By Michael Montero – This Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany, undisputed heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko defends his crown for the nineteenth straight time against undefeated British giant Tyson Fury. For Klitschko, this will mark the third bout in a three-fight deal he signed with American premium cable network HBO last year. Fury represents the third straight undefeated contender the champion has faced; in fact six of his last seven opponents unblemished records. But Fury will present a whole new challenge for the nearly forty year old Ukrainian this Saturday night, let’s take a look.
Standing at 6’9” with an 85” reach, Tyson Fury enjoys a rare size advantage over Klitschko. But the son of former heavyweight “Gypsy” John Fury, cousin of heavyweight prospect Hugie Fury and cousin of middleweight titlist Andy Lee isn’t just another big guy with a sparkly record; he has very underrated boxing skills and moves well for such a large man. Fury had a brief but successful amateur career (31-4, 26KO), winning medals in several youth tournaments before ultimately losing to David Price for the opportunity to represent England in the 2008 Olympics. As a professional Fury is 24-0 (18KO) and has been entertaining in the ring. It’s fitting that his father named him after former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, because the twenty-seven year old fights with a little bit of crazy in him. And perhaps that could be his greatest asset against Klitschko, who likes to fight in a comfortable, controlled manner.
Wlad is used to being the bigger man in the ring and he has become a master of using that to his advantage. The only fighter is comparable height to Fury that Klitschko has faced in recent years was Mariusz Wach. But as big and strong as the Polish fighter was, he has subpar boxing skills and Klitschko easily shut him out over twelve rounds in November 2012. But Fury is bigger, younger, is more skilled and hits harder than Wach. Can he use his youth and size – combined with a dash of ‘crazy’ – to give Klitschko a serious challenge?
American contender Bryant Jennings was able to give Klitschko trouble during their fight in April, using his longer arms and physical strength to make Wlad look “old” at times. But in the end, Jennings was the smaller man and was ultimately nullified by the champ. Can Fury pick up where Jennings left off? One thing is for sure, Fury loves to fight and many expect him to go all out in his opportunity against the champion.
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