Tyson Fury: Will he topple Deontay Wilder

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Fury is back in the ring and ready to go to war with Wilder. (Photo by AberroCreative, Public Domain)

With the battle lines drawn in the sand, and the contracts signed, the much-anticipated heavyweight clash between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is on. Fury initially got back in the ring for a ten-round heavyweight fight with streetwise Italian Francesco Pianeta in Belfast, which saw the fight go the distance. Fury will have been pleased to get all ten rounds under his belt for fitness while controlling the fight from start to finish. Naturally, Pianeta was a reasonable choice for Fury’s next bout, as he is durable and willing, giving Fury a chance to showcase the nine stone that he’s lost since returning to the sport.

WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was in the audience at ringside to watch Fury against Pianeta, sparking rumors that the fight between the pair had all but been agreed. Wilder took the WBC belt back in January 2015 after a dominant display, winning every single round en route to a simple victory over Bermane Stiverne. The most criticisms of Wilder in the boxing fraternity is that the American has faced few credible challengers to his belt. It could be argued that Wilder came through a stiff test of his resolve against Luis Ortiz when he was stunned in the seventh round and appeared to be in trouble. He would go on to stop Ortiz in the tenth round with an impressive display of character.

As for Fury, it’s difficult to argue that the defining moment of his career to date was his unanimous points victory over Wladimir Klitschko in Germany back in November 2015. Fury was an outsider going into that contest, with very few challengers to Klitschko capable of getting ahead on points in the eyes of the judges. Nevertheless, Fury boxed clever and left Klitschko hamstrung with his outstanding movement and jab pinning the Ukrainian back. Fury claimed the WBO/IBF and WBA titles after that success but was forced to relinquish all of his belts before having a chance to defend them. The “Gypsy King” was declared “mentally unfit,” having tested positive for cocaine use a short time before the decision. Fury took 18 months away from the boxing scene to focus on his mental health and allow Klitschko and fellow Briton, Anthony Joshua, to fight it out for the vacant WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles at Wembley Stadium. Joshua took the spoils on that memorable night in North West London, and after facing New Zealander Joseph Parker, he also has his sights set on Wilder. But now, Fury is back, and he is raring to take on the world once more.

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Anthony Joshua takes Fury’s relinquished WBO and WBA belts. (Photo by quapan, CC BY 2.0)

The thing with Fury is that he believes he is the greatest boxer that ever lived. And he is fast becoming a brand as recognizable as the past greats such as Mike Tyson, who have had films, video games and slots modeled after them. If Fury can see off Wilder and become the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, he could be the next face of boxing’s video gaming. iGaming brands would be falling over themselves to offer Fury deals. We can see it now: a Gypsy King video slot could be hugely entertaining, especially with many sites now offering no-deposit offers and free spins to get you started.

Some of the biggest names in the history of heavyweight boxing firmly believe that Fury is the man to topple Wilder. Even Lennox Lewis insists that Fury has always been a man for the big occasion, admitting that Fury “has surprised [him] in the past.” “I didn’t think he was going to do that well against Wladimir and he did better than expected. Certain fighters, they rise to the occasion, and he seems like one of those fighters,” said Lewis. The date and location of the Fury vs Wilder bout have not yet been announced, but it has been widely reported that it will take place in Las Vegas. It will be the first time Fury fights in the glitz and glamor of Sin City, and it is sure to get his juices flowing.

Fury may not be looking beyond beating Wilder, but he will have one eye on brushing the American aside to set up a tantalizing all-British contest with Anthony Joshua in 2019. Joshua has the belts that Fury was forced to vacate and that will still rankle with the Mancunian today. But for now, making a statement in the most glamorous boxing venue on the planet will have to suffice.

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