This past weekend, two of the best heavyweight boxers in the world, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder put on one of the greatest title fÄ±ghts in boxing history. Consider the stats:
- Five knockdowns (two for Wilder, three for Fury)
- Round 3: Fury knocks down Wilder
- Round 4: Wilder responds with 2 vicious knockdowns with his patented right hand
- Fury gets up and dominates the rest of the next six rounds outlanding WÄ±lder 150-72 (BoxScene, October 10, 2021)
- Which leads to Wilder gettÄ±ng knocked down twice in the 11th round and the eventual TKO victory for the Gypsy King Tyson Fury.
Even if this marked the third act of a trilogy between two boxing titans, the run-up to this fight lacked the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies a heavyweight title bout. Whereas most third acts function as rubber-matches between two evenly-matched fighters, Fury outboxed Wilder in their first fight which ended in a tie and then thoroughly dismantled Wilder in their February 2020 match-up. Wilder may have proven his bonafides as a champion, but most fans thought he didnât deserve another title shot. Still, due to issues caused by promoters and convoluted politics, Fury was forced to fight Wilder for a third time. Accordingly, Wilder was largely underestimated because he didnât seem capable of executing a game plan that could trouble Fury.Â Â
From the opening bell, Wilder came out looking like a different fighter–at least for the fÄ±rst three rounds. At 238 pounds, Wilder was 25 pounds heavier than he was in the trilogyâs second installment back in February 2020. Already one of the hardest hitters in boxing history, Wilder doubled down on his power at the cost of some stamina and endurance, realizing that his best shot to win would be via knockout.
Despite packing on extra weight and strength, Wilder adopted a surprisingly measured approach during the first three rounds, peppering Fury with body blows in an attempt to lower Furyâs hands and set up a knockout blow. Moreover, Wilder established himself as the aggressor and controlled the fight, consistently pinning Fury against the ropes.
After a knockdown in the fourth by Fury, Wilder went back to his roots and started headhuntÄ±ng. Even if Wilderâs aggression allowed him to knock Fury down twice in the fifth round, this undisciplined approach caused Wilder to lose the ability to control the ring.
As such, after getting knocked down twice in the fifth, Tyson Fury slowly took over the fight, using his lightnÄ±ng-quÄ±ck 1-2 combinations and his own sheer mass to methodically drain Wilder of any power or energy. At 277 pounds, Fury possesses a rare combination of size and agility. Last February, Fury outclassed Wilder with his footwork, technical brilliance and tactical wherewithal, frustrating the Alabama native by dancing around the cage like a British Muhammad Ali. This time, though, Fury relied on his gigantitude, leaning on Wilder throughout the fight. In doing so, Fury revealed the fatal flaw of the bulked-up Wilderâs plan of attack, exploiting Wilderâs lack of stamina and leading to the eventual TKO. This diversity of boxing ability and technique is what makes the Gypsy King the greatest heavyweight of the generation.Â
While fight #3 initially seemed less interesting than the previous two, it was by far the best. With his heart and newfound stylistic diversity, Deontay Wilder proved that heâs more than a one-handed knockout merchant; by lasting 11 rounds against the hulking Fury, he demonstrated incredible resilience and even managed to deliver damage in the later rounds. This talentâthe potential to end a fight at any moment, no matter how woozy or hobbled he may beâis what makes Wilder such a special fighter.
As for Furyâs next move, Oleksandr Usyk is the clear fight, since this would offer the opportunity to unify the heavyweight titles. By beatÄ±ng Anthony Joshua last month, Usyk proved that he can compete with bigger heavyweights after moving up from the cruiserweight division. If Fury can overwhelm Usyk the same way he did Wilder, he would not only become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but etch his name in the history books as one of the greatest boxers of all time.