forced to shelve the idea for now as American challenger and former WBC champion Wilder has emerged from the shadows and claimed his right to face Tyson for the third time.
The top betting sites listed at vegasbetting.com have the Gypsy King and current keeper of the WBC strap as betting favourite to win, but there’s one main reason it would be foolish to write off the challenger – an earth-shattering 93% knockout average.
“Tyson Fury” by REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Wilder one of the sport’s biggest hitters
Boxing fights at any level can change in the blink of an eye. One big punch, one error in defence, one duck when a fighter should’ve rolled, and it will all be over. That’s certainly true of world championship boxing at heavyweight, and any fighter that has previously shared a ring with Wilder understands that more than most.
The 35-year-old from Alabama was a decorated amateur, winning bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games. He enters his latest professional contest with a record showing 42 wins against one defeat and a draw. Of his victories, all but one have come by way of knockout, making him one of the hardest hitting heavies that ever lived, certainly on the stats sheet.
When taking a closer look at Wilder’s card, we see why this summer’s fight is interesting. Fury inflicted the big-hitting American’s sole defeat, and the Englishman was also responsible for the draw. Even in that split decision drawback in 2018, most boxing pundits believed Fury was robbed of victory in Los Angeles. He certainly looked hard done by that evening at the Staples Center. Deontay now has a point to prove and must win if he is to regain the WBC title and save his career.
“Fury vs Wilder” by TheAthletic is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Tyson promises to bring the Fury
Current WBC belt holder Fury told fans of his determination to face Joshua in a unification bout, but his hands were tied in regards to completing the trilogy with Wilder. Before Fury – Wilder II, both fighters agreed to a rematch clause in the contract. That has become standard for significant title fights, but few fight fans expected Deontay to use it after losing so convincingly.
Fury promised to knock out Wilder in Sin City and was true to his word. He went on the attack from the opening bell in the rematch, using his natural size and weight advantages to march forward and put pressure on the pressure-fighter.
Walking his opponent onto the ropes, he slipped big shots and countered with heavy hooks to the head and body of Wilder.
Deontay had spent most of his career standing over opponents he had bludgeoned to the canvas, but on this occasion, he was peering up at a jubilant Tyson from the deck. He was dropped to the canvas in rounds three and five before being stopped in the seventh.
More of the same promised
Many fight fans are treating Fury v Wilder III as little more than an inconvenience and block to the unification fight they all wanted to see. But Tyson seems to have his mind on the job and promised we’ll see more of the same in June.
Fury told supporters during a recent press interview that he stole the American’s soul in that last fight and will now finish him for good. The Gypsy King is adamant the third and the fight won’t go beyond a round. That’s a bold claim against a dangerous opponent, but Fury is the favourite to win in the current betting. Most who have followed his career know he doesn’t always make fight predictions, but when he does, it’s usually worth listening to.
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