BOXING

Is Tyson Fury Heading Back to the Top of Boxing?

Tyson Fury was once the top boxer in the world and holder of every major title in the sport: the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, and IBO belts, along with the The Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles. Unfortunately a confluence of factors conspired to knock Fury from his position. The ex-champ stepped away from the sport, and laid low for three full years. But Fury is now making a comeback, and might be better than ever. So, it begs the question: Is Fury heading back to the top of boxing?

The answer is yes. Last year the ex-champ got his act together, and returned to boxing after a three-year sabbatical. In his comeback fight in June of last year, Fury forced Sefer Seferi to retire after four rounds. Then he outpointed former two-time world title challenger Francesco Pianeta in August. In both fights Fury looked solid, but far from the Fury of old.

But Fury ended 2018 on a high note against WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder. The Manchester, England native nearly pulled off the upset, as he flummoxed the champ with his movement and precision punching. In the end, Wilder regained his belt in a highly disputed draw. Many felt Fury had done enough, but not Mexican judge Alejandro Rochin, who scored the fight 115–111 for Wilder, and British judge Phil Edwards, who scored it 113–113. Despite the draw, the Wilder fight won Fury the WBC’s Comeback of the Year award.

Fury’s back-and-forth with Wilder was also named Fight of the Year by the WBC. Naturally fans and pundits are clamoring for a rematch. That clamor has heightened as both men secured victories in their next fights — a KO win by Wilder over Dominic Breazeale, and a TKO victory by Fury over Tom Schwarz. The Gypsy King was particularly impressive in his fight, as he toyed with Schwarz for two rounds. Fury’s win seemed to seal his rematch with Wilder, though it now appears to have hit a snag. In a CBS Sports article about Wilder-Fury II, respected boxing writer Brian Campbell notes that the American had asked Fury to “step aside” from their contracted 2020 rematch. The Bronze Bomber even hinted that the Englishman does not want a second fight, and that he would prefer to fight the winner of Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua II. Fury has refuted these insinuations vehemently.

In the interim Fury took care of business by beating the unbeaten but unheralded Otto Wallin. bwin Boxing reports that Fury is still looking to stay on course for a Wilder rematch, and will be boosted by his performance at the T-Mobile Arena. With Wallin out of the way, Wilder looks to be Fury’s next fight. Wilder on the other hand still has to get into the ring against Luis Ortiz. Yet, like the Fury-Wallin fight that will also be seen as a warm up to the main event. The hard-hitting American is the only fighter keeping Fury away from the very top of boxing. The fight is supposed to take place next year, so don’t be surprised if Fury makes it back to the top in 2020.

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