Anthony Joshua is the reigning unified IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight world champion. A match between Fury and Joshua would theoretically produce the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the great Lennox Lewis earned that distinction more than 20 years ago.
It makes perfect sense for an undisputed showdown between Fury and AJ to happen next. But unfortunately in professional boxing, all too often the best fights that make the most sense don’t always happen when they matter most.
So a wouldbe showdown for undisputed heavyweight supremacy isn’t happening. Wilder won his arbitration case, and now Fury vs Wilder 3 is set to happen on July 24th. Naturally a lot of boxing fans are rather disappointed by this recent turn of events.
But the silver lining here, at least in my humble opinion, is that a third fight between Fury and Wilder still involves 2 of the top 3 heavyweights currently competing. Beyond that, their first two bouts were both dramatic and entertaining.
Even still, fans don’t seem especially excited about the 3rd fight between Fury and Wilder, in large part because Fury won so decisively in their rematch. But I suspect this one will generate more fan interest as fight night approaches.
So how did we get here? The tale begins more than 6 years ago during the the Klitschko era. Vitali had since retired, and Wladimir was still the unified IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight world champion. In January 2015 Wilder won the WBC heavyweight title when he beat Bermane Stiverne by 12 round unanimous decision.
Later that year in November, Tyson Fury shocked the boxing world when he was awarded a decisive12 round unanimous decision against long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko. The Klitschko era was officially over.
Tyson Fury was the new unified IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight world champion. But not for long. The IBF stripped Fury less than 2 weeks after he defeated Wladimir. So at the conclusion of 2015, these were the top rated heavyweights according to Ring Magazine.
Fury was the unified WBO/WBA champion, Wilder was the WBC champion, and the IBF title remained vacant. In January 2016, Wilder made his 3rd successful title defense when he scored a 9th round knockout against Arthur Szpilka.
During the post fight interview, Fury stormed the ring and the two exchanged words, which seemingly suggested foreshadowing for a future unification fight between Fury and Wilder. But at that time, Fury was scheduled to have a rematch with Wladimir, and Wilder was slated to make his mandatory defense against Alexander Povetkin.
But neither of those fights actually ever came to fruition, and Fury vacated his remaining titles in October 2016. So Fury did not have any fights in 2016 or 2017, and during that time Wilder continued defending his WBC title, and Anthony Joshua had become a heavyweight force in his own right.
AJ and Wilder had become the two top heavyweights during Fury’s absence, but for whatever reason, Joshua and Wilder never reached an agreement to face each other. At the conclusion of 2017, these were the top rated heavyweights according to Ring Magazine.
Anthony Joshua was the unified IBF/WBA heavyweight champion. Deontay Wilder was the WBC champion, and Joseph Parker was the WBO champion. Tyson Fury still had a rightful claim to the heavyweight lineage, and he was still recognized as the heavyweight champion according to Ring.
In March 2018, Wilder made his 7th consecutive title defense when he scored a dramatic 10th round stoppage victory against the undefeated highly regarded contender Luis Ortiz. That same month AJ defeated Parker to add the WBO belt to his existing collection.
And a few months later, Fury made his long awaited return to the squared circle, and he had a couple of tune-up fights before his first big encounter against The Bronze Bomber. The date was December 1, 2018.
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury – a battle between two undefeated heavyweights who each had a valid claim to call himself heavyweight champion. The fight produced an intriguing and exciting clash of styles.
Fury was largely able to dictate the rhythm and control the pace. Fury utilized a herky-jerky style where he used a lot of feinting to great effect. Fury’s command of the fighting range served him well, where he was defensively responsible and he was able to outbox and outmaneuver Wilder from long range.
Wilder was far too reliant on landing one big shot, and because of this he had more than his fair share of struggles against the technically superior Fury. Wilder looked very frustrated at times, but he remained determined and his determination paid off in round 9 when he dropped Fury with a short right hand.
Fury beat the count and continued boxing effectively. In the 12th and final round, Wilder landed his trademark nuclear right immediately followed by a left and Fury was down again – and this time he appeared badly hurt.
But Fury managed to beat the count, and he actually finished the round strong. When the official cards were announced, the fight was ruled a draw. This was a somewhat controversial draw, where despite suffering two knockdowns, many observers believed Fury deserved the victory.
An immediate rematch seemed to be in order, but that didn’t happen. Instead, 2019 saw Wilder and Fury go in different directions. In May Wilder scored a sensational 1st round knockout victory against Dominic Breazeale.
Then in June, Fury scored an impressive 2nd round stoppage against Tom Schwarz. In September Fury was awarded a unanimous decision victory in a challenging fight against Otto Wallin. And then finally in November, Wilder scored a dramatic 7th round knockout in his rematch against Ortiz.
This paved the way for the long-awaited rematch, where Fury and Wilder were both coming off of wins where they needed to grind it out and overcome adversity in order to emerge victorious. The rematch happened on February 22 of last year, and this time Fury made some significant changes to his approach, and Wilder was unable to cope with Fury’s tremendous execution of his outstanding gameplan.
The big difference this time was that Fury was making Wilder fight going backwards. Fury remained committed to this general approach throughout the match, and this was in stark contrast to how he approached their first bout, when Fury was usually looking to use movement and stay outside.
The basic strategy of making Wilder fight going backwards was the heart of Fury’s approach, but with that came the incredible boxing IQ and all the subtle nuance that makes Fury such a terrific boxer.
Fury was still utilizing his trademark feints to great effect, and he still had that herky-jerky itchy-twitchy elusive rhythm. Fury dropped Wilder late in round 3, and the momentum was all Fury after that.
Wilder battled bravely, but he simply had no answers to Fury’s tactics. Fury dropped Wilder again in round 5 when he landed a crippling left to the body. Wilder’s legs were gone, but still he battled.
Fury never overextended, he never got reckless, and he continued taking care of business. Wilder was beginning to absorb a lot of punishment as he was being broken down physically and mentally. Things finally came to an end in round 7 when Wilder’s corner stopped the fight.
Shortly after the fight, COVID-19 arrived and changed the entire boxing landscape, and the contractually obligated 3rd fight between the two never came together. Recently it looked as if we would instead get a heavyweight unification showdown between Fury and AJ, but Wilder ultimately won his arbitration case.
So here we are, and the 3rd fight between Fury and Wilder is scheduled to take place on July 24, less than two months away. Who will win the 3rd fight between these two outstanding heavyweight talents? Before I share my opinion, full disclosure.
I picked Fury to win by unanimous decision in their first fight, and that one was officially ruled a draw. For the rematch, I picked Wilder to win by 11th round knockout, but Fury won the rematch by 7th round stoppage.
So both of my previous predictions involving these two were wrong, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on my horrific record with regards to predicting the correct outcome in high profile fights.
All of that being said, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Wilder wins the 3rd fight. In the 18 and a half rounds these two had against each other, you could make a strong case that Wilder only won 2 out of those 18 and a half rounds.
You could make a case that Wilder won a few more than that, but you can reasonably make a solid case that Wilder won just 2 rounds – and those were the 9th and 12th rounds of their first fight when Fury was dropped by Wilder.
This strongly suggests that Wilder either needs a knockout to win, or he needs to hurt Fury early and often and drop him a few times along the way. But even though Wilder’s path to victory is reliant on his ability to either knock Fury out or hurt him repeatedly, it’s not an inconceivable proposition.
For WIlder, it’s always been more about setting up the big knockout than about winning rounds. But his efforts in the Fury rematch never afforded him the chance to land the big right. For Wilder to win I think he needs to try and throw Fury off, and in order to do that I think the key is using his jab.
He doesn’t need to consistently land a scoring jab, he just needs to try and use it more often to keep Fury guessing. Fury has tremendous elusive head and upper body movement, but his gigantic torso always provides a more stationary target, and I think Wilder should focus more attention in that region.
It might also serve Wilder well to use more feints himself, where he likewise isn’t always throwing every punch with mean intent. If he can take a little off his punches and score a little more, it might help to create openings that may not otherwise exist.
Last time Fury dominated Wilder by making him fight off the backfoot. So it may also serve Wilder well to try and find ways to deter Fury from applying pressure. But there are two big problems here for Wilder.
#1 Wilder is 35 years old, and despite his incredible knockout power, he has never been an elite level tactician. Wilder has a lot of bad habits, many of which Fury exploited in various ways during both of their bouts.
It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and as a 35 year old heavyweight, it’s difficult to imagine Wilder making many adjustments to the style that has brought him success previously. #2 No matter what distance and fighting range these two have battled at, Fury has almost always had the advantage – whether it’s outside, inside, mid range, or transitioning forward and back.
Fury also has better lateral movement, and in general, not only does Fury have a much better fundamental understanding of maintaining the proper range for a particular situation, but his execution has also proven far superior during their 18 and a half rounds together inside the squared circle.
For Fury, I think the key is being defensively responsible and maintaining focus. If Fury can do that, then I think he otherwise just needs to do all of the little things that have worked for him in his first two fights against Wilder.
Fury has an ample bag of tricks, and he has a high ring IQ so he usually knows what he has to do when he needs to do it. If Fury is defensively responsible and does not grow complacent, it becomes even more difficult to imagine a situation where Wilder finds a way to land that big nuclear right.
For my official prediction, I’m picking Tyson Fury by 9th round stoppage. I actually do think Wilder will do a little better this time, and I believe he may even cause Fury some early difficulty, but ultimately, I believe Fury has the clear edge here in skills, craft, ring smarts, and execution.
I believe Fury will be the one who once again largely dictates and controls the range of the action, and I like Tyson Fury in round 9. But whatever happens, I am actually very much looking forward to this fight, and may the best man win on that night.
So who do you think will win the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for watching everyone, I hope you enjoyed, and have a wonderful night.