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Wilder reveals he was only 50% for Fury fight due to hand injury

Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury Wilder vs. Fury

By Trevor McIntyre: Deontay Wilder says he had a broken right hand just 12 weeks before he started his training camp for his title defense against Tyson Fury last weekend, and that he was only at 50% capacity during the match due to the injury. Wilder, 32, told SiriusXM Boxing that he hurt his right hand before his training camp.

There’s speculation from some fans whether Wilder injured the right hand in hitting a mascot wearing a custom when he was in a promo shoot for ESPN. Wilder appeared to unload with everything he had in hitting the mascot with a right hand that knocked him flat on his back during filming.

Last Saturday night, a listless looking Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) was held to a 12 round split draw by Fury at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Wilder’s inability to land his right hand in 10 of the 12 rounds made Fury look good, even though he looked very hittable. Wilder’s timing with his right hand was clearly off. Even when Fury was standing directly in front of him, begging to be hit by a right hand, Wilder still couldn’t land. Frequently, Wilder was pulling his right hand punches, and not putting everything he had in it, as if he was worried about re-injuring it.

Wilder said to SiriusXM Boxing. “You know, you got the best of Tyson Fury but you only got the half-best of me and I still did what I had to do. Just only imagine me at my full potential. That was all my fault. I blame myself.”

Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) appeared to be at his best without any injuries holding him back last Saturday night. It was unquestionably the second best performance of Fury’s 10-year pro career behind only his 12 round decision win over Wladimir Klitshko in November 2015. However, Fury still was far from perfect in getting knocked down by Wilder in the 9th and 12th rounds. Fury also appeared to give away many of the first five rounds. Wilder clearly did enough to earn a draw if not a close win just based on him coming forward the entire fight, landing the harder shots, and showing that he wanted it more. Fury was doing more of a Pernell Whitaker type of initiation inside the ring, making Wilder miss, but only landing soft counter shots and nothing in the way of power.

“12 weeks before the camp I broke my hand. You know, I don’t make excuses. People don’t know these things,” Wilder said. “So even in camp, I barely would throw my right hand in camp. You can ask all my sparring partners. I was barely throwing the right hand. That could’ve been another reason of why I was so off as well, too.”

It shows class that Wilder is willing to admit that he wasn’t at his best for the Fury fight. A lot of fighters would complain about the decision and say that they were given a bad deal by the judges. Wilder is admitting that he wasn’t at his best against the unbeaten Fury, and he wants to rectify that by fighting him again in a rematch if possible. It’s going to be up to Fury, his management and Wilder’s team to decide whether a second fight will happen right away. It’s clear that Wilder and Fury will fight each other again at some point, but the only thing that isn’t decided is if it should happen next. Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is already talking about wanting to match his fighter against Fury or Wilder next on April 13. Hearn believes he’s got Wilder where he wants him with his less than impressive performance in fighting to a draw against Fury. Hearn is likely going to offer Wilder a much smaller purse split than the 50-50 split that he’s been asking for for a fight against Joshua. If Wilder turns down the offer, which could be as low as 70-30, Hearn will move on to try and setup a fight between Fury and Joshua. It’s likely that Hearn might even approach Fury’s promoter Frank Warren first to try and setup a Joshua-Fury fight on April 13, and forget about Wilder. Hearn believes that Fury deserved a win over Wilder by two rounds last Saturday. This opinion is echoed by a lot of the British boxing fans. Given the UK public’s perception that Fury is now the uncrowned WBC heavyweight champion, it gives Hearn an excuse to approach him first to try and line up a fight against Joshua for April 13.

The training footage of Wilder might backup what he’s saying about him having a right hand problem going into his training camp for the Fury fight. Wilder wasn’t using his right hand in footage of him working out, and it looked like he was unable or unwilling to throw the punch. Not being able to work on his right hand during camp would have put Wilder at a distinct disadvantage against a defensive artist like Fury, whose game is built around making his opponents miss. Fury is the equivalent of a knuckle-ball pitcher if you want to describe his game in baseball terms. Fury makes guys miss in his boxing matches, but he doesn’t land anything to get their attention.

“I had all of these sparring partners and most of the whole camp was nothing but jabs.,” Wilder said. “I’m hanging in there with these guys with nothing but jabs, barely throwing the right hand because I wanted to reserve it for the fight. I didn’t want nothing to happen.”

On a positive note, Wilder’s left hand looked the best it’s ever looked. Wilder was jabbing with authority last Saturday, and his left hand power shot looked much better than it ever had in the past. Wilder knocked Fury down with a left hand in the 12th round. Fury was clowning Wilder by ducking low, trying to mock him, when he unleashed a chopping right hand followed by a beautiful left hook that knocked Fury out cold on the canvas. If not for the referee giving an unconscious looking Fury a count, he would have been stopped. Wilder’s left hand was much improved for the fight, and it’s easy to believe that he spent the vast majority of the camp working mainly on his left due to his right hand problem.

Fury and his trainer Ben Davison complained about the judging of the Wilder fight last Saturday night. It seemed to be sour grapes on their part, but at least they didn’t talk about about an injury that kept Fury from winning. Wilder should have revealed the injury ahead of time and asked for the fight to be postponed until 2019.

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