Tyson Fury was spectacular last time against Wilder and it's impossible to imagine a complete reversal of fortunes

FROM the extraordinary ring walk to the explosive stoppage, it was a bravura performance. 

Tyson Fury was carried into the ring, shoulder high on a throne, in a crown and regal robes, singing along to Patsy Cline’s Crazy.

He had told us all week that he would overpower the heavyweight division’s greatest knockout artist, Deontay Wilder, but few believed he was capable of winning in the manner he did.

Roared on by thousands of British and Irish fight fans, Fury performed a demolition job so comprehensive that there was little appetite for the trilogy fight in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.

That rematch – after a thrilling draw in Los Angeles in December 2018 – was almost 20 months ago now, shortly before the global sporting lockdown. 

And it often seems to have been forgotten quite how spectacular Fury was on that remarkable night in Sin City. 

During the height of the pandemic, British fans dreamt of an all-British fight between Fury and Anthony Joshua for the undisputed crown.   

It was widely assumed that, should such a contest take place, Joshua would be the people’s champion, with overwhelming support. 


Yet Fury, who’d been to oblivion and back before his first flight with Wilder, is now, without doubt, the greatest heavyweight on Earth. 

And should he reproduce anything like that display against Wilder – inside and outside of the ring – he might just become the world’s most popular heavyweight too. 

While Joshua has always been slick, photogenic and blue-chip, Fury was the rough-edged traveller with the scattergun mouth, the pantomime villain.  

In recent years, Fury has cut out the worst of his tirades – the fire-and-brimstone homophobic rants. 

This is a deeply complex character, who suffered from serious mental health issues after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful display of ring-craft back in 2015. 

But while always unpredictable, Fury can be compelling, amusing, lyrical and is a natural showman. 

In contrast, Joshua can seem over-produced and stilted. 

The schooling he received in his defeat by Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham a fortnight ago suggested that Joshua overestimated his own boxing abilities and was gun-shy when he ought to have been targeting a stoppage. 

We always knew Fury was capable of out-boxing and out-pointing any other modern-day heavyweight.

He has probably won 16 of the 19 rounds he has fought against Wilder, yet was robbed of victory in the original fight, having ducked, weaved and showboated his way to superiority until his brutal final-round knockdown and Lazarus-style rise from the canvas. 

Before that first bout, we had assumed Fury was far too early in his comeback to take on an unbeaten Wilder for the WBC crown. We were wrong.    

Before the second bout, we knew he was a far superior boxer but we did not see him piling into the American from the first bell to the surrender of the towel from trainer Mark Breland in the seventh. Wrong again.  

Fury and Wilder are only getting it on again because a US judge compelled it – just when it had looked as though Joshua-Fury would finally happen this summer. 

That Usyk defeat means we are less likely than ever to witness that ultimate battle of Britain – it is a potential fight which has lost much of its prestige and intrigue. 

Nobody outside Joshua’s inner circle can now believe the Watford man has a cat in hell’s chance of defeating Fury.

As for Wilder, well he always has a puncher’s chance – he tested Fury’s jaw and his stomach for the fight when they first met in LA. 

Surely, though, Britain cannot lose two world heavyweight champions in as many weeks? 

Re-watch that second Fury-Wilder fight and it is impossible to imagine the complete reversal of fortunes required for an upset this time around.

From the left-right combination that floored Wilder in the third, to the body-shot which sent him sprawling in the fifth, to the mighty straight right, which ended the fight with the Alabama man pinned in the corner, Fury’s dominance was complete. 

If we want to speculate, we’d be better off wondering what sort of ring walk Fury has planned this time and what sort of karaoke tune he might croon in the ring afterwards. 

What happens in between feels as close to inevitable as heavyweight boxing can ever get. 

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