British heavyweight fighter Tyson Fury (25-0-18Kos) said he would shock the world in his championship fight with a victory over Wladimir Klitschko (65-4-53KOs) on Saturday at ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf, Germany for the Ukrainian’s IBF, WBO and WBA titles.
Well, that was precisely what Fury, the trash-talker extraordinaire, did in front of a sold-out crowd at the ESPRIT arena where he outworked and outhustled Klitschko to win the IBF, WBA and WBO belts by a unanimous decision.
The judges scored the fight 115-112-115-115-111 for Fury, a fighter who had said he would consider quitting boxing if he had lost to Klitschko.
The fight was not an action-packed, entertaining event, but Fury did more than enough to end the 11-year reign of Klitschko, who was going for his 19th title defense.
Had he successfully defended his multiple belts, Klitschko would have been one shy of Larry Holmes’20, who is number two behind the Brown Bomber Joe Louis’ 25.
It did not take long for Fury to send a message to the former champion that he was not in awe nor was he intimidated by him. Both fighters didn’t do much in the first round, with each landing about four jabs.
But, Fury, known for his histrionics in and outside the ring, raised his arms as he walked to his corner as if he had scored a couple of knockdowns in the first round.
By the third round, Fury switched to a southpaw stance and was clowning with Klitschko, dropping both hands, sticking his head forward and pulling back in a display of confidence that confounded the former champion.
In the fifth round, a cut appeared bellow the right eye of Klitschko, which happened because of an accidental head butt by Fury.
But the story of the evening was Fury rendering Klitschko’s best weapon- his jab- useless for most of the fight. He was frustrated all evening long because he could not get his jab past the taller Fury’s wingspan.
The new champion, who, in the build up to the championship fight, showed up for a press conference as Batman, came in with a fight plan and did not deviate from it one iota.
Fury kept the fight on the outside and did not get into an old phone booth style of warfare with Klitschko, who has enough power in his right hand to take down any heavyweight fighter.
One of the virtues Batman is known for in tough situations confronting dangerous creeps in society is his focus and determination. This is not calling a great champ like Klitschko a creep, but like his comics book hero, Fury’s focus and steely determination carried the night.
Klitschko had his moments, like in the ninth round in which he landed some hard rights on Fury’s head. But the challenger also responded with a big left and an uppercut of his own to end the round.
In the 10th round, the referee deducted a point from Fury for rabbit punching after warning him a few times earlier. The point loss was irrelevant because, at that point in the fight, Fury had piled up enough points that Mr. Klitschko needed a knockout anyway to keep his title.
Klitschko’s trainer told him in the 10th round that he needed a knockout to win. Klitschko heeded his advice later. He was more active in the 11th and 12 rounds, connecting with some shots and taking some leather from Fury. Had Klitschko been as active as he was late in the fight, the outcome would have been a lot closer. His last minute desperation effort to keep his titles was too little, too late.
Now boxing has a new heavyweight champion in Fury who can talk a good game and back it up to some extent. “I told the world I would beat him,” Fury said. “And I did.” Fury, who was named after Iron Mike Tyson, according to ESPN, was not boasting this time.
By Bayo Akinnagbe