Can Tyson Fury shock the world in Dusseldorf? GREG LAMBERT gives his verdict on Saturday’s big fight.
Wladimir Klitschko is the Superchampion of the Heavyweight division.
The hard-punching, highly intelligent ‘Dr Steelhammer’ hasn’t lost for 11 years. He is the second longest reigning World Heavyweight Champion of all-time. He has made 18 consecutive successful defences. He is truly an all-time great.
Tyson Fury hasn’t faced anywhere near the level of competition Klitschko has defeated. And he’s stepping into the champion’s den, Germany, where King Wlad is most comfortable.
Those who give Fury no chance at all, point to this experience and home advantage factor. They rightly say Klitschko’s best punch is his massive right hand. Tyson has been floored heavily during his career by right hands from smaller fighters Neven Pajkic and Steve Cunningham. Fury has also often come into fights out of shape after not living a healthy lifestyle. Critics believe Fury’s hard living will take its toll and once the perfectly-conditioned Klitschko lands that big right, Tyson will go down and stay down.
But I think they are underestimating Tyson Fury.
Fury is 6ft 9, three inches taller than Klitschko. Styles make fights and for the first time in Wladimir’s career, he’s facing a man with a jab at least equal to his own ramrod left, who outreaches him by four inches. At times, Fury has completely outclassed opponents with intelligent use of the jab and his freakish physical dimensions, sometimes switching seamlessly to southpaw.
Klitschko is predictable. Jab, straight right, occasional left hook, grab hold. It’s an effective, robotic style which has served him well, but it never changes.
Tyson’s shrewd uncle and trainer Peter Fury – who wasn’t in his corner for the Pajkic and Cunningham fights – will have a strategy perfected.
Fury has the technique to match Klitschko at distance and the size to stop him spoiling.
My biggest worry here is the referee. I hope he doesn’t dock points if Tyson gets too rough.
Fury is also in by far the best physical condition of his career. He’s been training hard, and looks focussed and ready. Klitschko is 40 in a few months. If ever the time was right to beat him, it’s now.
I can see Fury rising to the occasion. Despite his claims that he’ll take the fight to Klitschko, I expect him to box at range, possibly from the southpaw stance, looking to land the jab and then stun Waldimir with a big punch. Then when the champion attempts to grab, Fury will try to rough him up. That’s the blueprint for beating Klitschko.
Fury also has underrated stamina. As long as he concentrates deeply, doesn’t get caught on the ropes or square-on, I believe he can take Klitschko’s best punches and outwork the calculating champion. He’s so big, fast and brave. Wladimir has never faced anyone like him before.
There might be rocky moments for Tyson because he too has never faced the problems Wlad’s own jab and hand speed will pose him. But with heart and smart boxing, he can come through them. Then I can see Klitschko getting worn out the longer the fight goes on. Fury has that ‘Gypsy King’ mentality and warrior spirit. He wants it badly. At this stage of his career, does Klitschko?
The Ukrainian has been stopped three times before and floored on many occasions. Granted, it was earlier in his career and Klitschko’s defence is much tighter these days. But now he’s facing a man with the physical attributes and skills to test him.
Fury has the reach, hand speed and power to hit him hard on that suspect chin, more often than he’s been hit in a decade.
And I do not believe Klitschko can withstand taking repeated punishment from a bigger, hungrier man at this stage of his career.
So I pick Tyson Fury to shock the world with a mid-to-late rounds stoppage.