By Neil Leverett
- Tyson Fury wins WBC Heavyweight crown, after brutal stoppage of champion Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
- Alabaman’s corner throw in towel in seventh after Briton’s destruction of previously undefeated Wilder
- With Britain’s now total dominance of division, unification super-fight with Anthony Joshua could now happen
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – After Tyson Fury’s annihilation of Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas, what did we learn as the Gypsy King reclaimed his place on the Heavyweight throne?
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Fury remains true lineal champ
Saturday night in Las Vegas was Tyson Fury‘s true redemption; not just from a sporting perspective, but in his much-publicised life as the Gypsy King put on the performance of his career to systematically take apart Deontay Wilder and claim the WBC Heavyweight crown at the MGM Grand.
Carried out to the ring on a mocked-up golden throne to the dulcet tones of Patsy Kline, it was a fight for many that was too close to call after their controversial split-decision draw 14 months ago. But, if there were any doubt that the Briton had done enough that night to de-throne the champion, Fury explosively erased any lingering uncertainty.
In arguably his best showing to date, Fury’s power punches – perhaps ironically – proved too much for Wilder to take sustaining a burst ear drum and fractured jaw via the Wythenshawe fighter’s sheer pugnacity, leaving the champion bleeding from many an orifice, before referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight after trainer Mark Breland tossed in the towel in the seventh.
An act of mercy in Wilder’s corner there is no doubt, however only those ‘Crazy’ enough would now dispute Fury as the number one fighter in the division, having now held all five recognized heavyweight titles on varying occasions.
As the former lineal champion and former holder of IBO, IBF, WBA and WBO titles also – now held by Anthony Joshua – Fury, of the three top dogs in the pool right now is the only one that remains undefeated.
Regaining his step on boxing’s throne, over four years on from being forced to relinquish the belts he won from Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Fury once more took back his place at the top of the division. Can anyone beat a now fully-focused and healthy Fury?
Wilder defeat was in making
Defeat may have shocked Wilder down to his boots, but Fury’s decimation of his opponent had been on the cards for some time in the eyes of pundits, despite his position as champion for five years and with a 43-fight unbeaten record before his 11th WBC title defence.
As Luiz Ortiz showed most pertinently back in November – even in the two fighters’ first meeting – in his now veteran years the American can be out-boxed between the ropes and without the chance to utilise his knockout power, can be silenced.
Putting on a stone in weight to battle the 19st. 7lbs Briton himself – also weighing in at a stone heavier than 2018’s bout – it was clear that his bulkier build designed to make the champion more durable, simply removed his speed and ability to avoid the power punching of Fury, and open up the avenue for his now patented right hand.
As Fury dominated the centre of the ring throughout with carefully timed feints of the MGM Grand ring, two knock-downs and seven rounds of punishment later – via trainer Breland’s casting of the towel – Wilder’s unbeaten record was no more.
Dispersing all of Wilder’s protestations that he was simply beaten by the better man on this night, surely even he will acknowledge the flaws in his game that were so brutally exposed in Las Vegas.
Driven will for British super-fight
It may not have been the players that some fans wanted to meet in an ideal world, but a British win this weekend brings the likelihood of finally seeing a unanimous and undisputed champion being crowned this year. There are many bridges that need to be crossed, ‘t’s’ to be crossed and ‘i’s’ to be dotted however.
Firstly, there are the two newly-agreed TV deals. Whilst Fury is tied to BT Sport, Joshua is aligned to Sky Sports. Any agreement would likely see a dual broadcast, which would in itself break UK PPV ground.
Then, not the least of concerns in a potential deal lie with two respective promoters in Queensbury’s Frank Warren and DAZN and Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn. Men, who have lost little love for each other.
The purse was a big stumbling block in Joshua-Wilder negotiations in previous attempts and with the current split at 70/30, Fury will undoubtedly want a greater share of what would surely be the biggest prize pot in the history of British – nay world – boxing.
Feeling this time around however feels a lot more optimistic that a marquee fight could occur in the coming months. Indeed as Warren told BBC Sport, if the fans want it to happen, nothing should stop the wheels being set in motion.
“Of course we want to see the fight. We’ve been trying to make it for two years.
[Eddie] Hearn kept saying was it’s got to be 70/30 [the purse] in favour of AJ and so on and so forth. The tables have turned now. I have no problem with 50/50. I think Tyson would deserve more but 50/50, no problem. This is about the boxers and more importantly the fans. If they want to see the fight we will make it happen.”
With the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium being touted as a possible venue, the pieces are beginning to fall into place. There still however, remains much work for all parties to do in order to seal a deal for an historic night in the annuls of boxing and indeed sport. But the will seems to be there.
Bronze Bomber could wait for rematch
Wilder of course remains the wrecking ball in the plans for what would surely be one of the biggest events in British sporting history. The Alabaman however, may be best suited to bide his time in invoking his mandatory rematch clause.
Tasting defeat for the first time in his career should see a period of reflection – and a large portion of wound-licking – in the American’s camp. Though Wilder will be keen at least to attempt to regain the title he held for five years, any ambitions of an immediate rematch would surely result in another heavy and bruising defeat to Fury, that could leave the 34-year-old in the sporting wilderness.
Instead, the Bronze Bomber may best be advised to let any mooted Joshua-Fury fight play out, with a then true five-belt champion determined. Then, the stakes are significantly upped for all that shoot for the throne.
That may be a more tantalising prospect for a wounded Wilder to bounce back with. Even the best have been forced to swallow the ‘L’ on their rap-sheet, and Wilder, though having lost his aura of invincibility was no paper champion.
Still retaining the biggest right hand in the sport, Wilder will be a dangerous man to face for whoever steps into the ring next, not least with all the marbles on the line. It is an interesting scenario that for all the posturing, egos and above all money that prevented a Joshua-Wilder fight up to this point, the American may not even need to face the Watford fighter for a shot at becoming undisputed World champion. If Fury did beat Joshua, Fury-Wilder III could be monumental.
Heavyweight melting pot
Such is the rude health of heavyweight boxing in the new era, it would be hard to forecast an already bursting-at-the-seams division to improve its’ stance. After Fury’s win however, that is where we are at.
Putting aside a potential blockbuster Fury-Joshua fight later in the year, the characters are queuing up to continue the sport’s ensemble cast in 2020. Wilder will of course want to throw his hat back into the metaphorical ring, but so too will Britons number three and four in still mandatory WBC challenger Dillian Whyte, with the burgeoning Daniel Dubois ready to knock on the door if he beats another fellow Brit Joe Joyce, in April.
Oleksandr Usyk lingers in the background also, and having yet to tie up a deal to face Joshua, Kubrat Pulev may again be left in the dark – for now. Former unified champion Andy Ruiz Jr. will also be keen to show his defeat of Joshua was no one-off, whilst Syrian-German fighter Manuel Charr remains at the top of the rankings, despite continued questions over the use of banned substances.
The landscape has very much been set for the coming year this past weekend in Las Vegas, and in a division that goes from strength to strength – literally in some instances – 2020 could be the pinnacle in this current era of heavyweight boxing.
Follow Britwatch Sports in 2020 for undisputed coverage of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
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