Photo Credits: Mikey Wililams
Arguably the most anticipated fight on the boxing calendar finally takes place this weekend at the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, where the Bronze Bomber will seek to put the record straight against the Gypsy King. Their last fight in December 2018 was surrounded by controversy, with Fury fans raising their eyebrows over the judges’ scorecards, whilst Wilder’s followers had doubts over the length of the count given to Fury in the explosive final round. Plenty has happened since their famous encounter, to be discussed below, which makes this 50:50 rematch all the more enticing. What have both fighters been up to since their first meeting, and who is most likely to get their hand raised this Saturday night?
After the split-decision draw against Fury on 1 December 2018, Wilder first came up against fellow American Dominic Breazeale on 18 May 2019. The contest, however, did not last long. Wilder successfully defended his WBC belt via a first-round knockout after landing his famous right hand, with just under a minute left in the round, leaving Breazeale unable to make the ten count.
Wilder did not wait long to get back in action, taking on the hard-hitting Cuban, Luis Ortiz, for a second time on 23 November 2019. After a solid start by ‘King Kong’, Wilder again showed his devastating power, winning by seventh-round knockout to retain his WBC heavyweight title. The fact that Wilder was behind on all three of the judges’ scorecards brought to life the American’s belief that his opponents need to be perfect for twelve rounds, whereas he only has to be perfect for two seconds. A full recap of the fight can be found here.
Thus, Wilder goes into the Fury rematch with two consecutive knockout victories added to his belt. Will he be able to make it three in a row against the Gypsy King?
It would be fair to say that Tyson Fury has had a more eventful time since the Wilder fight back in 2018. Soon after the draw, Fury signed a five-fight contract with ESPN and Top Rank, reportedly worth $100 million. He then made his return to the ring against German national Tom Schwarz on 15 June 2019, and in doing so disappointed many fans with his choice of opponent. However, his head movement when against the ropes and second-round TKO of Schwarz, who was undefeated before his loss to Fury, helped to get fans back on his side.
Less than three months later, the Gypsy King was back in the US, this time to wage war against Swedish heavyweight Otto Wallin, another undefeated professional. Though Fury won by unanimous decision, he suffered a gruesome cut above his right eye during the fight, which later required 47 stitches. This has led to speculation over whether this may be a problem against Wilder, should the cut reopen.
Fury then took some time away from boxing to make an appearance on WWE, which culminated in a match against Braun Strowman at WWE Crown Jewel on 31 October in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fury emerged victorious, having defeated Strowman via count-out after landing a big right hand.
In the build-up to the rematch with Wilder, it was announced that the Gypsy King had amicably split with trainer Ben Davison, who had been instrumental in Fury’s comeback. For the Wilder rematch, Fury has returned to Kronk Gym, where he briefly trained in 2010, to be partnered with Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward, nephew of Hall-of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward.
If this fight is anything like the first encounter between Wilder and Fury, which showcased the former’s power and the latter’s boxing skill and heart, then fight fans are in for a treat this Saturday.
This is an immensely difficult contest to predict. Most boxing commentators are siding with either a Wilder stoppage or Fury points victory, which makes sense based on the last fight, which showed that Wilder can catch and hurt Fury but also highlighted that Fury has the ability and fitness to put on a masterclass boxing performance for twelve rounds. There are factors which may hinder Fury, however, such as the cut he sustained last year, and we will have to wait to see how his new trainer performs. Nonetheless, Fury should be even fitter than he was in the first fight and has now experienced twelve rounds with the WBC Champion. Indeed, the Gypsy King has insisted that he will be going for the knockout in this fight and will even win within two rounds.
Ultimately, this fight could go either way, which makes Saturday’s event all the more exciting.
Prediction: Wilder by KO.
How do you see the fight going? Let us know in the comments below!