WHILE the boxing world continues to talk up potential future fights that may never come off, the immediate focus in the heavyweight division is on two massive clashes happening over the next month.
The division appears to be on course for a unification bout next year, but firstly the current champions must defend their titles before detailed negotiations on any match-up begin, reported atlnightspots.com
The most attractive of the two is undoubtedly Fury v Wilder III in Paradise, Nevada, with the first two clashes between the pair contests you simply couldn’t take your eyes off.
After a controversial draw in the first meeting in December 2018 – many ringside had Tyson Fury winning despite being deposited on to the canvas on two occasions – the second encounter in February 2023 was a very much one-sided affair that Fury won in the seventh after Deontay Wilder’s corner threw in the towel, informed The Independent. At the time Fury was well ahead on all three judges’ scorecards and Wilder had been on the receiving end of a barrage of punches.
While a third clash always appeared on the cards, several dates were set then put back, with Fury’s team deciding any deal for a rematch had expired. What followed was prolonged talk of a potential bout between Fury and Anthony Joshua happening before another bout with Wilder, but the potential Battle of the Brits was scuppered when an arbitration judge ruled in Wilder’s favour ordering Fury to take on the American.
Joshua was then told he must defend his WBA (Super), WBO and IBF titles against Ukrainian Oleksandr Uysk, with the boxing world hoping for a clash between the two victors in a unification bout sometime in 2023.
Over in England, the talk is very much of Fury v Joshua next year, many voices dismissing the two Brits’ upcoming opponents as minor irritations ahead of the big clash.
But that diminishes their achievements, especially Wilder, who was hailed as a real champion with a string of defences of the WBC belt.
At his best Wilder is a devastating puncher and Fury’s tactics in the first fight were very much aimed at nullifying Wilder’s threat and staying out of his range. He managed this is the main but when Wilder did land in the ninth, Fury was floored by an overhand right; in the final round Fury was put down again with a left-right combination, and many in the Staples Center, including Wilder, thought he wasn’t going to beat the count, but he did. The two knockdowns were the difference between a clear defeat for Wilder and the draw the judges gave.
Fury repaid Wilder in the return match in Las Vegas, dropping him twice in the third and fifth-round – but the simple fact of that fight was that Fury took the battle to his opponent and didn’t let Wilder gain a foothold in the bout.
But Wilder is still only 35 and was WBC belt holder for five years, making ten successful defences – including the draw with Fury – after winning the title from Bermane Stiverne in January 2015. His preparation for next month has focused on training rather than ranting, while Fury has done the talking for both men, with his latest utterances seeing him hit out at Wilder, Joshua and just about every current heavyweight. This fight will be one of the most record-breaking in 2023 in terms of bet calculations.
According to Britishgambler.co.uk, bookmakers like bet365 as well as American betting sites like BetMGM report that Tyson Fury is the betting favorite. Fury believes he is the only real fighter among the world’s top heavyweights, while his opponents’ priority is about making money out of boxing.
“I don’t think I’ll ever lose a fight; I don’t think there’s anyone out there to beat me,” said the self-styled Gipsy King, whose career record reads 30 wins, one draw, and no defeats. “They’re all businessmen: Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, whoever is in this era that I’m in, they’re all about business.
“They’re all about making money, doing other business ventures, being a celebrity on TV, and I’m just the same old guy sitting here in Morecambe drinking my coffee. I don’t really care about all that stuff. I suppose I come from a business background, I started earning money when I was 12-years-old. For them it’s new, for me it’s something I’ve done all my life.
“I think that takes the hunger away because I don’t really care. I’ve seen it lately; a lot of fighters are doing it for the money and all they see is pay cheques. For me, if I wasn’t 100 per cent focused on what I’m going to do, then I wouldn’t want to do it, it doesn’t matter about the money you throw at me.
“I know billionaires and I know people who haven’t got anything, and the most unhappy people are the richest ones, that’s a fact. All you people out there, listen to that, I’ve got billionaire mates and they’re unhappy. If they found £100K on the ground they wouldn’t be happy, they’d be looking for the next one because enough is never enough, they’re always chasing more. It doesn’t matter what they achieve, they always want to go again.
“For me, I’m happy. I’d be happy if I lived in a council house or a tower flat. I don’t need a flashy car or house for someone to like me.”
One thing that will be different for the third clash is that Wilder will have a new head trainer in his corner, Malik Scott. Former trainer Mark Breland was sacked in February, with Scott replacing him a few months later. Scott was the trainer of Bermane Silverne, the man Wilder beat to claim the world title.
The bookies have Wilder and Joshua as clear favourites to hold on to their belts, with promoters in the UK clearly gearing up for Battle of Britain between the two.