On Saturday night, Tyson Fury produced a career best performance to dethrone the long reigning WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
After drawing in the first meeting in 2018, this time around, the Gypsy King was intent on setting the record straight, turning up to battle match-fit with additional power and spite in his punches.
Fury surprised many, including Wilder, staying true to his word and taking the fight to his opponent from the opening bell. He quickly established himself as the man that would be leading the ‘dance’, using his feet cleverly to manoeuvre where he wanted himself and Wilder to be.
The benefits of his work with his new trainer SugarHill were clear: Fury’s jab had morphed from a distraction into a weapon. He took control of the fight from the outset, employing clever feints and utilising his long and powerful jab to force Wilder onto the back foot.
Many were concerned (myself included) that Fury’s additional weight would make him more available for Wilder’s right hand. Others felt that changing trainers and employing more aggressive tactics would prove costly mistakes: how wrong we were.
The result was a better balanced, more powerful and imposing Tyson Fury. At range, he was hurting Wilder, and in the clinches Fury’s extra weight was zapping the strength from the rapidly deteriorating champion.
Wilder’s only real success in the fight came in the first round courtesy of two meaningful right hands. But it was Fury who was to prove the puncher in the rematch, going on to make a mockery of Wilder’s ‘pillow fist’ comments by sending his opponent down with a right hand to the head in the third round and then again in the fifth with a left hook to the body.
Wilder was taking heavy shots round after round but there were no signs of a ‘No Mas’ conclusion. Finally, in round seven, the American’s corner made the decision for him, signalling the end to the fight by throwing in the towel.
So, what did I learn from Fury’s performance? Fury proved to me that he is not only a master boxer: he’s also a big puncher at his higher weight. His choice to switch trainers and fight with a more aggressive style also appears to have been the right move at this stage in his career. He proved how versatile he is too, with the accompanying mind-set and physical attributes required to go out and execute a different game plan. He showed us why he is arguably the number one box-office attraction in the sport: entering the ring atop a throne, knocking down his opponent multiple times and singing to the crowd after his victory. Nobody does it quite like Fury.
Whilst we wait to see if Wilder will initiate his rematch clause, clamour for a salivating unification contest with fellow countryman Anthony Joshua continues to intensify. One thing is for sure: Fury is the current King of the division.