On 1 December, two undefeated fighters will step into the ring, but only one man can leave with his record intact. WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will be putting his title on the line against Tyson Fury. It’s a fight that has been several years in the making, but there were long periods when it looked like it might never happen, especially when a plethora of personal problems saw Fury spend an extended spell on the sidelines.
Fury was banned from fighting and looked like he might never box again. He gained an enormous amount of weight, eventually tipping the scales at 28 and a half stone (385 lbs). Meanwhile, his opponent racked up one title defense after another, culminating in a terrific ten-round TKO victory against Luis Ortiz in March. Wilder had never looked better, while Fury had never looked worse. The result of the fight seemed like a foregone conclusion before it was even officially announced.
Tyson Fury destroys pads in training camp.
Preparation is everything…
However, if there’s one golden rule of any major boxing bout, it’s that preparation is everything. With the right training regimen, athletes can undergo astonishing transformations. Though he remains a rank outsider in the current heavyweight boxing betting odds and that’s exactly what we’ve seen with Tyson Fury in 2018. Through a combination of careful dietary control and focused physical training, the ‘Gypsy King’ has since managed to lose over eight stone in weight.
To begin his extraordinary physical turnaround, Fury adopted a ketogenic diet to burn off as much fat as possible in the shortest amount of time. He also parted ways with Peter Fury, his uncle, and trainer, bringing in new personal coach Ben Davison to help him lose weight and get back into fighting form. As Fury’s physical state improved, his training and sparring sessions grew tougher and he finally started looking like his old self.
All of his hard work paid off as he made his triumphant return to the ring in July, beating Albanian Sefer Seferi and following that up with another victory over Italian Francesco Pianeta in August. Wilder will pose a much tougher test, but Fury is looking back to his best and has even chosen to abstain from sex in the build-up to 1 December, doing all he can to tip the odds in his favor and keeping every single bit of his focus on the fight.
March 2018: Wilder beats Ortiz.
…but no match for the real thing
For Wilder, meanwhile, preparation for the big fight has been ‘business as usual’. The undefeated champion hasn’t shied away from defending his title, having beaten seven challengers in the last four years. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ is well aware that Fury will pose a different kind of threat, with the Brit being larger and heavier than the American, but Wilder has seemed more confident than ever in interviews and has adjusted his sparring and training techniques accordingly.
Wilder, who has won 39 of his 40 professional fights by knockout, is known for his supreme punching power and is always just one blow away from victory, so Fury will need to be extremely careful every step of the way. The American is the rightful favorite for now, but Fury’s intense preparation and never-say-die mentality, coupled with his height advantage, should give the Brit a real chance. Ultimately, if there’s one thing the boxing world has learned, it’s that we can never count Fury out.
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