In Deontay Wilder, a man that towers to 6′ 7” and boasts a record of 40-0 with 39 wins by way of destructive KO, stands a bold, brash undefeated WBC heavyweight champion but also a boxer who is yet to have that career defining fight, the type that gives him world wide acclaim, the type to make the boxing world stand and take notice but most importantly the type that will transition him to mainstream fame. Yes, Wilder is a charismatic, entertaining and well spoken man, it’s difficult to not be mesmerised by his natural witty charm, but he is somewhat of a small fish, albeit his towering frame, in a huge pond when it comes to American sports stars. This Saturday could quite possibly be his break out moment, his time to truly become an American icon akin to boxing greats such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and other fighters of that ilk.
Across the ring from Wilder, will be Tyson Fury, 27-0 (19KOs) an equally imposing giant of a man, standing a colossal 6′ 9” in height and possessing an 85” reach. Fury has sat a top the heavyweight mountain before, he famously dethroned the great Ukrainian Wladmir Klitschko in 2015 to claim the unified heavyweight titles, the only belt missing from his collection is the WBC strap that belongs to Wilder.
Since that famous win, one of the greatest upsets in recent boxing memory, Wilder and Fury have walked almost polar opposite paths through life.
Tyson went on to struggle with his new found fame and fortune in the aftermath of the Klitschko win, turning to drink and drugs to suppress his depression, a battle he has not only won but shared with world, enabling others to speak out and find the help they need. ‘The Gypsy King’, seemed to be forever lost from the fight game, pulling out of rematch obligations with Klitschko, ballooning to almost 30st and on a seemingly endless path to self destruction. Thankfully, as previously mentioned Tyson overcame his demons, and began his self titled ‘Road to Redemption’ shedding an estimated 150lbs in a strict and disciplined effort to return to his former glories.
June 2018, almost 3 years after the famous night in Düsseldorf, Tyson Fury returned to the ring, the mere fact he was in shape to not only physically but also mentally was a sight to be hold, the bout itself was somewhat a circus, Sefer Seferi quitting on his stool after 5 almost pantomime like rounds of boxing, leaving fans and boxing pundits with little to take from the contest. A second comeback bout was quickly pencilled in for August as part of the Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson card that was to be held in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The opponent this time was Francesco Pianetta, a one time world title challenger, a slight improvement on the first fight if still somewhat underwhelming, Fury outclassed his overmatched foe to take a UD in front of an on watching Deontay Wilder, early rumours and gossip of a potential super fight between the former unified champion and the current WBC head honcho had been running amok in the weeks building up to the contest, a heated post fight star down and exchanging of threats lead to promoter Frank Warren to famously shout ‘It’s On!!’ and after a few weeks of delays, the bout was indeed on. December 1st at the Staples Centre in Los Angles was the date and location for this epic heavyweight tussle.
In Wilder, who won the WBC title by outpointing tough Haitian Bermane Stiverne in early 2015, we have an active champ who has racked up 5 brutal knockout victories, each as unequivocally as savage as the other, to cement his reputation as the most dangerous man not only in the land of the giants in the heavyweight division but across all weight classes.
There seems to be little argument that Saturday night pits the fleet footed boxer, blessed with movement and agility never before seen in a man so big, Tyson Fury against the shuddering, power punching knockout artist in Deontay Wilder, both men are unsurprisingly supremely confident about getting the win in the Staples Centre in LA this weekend and so they should, both have undefeated records, one is the WBC heavyweight champion and the other The Lineal Champion, it’s a fascinating prospect and one that could be a blink and you miss it KO or a 12 round boxing masterclass.
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