On Saturday 1st December, the heavyweight division will see its biggest and most anticipated match up since Anthony Joshua faced off against Wladmir Klitschko.
Tyson Fury takes on Deontay Wilder in what promises to be another classic encounter between the boxer and the puncher. Is this a step too far too soon for Fury after his lengthy lay off or will Wilder find out it is not so easy landing punches on a moving target? This promises to be such an intriguing fight because of the differences in styles, it is pretty much a pick ’em fight and a real 50/50 call. Tyson Fury could box his way to a 12 rounds points decision or Wilder may land that one punch – which is all he needs to win any fight. Let’s have a look at the fighting traits of the two boxers and see who comes out on top….
The two possess speed but in different facets of their game – whereas Fury is very nimble on the feet, which is a surprise given his size, he does also possess good hand speed. Wilder, who is the better athlete of the two, does not possess better footwork than Fury and he isn’t especially quick with his hands either but he is explosive and that is something which makes up for any lack of speed. Wilder can pull the trigger out of nowhere, even though his combos may not be as ‘pretty’ as a more technical boxer, preferring to use a more brawling and swinging method to his punches, the angle of the punches is what can upset his opponents defence. Fury has the edge in speed in this head to head clash, both with hands and feet.
I don’t think there will be any argument here, Wilder is by far the harder hitter. Wilders explosiveness lends to his power as does his awkward angle throwing punches. Wilders swinging style often means the opponent will see Wilders punches coming, but he hits so hard he can punch through a fighters guard. More than anyone else in the division, Wilder has the ability to end the fight with one punch, this also means he can turn the tide within a moments notice, as he did against the dangerous southpaw Luis Ortiz. Tyson Fury has never really been seen as a big hitter, but he is 6’9 and around 250lbs or thereabouts depending on what he weighs in for the fight, when you are getting hit by someone that size, it might not be a one punch KO but shots from someone that size will add up and effect a fighter. Wilder is the more powerful but this is heavyweight boxing, a clean punch from Fury will no doubt be felt by Wilder. Wilder is the more likely to finish the fight with one punch hitting power but don’t underestimate the power of a man as big as Fury.
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Both fighters are nightmares for opponents. If you are a boxer, Fury and Wilder present styles you are not going to enjoy going up against. Wilder is unorthodox, throwing punches from wide angles, swinging his punches in and generally not being very technical. But it is this lack of technique when throwing his punches that catches opponents off guard simply because they are not accustomed to defending punches in the manner Wilder throws his.
Tyson Fury though is very unique – how often have we seen a man of his size move so well? Fury can move around the ring and be up on his toes, slipping, rolling, feinting. Fury has a very difficult style to deal with, he is also able to fight out of the southpaw stance, just to further confuse you. Will Wilder be able to set his feet and get his power punches off against a man like Fury who will be constantly moving and feinting, upsetting Wilders rhythm? If I was going to be a boxing purist and pick which style presents the most problems, it has to be Tyson Fury, big men aren’t supposed to move so well….
Tyson Fury is a smart boxer, people underestimate how smart he is and his style of fighting in itself shows he is a thinking man. Fury will often use feints to slow his opponent down and make them hesitate before they throw their punches. His fight against Wladmir Klitschko was a perfect example of this, Fury kept moving and kept feinting and Wlad was never able to set himself to throw punches in combinations and was unable to pull the trigger on his famed right hand. Will Fury do the same to Wilder and make him think twice about throwing that dangerous right hand of his? Fury has shown the ability to fight to a plan and just as importantly stick to his plan – it may not be the most exciting way of fighting but it shows he has ring smarts and can fight to a plan. Wilder hasn’t really shown he needs the smarts as he has always relied on his power to pull something out of the hat and escape trouble. In Wilder’s fight against Ortiz, it was clear Ortiz was out boxing Wilder and Wilders only answer was to swing harder, thankfully for Wilder when you possess power like his, it does become the get out of jail card. Wilder will inevitably come across periods in the fight with Fury where he will need to use his ring craft more than he needs to summon his power. Can Wilder figure Fury out or will be continue swinging hoping one of his punches land? Yet again Fury takes this one.
Tyson Fury stands 6’9 – for Wilder this is will pose serious questions because he has never fought someone as tall as Fury who also possesses the ability to move. Fighting someone taller also presents its own challenges and Wilder as someone who likes to set his feet and throw his shots, will have to figure out his distance quick before Fury runs away from him whilst popping out his jabs. The reach difference is also 2in in the favour of Fury, this will allow Fury to use his jab and use his habit of pulling or laying back away from punches, as the taller man he will be able to move out of range much easier than Wilder will be able to move into range. When Wilder does get into range, Fury will likely resort to tieing him up and leaning on the much ‘smaller’ Wilder. By smaller I am referring to weight, Fury could well weigh up to 20kg more than Wilder and all that holding and leaning, preventing Wilder from freeing his arms up could well make a difference the longer the fight goes on.
Ring rust? Fury is heading into just his third fight since his return to the ring and many wonder whether he has taken on such a dangerous fight too soon. Does Fury need one maybe two more fights before he takes on the big boys? Fury doesn’t seem to think so and is taking a huge gamble by stepping into the ring with Wilder, but clearly Fury sees something he can exploit and believes he can get the better of Wilder. This will be only Wilders sixth fight in the past three years as he has battled injuries but he has been far more active than his counterpart, Fury did show signs he was returning to form in his last fight but this is Wilder we are talking about, one wrong move could be lights out.
Mental Strength? Both fighters possess mental strength, Fury has battled back from mental health issues including depression and will no doubt be stronger for the experience. When you come back from the darkest corners of your mind then getting back into the ring is the easy part, Fury is already a winner in this sense. Fury has also come back from being dropped to winning the fight and beat Klitschko to end his vice like grip on the heavyweight division, all this proves that Fury has the requisite mental strength to succeed.
Wilder was often criticised for having an easy schedule and not testing himself enough but his fight against Luis Ortiz answered a lot of critics. Wilder was at times hurt and looked like he was all but out on his feet but he managed to hold on and come out with the victory against a very good opponent, Wilder will no doubt take strength from this having proved to not only himself but the whole boxing world that he can win in the face of adversity.
So what’s my final call on this? On paper then it looks like Fury is the man who will come out the victor, he is the better boxer with the better skills. But Wilder possesses that one punch knockout power that is the great equalizer and he can pull that punch out at any moment. What this means is that a Tyson Fury who has only boxed twice and just 14 rounds in the past three rounds will have to be at the top of his game to defend himself against such as a dangerous opponent who can end the game in a twinkling of an eye. It really is anyones call on who wins the fight and it will go in one of two ways in my opinion – a Wilder win by knockout or a Fury win on points. I’m going to gamble and pick the latter, Fury by points.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Author of: The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle *Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
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