By Neil Leverett
- Deontay Wilder defends WBC world heavyweight crown against Tyson Fury at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, on Sunday morning UK time
- 30-year-old former WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO unified champion Brit challenges unbeaten Alabaman
- Duo eyeing showdown meeting for undisputed heavyweight titles early next year with Anthony Joshua
LOS ANGELES, USA – As Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder finally face off this weekend in Hollywood after a war of words, can the former champion Brit regain his boxing throne?
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Fury looking to de-throne Wilder
If come the end of 2018 Deontay Wilder would be set to defend his WBC World Heavyweight title against a Briton, the consensus would have been unanimous the long-awaited clash against WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Anthony Joshua has finally arrived.
That however, is yet to transpire after Tyson Fury‘s return from his health-induced hiatus from the sport, and this weekend’s blockbuster match-up in one that has very much crept up on the sporting world.
Despite Fury’s much-publicised problems and outspoken nature however, as a former unified champion himself, the 30-year-old means business in Los Angeles this weekend.
As the wranglings between Joshua and Wilder’s camp over split of prize money failed to reach an agreement at the first round, Fury snuck in the back door with his promoter Frank Warren and agreed a deal.
What began as a fight between respectful fighters however, has descended into a war of words – whether being of the opinion or not that the bout is being hyped for a worldwide television audience – as egos have flown. In spite of Fury’s absence from the fight game of late, this fight is massive for the sport.
Unbeaten duo put reputations on line
Something has to give this weekend then, with both men putting unbeaten record on the line – with Wilder his WBC gold into the bargain. Indeed the tale of the tape adds intrigue to the weekend’s duel.
With Wilder three years Fury’s senior, the Alabaman 33-year-old has 13 more fights under his belt. Whilst the Brit has 19 knockouts to his name, Wilder has only failed to win via stoppage on one occasion. The American’s reputation is fearsome.
Fury’s 6’9 stature sees the American giving away two inches however, with the Briton’s now customary awkward style having gone a long way in shocking Vladimir Klitschko with a unanimous points decision in Dusseldorf.
That night in Germany in November 2015 is thus far Fury’s biggest night in his career, but should he take the scalp of Wilder, the boxing world would be turned on its’ head and the Briton’s fairytale return in Hollywood would be complete.
Duo eyeing boxing unification history
With the WBC belt on the line this weekend, victory would pave the way for one of the biggest fights in boxing history. Joshua waits in the wings to face the winner of the bout, with a 13th April date next spring at Wembley Stadium already being billed as ‘title unification night’ at what is rapidly becoming boxing’s cathedral in the modern era.
Whilst many are keen to see Wilder win out at the Staples Centre, a match-up of Fury vs. Joshua could be the biggest fight in British boxing history, with Fury never too far from criticism for the unbeaten and undisputed Olympic champion.
Dillian Whyte remains the other option – with victory over Dereck Chisora at the end of the month – should neither Fury or Wilder agree purses with the Briton, but by far the biggest pull would be 90,000 fans under the Wembley arch, with what could turn out to be the biggest PPV event in the sporting annuls.
Whatever the case, the stakes are high in the City of Angels this weekend. As the world watches on, Wilder is the favourite and rightly so, but Fury arrives at this fight in arguably the best shape of his life. It is just a question of whether ring rust may show itself, but make no mistake, Fury could shake up the sporting world and play his own starring role in the shadow of Hollywood.
Deontay Wilder defends his WBC World Heavyweight title against Tyson Fury in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California, with ring walks at approximately 4.30 am UK time.
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