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WILDER AND FURY: TALE OF TWO FORMIDABLE HEAVYWEIGHTS


PhilBoxing.com



Wilder (L) and Fury (R) talk to each other from afar during Friday's weighin in Las Vegas. Both fighters have been prohibited by the Las Vegas commission to have a staredown during the weighin.

Deontay Leshun Wilde was born on October 22, 1985 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States. He has held the WBC heavyweight title since January 17, 2015. In a fight called "Return to Glory", Wilder fought Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBC heavyweight title. Wilder became the first American heavyweight world champion since Shannon Briggs by defeating Stiverne by a unanimous decision. The judges scored it 118–109, 119–108, and 120–107. Wilder connected 227 of 621 punches (37%) while Stiverne landed 110 of 327 punches (34%).

* * *

Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs, 95% KO rate) became the first American world heavyweight champion in eight years, which was the longest period in boxing history without an American heavyweight champion. Briggs from Brooklyn, New York won the WBO heavyweight title when he knocked out Sergei Liakhovich of Belarus in the twelfth round of their title fight in November 4, 2006.



* * *

In his first title defense Briggs was scheduled to defend his title against Sultan Ibragimov of Russia on March 10, 2007. But Briggs withdrew from the fight because he suffered from "aspiration pneumonia." The fight was postponed to June 2, 2007 in Atlantic City and Briggs lost by a unanimous decision 117–111, 119–109, and 115–113.

* * *

Wilder started late in boxing at age of 20 years. As an amateur fighter, he won the heavyweight bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That is why he was called "The Bronze Bomber", which was coined after Joe Louis, who was known as "The Brown Bomber".

* * *

Wilder has a horrific punching power, having knocked out every foe he fought except Tyson Fury whom he knocked down twice. He has 20 knockouts in the first round. He is a two-time winner of the Premier Boxing Champions Knockout of the Year award, in 2016 and 2017, and the winner of the Ring magazine Knockout of the Year award in 2019 with his 7th round knockout of Luis Ortiz. As of December 2019, Wilder is ranked No. 2 heavyweight by BoxRec and The Ring and No. 1 by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

* * *

Tyson Luke Fury was born August 12, 1988 in Manchester, England. In 2015, he won the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles by defeating long-time world champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine in Germany. The win made him garner the Fighter of the Year and Upset of the Year awards by The Ring. As of December 2019, Fury is ranked as the world's No 1 heavyweight by The Ring, No.2 by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and No. 4 by BoxRec.



* * *

In 2008 Fury turned professional at 20 years of age. He won the English heavyweight title twice, and later became the British and Commonwealth champion in 2011 by winning over the then undefeated Dereck Chisora. He then won the Irish and WBO intercontinental titles, before defeating Chisora again in a rematch for the European and WBO international heavyweight titles in 2014. With this impressive achievements and with an immaculate 24–0 record, a match with Klitschko was scheduled, which Fury won by unanimous decision 112–115, 111–116, and 112–115.

* * *

Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs, 67% KO rate) was stripped of his IBF title just 10 days after his win over Klitschko for his failure to face the IBF's mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov, due to a rematch clause in his contract with Klitschko. The Klitschko rematch did not push through because Fury suffered from mental health issues which resulted in alcoholism, extreme weight gain, and recreational drug use, and Fury was accused of anti-doping infractions. In 2016, he relinquished the WBA, WBO, and IBO titles. The Ring stripped him of his last heavyweight title in 2018.

* * *

After more than two years of inactivity, Fury challenged for the WBC heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder. Fury delivered a strong performance against Wilder. According to CompuBox statistics, Wilder landed 71 punches of 430 thrown (17%), but Fury landed 84 of his 327 thrown (26%). This plus Fury recovering from a deadly knockdown in the final round, earned him Comeback of the Year from The Ring and several other awards.

* * *

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II is billed as "Unfinished Business." It is a heavyweight professional boxing rematch between undefeated and reigning WBC champion Deontay Wilder and undefeated former unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal champion Tyson Fury, for the WBC and vacant The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles. The first fight in December 1, 2018 ended in a controversial split draw with the scorecards at 115–111 for Wilder, 114–112 for Fury and 113–113.

* * *

The fight will be jointly promoted by the both American Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions, Bob Arum's Top Rank and British Frank Warren's Queensberry Promotions. The event will happen on February 22, 2020 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada.

* * *

After the first bout, there were calls for an immediate rematch. The WBC announced in February 2019 that it would be difficult to set an immediate rematch since Fury signed a contract with ESPN and Top Rank which means that the rematch would be a co-promotion. There were only two joint promotions which took place in boxing, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in 2002 and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao in 2015.

* * *

With the delay of the rematch, Fury and Wilder both scheduled fights with different opponents. On May 18, 2019, Wilder fought Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) and scored a first-round KO. On June 15, 2019, Fury faced Tom Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) and triumphed with a second-round TKO. Fury followed this impressive win with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) on September 14, 2019. Then Wilder rematched with Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) on November 23, 2019, and won by seventh-round KO.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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