Tag Archives: Tyson Fury

Wilder-Fury 2: Five questions that the ‘Gypsy King’ needs to answer

The time is almost upon us. The long-awaited rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is nearly here, just over 16 months since their dramatic and controversial draw in Los Angeles.

Many felt that Fury came out on top in the first bout at the Staples Center, some even labelling the decision of a draw as a ‘robbery’.

You would imagine that then Fury is coming in as the clear favourite for the second fight, but some of the confidence in ‘The Gypsy King’ has waned among fight fans since that controversial draw in December 2018.

There are big question marks over whether Fury’s preparations for this fight have really given him with the tools to dismantle Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 22nd February.

Here are five questions that the Mancunian needs to answer on fight night:

Has he improved since the first fight?

Fury has had two fights since that dramatic night in LA, producing wins against the previously unbeaten Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. Despite both ending in victory, they were two very different nights for Fury.

As expected, the 31-year-old dealt with the lesser-known Schwarz in two short rounds which, at the time, suggested he may be packing more a punch and quashing suggestions that he lacks power. However, his encounter with Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena last September didn’t quite go to plan.

What was expected to be another routine win turned into a bloody, 12-round war that left the Brit with a nasty-looking cut above the right eye. Although it definitely wasn’t a performance that would fill anyone with added confidence about Fury’s prospects against Wilder, there is not a massive amount that you can read into it.

Fury is someone that has risen to the occasion in the past. He produced two sub-par performances against Sefer Seferi and Franceso Pianneta in the lead-up to the first Wilder fight, but still managed to conjure up an excellent performance against the WBC heavyweight champion.

Fury also took on Wilder just two fights into his comeback from a near three-year lay-off and he’ll be hoping to be fitter and sharper for the rematch than he was for their first bout. It will be interesting to see if getting 14 more rounds under his belt enables Fury to show improved stamina in the later rounds; the lack of which ultimately proved to be his downfall in the first contest.

Has he been focused enough on boxing?

Since the clip of him remarkably rising from canvas after Wilder’s brutal 12th-round knockdown in their first fight went viral across the world, it’s safe to say that Fury has made the most of his new-found global fame. He’s brought out an autobiography, released a Christmas single with Robbie Williams and fought Braun Strowman in the WWE, which have all raised his profile [and boosted his bank balance), but equally raised questions over his commitment to boxing.

The lineal champion has always come across as someone who lives and breathes fighting but, due to the other commitments he’s taken on, has he left enough time to sharpen his skill-set in the gym ahead of this huge second fight against the 34-year-old from Alabama?

We recently saw Andy Ruiz Jr become distracted by the glitz, glamour and fame of reaching the summit of the heavyweight division after upsetting Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden last June – and how that then ultimately cost him in their December rematch.

You simply can’t afford to take your eye off the ball for a second in boxing, especially against fighters at the top end of the heavyweight division.

Is it possible that Fury has fallen into the same trap as Ruiz?

Is changing trainers a good idea?

Former coach Ben Davison played a huge part in pulling Fury back from the brink of disaster after his mental breakdown led him to the cusp of suicide and stepping on the scales at a whopping 385lbs. He also masterminded the game plan that so nearly got Fury the win against Wilder which would have put him back on top in the heavyweight division.

However, following an on-screen lambasting from Fury’s father John, Davison was ditched and has now been replaced by American Javan ‘Sugar Hill’ Steward, nephew of famous trainer Emmanuel Steward.

The lineal champion isn’t unfamiliar with Steward, having spent a month training with him in the famous Kronk gym in Detroit a decade ago. Andy Lee, Fury’s cousin and a former world middleweight champion who has spent time at Kronk, has also been involved in the camp although it’s not been obvious exactly what capacity that’s been in.

It’s undoubtedly a gamble to switch trainers so near to a big fight, especially when you consider how well Davison’s plan worked in the first Wilder bout and how radically different Steward’s coaching philosophies are to Davison’s. In an interview with iFL TV, Steward said: “He doesn’t want that again [going to the judges]. I wasn’t raised that way. Emanuel [Steward] always taught me ‘Get the knockout.’.”

The change in approach, coupled with the limited time Fury has had to work with his new trainer, will surely have added disruption to his preparations. After coming so close to a victory last time, did Fury really need to change his approach so drastically?

Is he really going to go for the knockout?

Although Fury is recognised as one of the best heavyweights in the world right now, he’s never really been known for the power in his punch. The best victories of his career have gone the distance rather than ended in vicious knockouts, much in contrast of his next opponent. In fact, only around 66% of his wins have come via KOs whereas Wilder has stopped 95% of his opponents, with every single one touching the canvas.

Despite this, Fury has been adamant in the build-up that he wants, not only to beat Wilder, but to knock him out as well. He’s even rumoured to be coming in much heavier than the first fight in an attempt to add more power to his arsenal.

As we know, many of Fury’s comments have to be taken with a rather large pinch of salt, but his decision to change up his camp suggests there may be some legitimacy to these claims. The risk is that the extra weight means he loses some of the movement that makes him so elusive and hard to hit and becomes a sitting duck for Wilder’s famous, straight right.

Will the cut above his eye come back to haunt him?

As mentioned, Fury picked up a hideous cut above his right eye that required 50 stitches after his last fight against Wallin. Without a massive amount of healing time having passed, the likelihood is that Wilder will target it and attempt to re-open it. The appointment of Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran – one of the best and most well-known cutman in the game – suggests that there is still some nervousness in the Fury camp regarding the wound.

There’s no way of knowing how problematic this will be until fight night. There’s no word on if Fury has had any plastic surgery to speed up the healing process, but you would imagine everything has been done in order to patch it up and make sure that it doesn’t come back to haunt him.

It’s unquestionable, however, that Wilder will be targeting this. In fact, he only recently said that he is ‘looking forward to re-cutting’ Fury’s right eye. It certainly adds an extra dimension to the big night and something to monitor as the fight progresses.

Review: Creed II

Fresh from the box office smash that is Black Panther, Michael B Jordan reprises his role as Apollo Creed’s dynamic heavyweight son Adonis in a sequel that links directly back to the Rocky saga.

Creed II sees Adonis take on Viktor Drago, the son of ruthless Russian boxer Ivan Drago, who killed his father in the ring in Rocky IV. They end up fighting not once, but twice .

Thus, this latest chapter packs plenty of emotional punch as it explores the conflicts that arise as Adonis seeks to avenge his father and fallen hero.

The Rocky series is undoubtedly the most iconic and popular boxing film franchise. However, despite their status, the films are known to be fraught with over-dramatised action and super hero comebacks that don’t accurately represent the reality of the noble art.

However With Tyson Fury’s recent Lazarus-like rise from the canvas against Deontay Wilder, maybe those Hollywood blockbusters aren’t necessarily so over-cooked.

Emotional

As directed by Steven Caple Jr, entrusted with his first big-budget movie at the tender age of 30, the fight scenes in Creed II certainly feel more realistic and less corny than those in the Rocky series, making it a more grounded affair.

‘Creed II shows just how hard it is combine the brutality of training and fighting with a loving family life’

Jordan excels as Adonis, imbuing him with so much passion and conviction that you actually feel he really is a boxer whose dad has died, albeit many years before.

Although the first Creed movie featured British boxer Tony Bellew as its villain, returning to the Rocky series for inspiration ultimately proved too tempting for the producers, including original star Sylvester Stallone, who returns once again as Rocky Balboa, now Creed’s trainer.

So, Dolph Lundgren is back as Drago Snr, joined by Brigette Nielsen as his (now) ex-wife. The Romanian-born, German-raised boxer Florian Munteanu plays their mountainous son.

There are also plenty of emotional father-son issues swirling around Ivan and Viktor, with the former looking to his offspring to redeem his reputation, destroyed by his loss in Rocky IV.

Mental health

The Rocky series is known for its sweaty training montages and inspiring moments where one line from the trainer inspires a huge knockout, but Creed II runs deeper then that.

Yes, the training scenes are still there to show that boxing is a tough and gruelling sport, but the film also touches on the mental well-being of boxers.

‘Ultimately, Creed II highlights both the risks of boxing itself but also the dangers of a damaged ego’

Again, Tyson Fury is the man who most recently shone a spotlight on how fighters struggle with mental health issues, including depression and addiction.

Creed II shows just how hard it is combine the brutality of training and fighting with a loving family life as Adonis’s partner Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is pregnant with their first child.

With a lot on his mind, Adonis rushes into the first fight with Viktor and wins – but only through disqualification. Badly beaten in the process, his ego and spirit are completely destroyed.

Thus, Creed II accurately depicts just how hard it is for boxers to recover both mentally and physically from going to war in the ring. Furthermore, it touches on their vulnerability and how lonely it can be in at the top.

Its not all gloom and doom though, as the film shows how the love and support of family and friends are as just important as training hard.

Trouble

So the stage is set for a second meeting – this time in Moscow – and Adonis is guided by Rocky to adopt a strategy to wear down his opponent, who normally wins by KO early on.

However, he suffers broken ribs in the later rounds and is knocked down, triggering a dramatic climax. This time, it’s Viktor’s turn to be emotionally distracted as his mother leaves rather than watch him lose, whilst his father eventually does the right thing by his son.

Ultimately, Creed II highlights both the risks of boxing itself but also the dangers of a damaged ego, as Viktor looks to fight on even though it could mean serious injury.

The poignant parallels between him and Apollo Creed are made clear as Ivan acts to save his son from the fate that befell Adonis’s father.

He realises that his love for Viktor counts for more than pushing him to win in the ring; the message is you can be winner by learning what is really important, even in defeat.

Fury is true heavyweight king, not Joshua, says Frank Warren

When Anthony Joshua defended his world heavyweight titles against Carlos Takam at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, the biggest indoor crowd in boxing history cheered the British fighter to victory.

But one spectator who was slightly more restrained in his excitement was veteran promoter Frank Warren. Whilst he admires Joshua, Warren says he is not the fighter some fans would have you believe – and he believes the real king of the ring is former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who has already made it clear he wants a crack at the champion.

‘Joshua’s got plenty of heart, but he gets hit. He gets caught. So there is a chink there in that armour, and he’s got a long way to go’

Warren has been the UK’s biggest boxing promoters for over three decades. His list of fighters contains a who’s who of former world champions such as Ricky Hatton, Prince Naseem Hamed, Nigel Benn, and Joe Calzaghe to name a few. Currently, he promotes stars like Billy Joe Saunders, James DeGale and, of course, Fury.

Last weekend it was all about Eddie Hearn and his number one guy, the WBA, IBF, and IBO World heavyweight champion Joshua, who defeated Takam via a 10th-round technical knockout.

Matchroom Sports promoter Hearn’s show made a statement with all tickets sold and a massive pay-per-view audience watching on TV.

But what did Warren, as someone who has been involved in many of the biggest events in British boxing history, what make of the evening?

“Well, quality wise, I thought the undercard was very average. I don’t think it was great. Takam fought much better than I anticipated. I based it on the facts of having seen the fight against Joseph Parker, who I thought handled him better,” commented Warren.

‘He’s no Ali’

Warren has previously promoted former world champion Fury, who called out Joshua on Twitter following his latest fight. And whilst he admits ‘AJ’ is a good fighter, he says he is no way comparable to some of the all-time greats, as is cheerleaders would have you believe.

“Anthony Joshua for me is a very good heavyweight. I’ve always admired him. He’s a big puncher, he’s got plenty of heart, but he gets hit. He gets caught. So there is a chink there in that armour, and he’s got a long way to go.

‘The number one heavyweight, as soon as he gets his license back, is Tyson Fury’

“Had [Evander] Holyfield been there and catching Anthony Joshua, it would have been lights out. You can’t compare Anthony to Muhammad Ali as some people have in some quarters. Ali had a great chin, and we are talking about Muhammad Ali. I’m quite sure it must embarrass Anthony when people make those comparisons,” stated Warren

The fact, just as Warren pointed out, is that due to his exciting style, Joshua does get clipped at times.

“There are times when he looks vulnerable. He’s won the fight, don’t get me wrong, but he can be caught. [Wladimir] Klitschko [who floored Joshua in their world title fight in April 2017] had him out.

“Klitschko, being a safety first fighter, let him off the hook. Somebody who is a good finisher… who knows what would have happened? He [Joshua] is exciting from that point of view and he will be a part of exciting fights,” Warren continued.

‘Tyson’s number one’

Fury is currently stuck in a battle with the British Boxing Board of Control and UK Anti-Doping after testing positive for a banned substance in October 2016. Fury admitted using cocaine while suffering with depression.

‘The Gypsy King’ was stripped of his titles and his boxing licence was suspended by the board. Fury’s legal team are currently setting up a date for the final hearing with UKAD which might happen in January according to Warren.

“The number one heavyweight, as soon as he gets his license back, is Tyson Fury,” the promoter asserted. “He will get his license back eventually and, more importantly, he’s got to get himself fit and well. And then we’ll see where it all goes.

“I think Tyson needs to get a couple of fights under his belt. Get the ring rust out and be ready to go.”

Should Joshua-Fury come to fruition in 2018, it would certainly be the biggest British heavyweight boxing fight of all time.

Peter Fury plotting a heavyweight dynasty

Top trainer Peter Fury has already guided his nephew Tyson to boxing glory and believes son Hughie is ready to follow suit.

Tyson gatecrashed the heavyweight elite with his shock victory over Wladimir Klitschko last November, taking his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles in Dusseldorf, Germany.

He became Britain’s eighth world champion in the top-weight division, ending Klitschko’s 10-year unbeaten run with a unanimous points decision.

The mastermind behind that resounding upset, Peter is confident that Hughie can join his cousin Tyson at boxing’s top table in 2016.

“There’s no more easy fights, he’s three years as a professional, he’s 18-0 with 10 KOs, he’s 21 years of age and he’s now ready to step up,” Fury Sr. told me.

Quality fights

“People say he’s, too young, I don’t care what anybody says, I do what I think is best. He is ready for any top-10 fighter in the world – he’s ready for a world title shot if it comes. So we’re ready – he will be taking good fights.

“We sent the contracts out and agreed on a figure, but they came back and asked us for four times the amount they’d agreed only a week before”

“My goal for Hughie is to have him fighting as many good fighters we can possibly get for him, to mix in high-quality circles. That’s what we want for Hughie – no more domestic fights, no more journeyman fights – it’s time for him to step up and have quality fights.”

Hennessy Sport, Fury’s promoters, are currently searching for a high-ranked contender who’s willing to take on the 21-year-old.

But Fury Sr. expressed his frustration with boxing’s byzantine politics and how he feels it is delaying his son’s progress in the ring.

“We tried negotiating with the Russian, Andrey Fedosov, who’s ranked number seven by the WBA and WBO, and 15th by the IBF,” he explained.

“We sent the contracts out and agreed on a figure, but they came back and asked us for four times the amount they’d agreed only a week before. If they hadn’t messed us around we’d be fighting him on February 26th.”

Big challenge

By comparison, London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua, who has a record of 15-0 with 15 KOs after turning pro three years ago at the age of 24, has secured his first world title fight with reigning IBF champion Charles Martin on April 9th at London’s O2 Arena.

“I’m looking at fighters in the top 10 or 15 – they should be number 30, 40 or 50”

With the pair being similar heights and both having perfect records, Hughie Fury v Joshua would be a fascinating pairing. Fury Sr says it would be a big challenge for his son, but one he would be up for.

“Every fighter is different. Joshua’s talented. I’m not going to judge anything. You never can tell, styles make fights,” he said. “Joshua’s a good fighter, he’s got excellent power. It would make for a great fight. We’re confident in Hughie’s ability, but you never know until you get in there.”

Unfortunately, as Fury Sr. reflects, the machinations of boxing’s movers and shakers mean so many longed-for match-ups end up never happening.

Rankings

“Boxing’s politics is a load of shit, businessmen get behind it and massage the ratings,” said Fury Sr.

“There are fighters in the top 10 that I don’t believe should be there. I’m looking at fighters in the top 10 or 15 – they should be number 30, 40 or 50 – it’s only because of who they are and who’s backing them that they get to where they are.

“There are aspects he can improve on. I believe we only saw 60, 65 percent of Tyson’s full capability [in the first Klitschko fight]”

“It’s all about leveraging your position. Now people are asking for a fortune to face Hughie, because they think ‘I don’t want to lose my ranking, because if I lose my ranking I could miss out’. They’ve got to protect those rankings. I don’t give a flying toss for them.

“It shows you what rankings are – well, they are Fedosov. There you are there’s your ranking. He’s ranked number seven against a guy that’s 45 on [the] Boxrec [website], my son. Guess what? They don’t want to take it, so that says enough on rankings.”

Improvement

Whilst Hughie Fury waits for his shot at the big time, cousin Tyson, 27, is already there – and Peter Fury says he expects a full-on battle, and a stoppage victory, when his nephew’s rematch against Wladimir Klitschko takes place.

Even though there has been a significant improvement in Tyson’s boxing ability in the last four years under his uncle’s expert tutelage, Fury Sr. believes there’s more to come from the world champion.

“There are aspects he can improve on. I believe we only saw 60, 65 percent of Tyson’s full capability [in the first Klitschko fight].

“So we will be working on a lot of different things to get the job done.” He pauses and adds with a smile “…but I can’t say what those things are…”

Follow Peter Fury on Twitter @peterfury