Wilder v Fury

The presence of Ricky Hatton in Tyson Fury's corner on Saturday night will serve as an indication of just how far the Gypsy King has travelled in his mission to reshape his mind, his body, his life and his career.

In poundage, Fury has shed the equivalent of a peak-condition, light-welterweight Hatton since returning to training a year ago. And like Hatton, Fury has had to deal with the torment which sometimes besets even those who appear to have it all.

When Fury departed the scene in October 2016 with his world title belts either removed or relinquished, and a statement saying he needed to focus on his medical treatment, he tweeted a link to a song performed by the American country artist T Graham Brown entitled "Wine Into Water", which includes the lines: "Tonight I'm as low as any man can go, I'm down and I can't fall much farther."

According to his father John, boxing has saved Fury's life and the showdown here in Los Angeles is reward for a remarkable transformation.

Now the best part of 10 stones lighter, Fury is favoured by many respected voices to create an upset on Saturday.
It is testament to his commitment (and pedigree) that there is even an argument about the outcome.

In August, when the possibility of a title shot against Deontay Wilder took root, an email I received from one of the UK's leading bookmakers showed Fury as the odds-on favourite. Last month, a similar missive placed Wilder as the market leader.

In a poll of pundits in the November issue of Boxing Monthly, Wilder came out on top but only by 18 votes to 12.
It is that kind of fight, one to send wise heads spinning.

The central theme of the debate is ring rust. How significant is a lengthy absence in an era when elite, pay-per-view fighters tend to box only a couple of times a year anyway?

Fury has fought twice - albeit in lesser company - since Wilder's last appearance, when the American beat Cuba's Luis Ortiz in March.

Wilder's boxing ability undervalued.

In the build-up to his win against Wladimir Klitschko three years ago this week, Fury had only three contests in two and a half years. The issue this time for Fury is more about what he did to his body while he was away and whether the opposition he has faced since can possibly have prepared him for Wilder.

The failed comebacks of Hatton and David Haye in recent years have provided us with evidence of the difference between general conditioning and boxing fitness. How much of the guile and the ability to read an opponent has Fury rediscovered?

Wilder's boxing ability is undervalued. To win a bronze medal at the Olympic Games after only three years in the sport is a feat, even if his performances in Beijing in 2008 were scrappy.

Wilder succumbed in the semi-finals to the Italian Clemente Russo, who had beaten Tony Bellew's recent conqueror Oleksandr Usyk to reach the last four.

The gold medal in China went to Russia's Rakhim Chakhkiev, who was outpointed by Wilder in a USA v Russia international earlier in 2008. Such form is more than a mere slugger could have compiled and ought to act as insurance against complacency and the prevailing notion that Wilder can punch but can't box.

Six of Wilder's eight world title fights have gone at least into the eighth round and the win against Ortiz, in the 10th, underlines how he carries his power through the fight.

Aside from Ortiz, Wilder's opposition might belong in the Hall of Tame but he has a knack of getting the job done and, unlike some heavy punchers, has shown strong survival instincts when hurt, as he was against Ortiz and Eric Molina.

Fury, also, has recovered from adversity, climbing off the canvas in 2011 to beat Neven Pajkic, a Bosnian based in Canada, and the American Steve Cunningham two years later.

On both occasions, Fury was felled by an overhand right - a shot Wilder throws particularly well. But when it came to Klitschko, Fury carried conviction and concentration into the ring and proved much more difficult to hit cleanly.

In an interview for BBC Radio 5 live a couple of months later, Fury told me how he could become "forever frozen in November 2015", that his emphatic success against the long-reigning Klitschko might never be bettered as an achievement.

Now there is desire and ambition anew, and a win over Wilder - so soon after the comeback - would rank as another of the finest by a British boxer.

The fight is important for boxing too, the most meaningful heavyweight title contest in the US since Lennox Lewis dredged up a victory over Vitali Klitschko in the same Staples Center ring in 2003.

Promotional trailers are playing out on huge screens outside the 21,000-capacity venue and staff at the box office report that tickets are selling well. In a busy week of basketball and ice hockey at the Center, they are also expecting a sizeable "walk-up" on Saturday.

And beyond here, we are likely to be talking about a rematch or Anthony Joshua - or both - in 2019.

Great eras in boxing are defined by rivalries and the action here in Los Angeles might be the start of something special.

information taken from the BBC site

Tony Bellew

Tony Bellew was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk at the Manchester Arena on 10 November in his final fight.

Former world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew has confirmed his retirement from boxing, 12 days after his defeat by Oleksandr Usyk.

In the aftermath of the eighth-round loss to the Ukrainian, the Briton said his career in the ring was "over".

Everton fan Bellew said his greatest achievement was beating Ilunga Makabu at his beloved Goodison Park in 2016 to win the WBC cruiserweight title.

"There will be no more fighting from me," said Bellew, who retires aged 35.

The Liverpudlian, who won 30 of his 34 professional fights, added: "The only thing you will see me doing from here on in is trying to act sensible and being myself. I have had a fantastic career and have realised my dreams."

After one defence of his cruiserweight title, Bellew stepped up to heavyweight and twice beat compatriot David Haye in two lucrative fights in 2017 and 2018, before returning to cruiserweight to face Usyk.

Bellew, who made his professional debut in 2007, also held the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles and European cruiserweight title in his career.

When asked what purse would tempt him out of retirement, Bellew added: "Eddie [Hearn] gets £100m together for me and offers me one more fight, what do I say? Wow, wow - that is probably what I would say. Wow, wow and then walk into the missus and say 'Eddie has come on board with £100m' and she would probably hand me divorce papers.

"Money is good but money comes and goes, that is the best way of saying it."

'I'm A Celebrity? I'd be the worst screamer you've seen'

Bellew enjoyed starring in 2015 film Creed, a sequel to the Rocky film series, and he says he would consider other opportunities of that nature.

At present, however, his enthusiasm does not extend to following football manager Harry Redknapp and former two-weight world champion Chris Eubank into the Australian jungle for ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

"I'd be the worst screamer you've ever seen," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"If someone put a huge spider on me I'd probably have a heart attack. They could have a death on camera if I went in there.

"I'm not scared of house spiders but ones the size of those [on the show] have got to be able to do some damage. I'd be screaming and kicking. It's truly frightening.

"Most of the other things wouldn't bother me - but one thing I am petrified of is heights.

"Please just let me live and disappear."

information taken from the BBC site

Tony Bellew

Tony Bellew was leading on the judges' scorecards when he was stopped by Oleksandr Usyk.

Tony Bellew will be "one of the few to leave boxing with his health, wealth and reputation intact", says BBC boxing commentator Mike Costello.

The Briton was stopped in the eighth round by Ukrainian undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday in Manchester.

After the fight, 35-year-old Bellew said his boxing career was "over", but insisted he had "won at life".

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live's boxing podcast, Costello added: "In many ways Bellew has had his reputation enhanced in defeat, much like Wladimir Klitschko against Anthony Joshua last year."

BBC analyst Steve Bunce added that Bellew will "never fight again" and is now "rich beyond his wildest dreams".

On the podcast, the pair discuss Bellew's legacy and Usyk's potential move to heavyweight.

'A very big risk-taker'

Bellew fulfilled his dream of becoming a world champion in 2016, beating Ilunga Makabu to win the WBC cruiserweight title at his beloved Goodison Park.

After one title defence he stepped up to heavyweight and twice beat compatriot David Haye in two lucrative fights, before returning to cruiserweight to face Usyk.

Bellew, competing in his 34th professional fight, impressed in the early rounds, but Usyk grew into the bout and floored his rival with a devastating knockout.

Costello: Bellew's made an awful lot of what he had, and you can describe natural talent in many different ways, but one of the most important elements in boxing is determination, desire and bottle - and he had those in abundance.

Bunce: He married those with a good boxing brain and a boxing brain that definitely improved. I would argue those first three rounds [against Usyk] were the finest three rounds of his entire career.

In the Usyk fight, the two Haye fights and Makabu fight, there were a lot of tactics involved and a lot of power, but what was also needed was an awful lot of heart and guts.

He suffered a broken hand against Haye, he was under steady pressure against Usyk and against Makabu he was on the floor and had his nose broken. He drew on a combination of grit and bravery and there also has to be a little bit of ridiculous fearlessness and heart.

The top ones push themselves to and through pain barriers. They get abused and get hurt and hit. They put themselves in danger's way. That is what Bellew has done repeatedly.

Sure, he annoys and infuriates people sometimes with his repeated soundbites. But, at the end of the day, he has never let us down when it comes to getting in there and risking it all. All boxers are risk takers and Bellew proved himself to be a very big risk-taker.

Three years ago if you'd have said to Tony, 'you'll have four more fights, win a world title and make £5m', he'd have sold his granny. The bottom line is it might be nearer £20m in two and half years.

He has catapulted himself by grabbing that microphone, taking control of his career, telling us what we wanted to see, delivering what we wanted to see and doing what he said. He stepped above those lines and started to make those vast sums.

Oleksandr Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk has won his 16 professional fights.

'He can compete as a heavyweight, no two ways about it'

In his past three outings, Usyk has now beaten Latvia's Mairis Bredis in Riga, Russia's Murat Gassiev in Moscow and Bellew in Manchester, earning and defending the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC titles in the process.

The 31-year-old - who has four wins in 14 months - said it was "too early" to threaten moving up a division for a shot at unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Usyk is 6ft 3in and weighed in for the Bellew fight at 14st 2lb. Joshua is 6ft 6in and weighed 17st 8lb for September's victory against Alexander Povetkin.

Costello: It does seem the momentum is beginning to quicken for a contest between Usyk and Joshua if they keep winning. Where he has to find the balance is between the weight and how many of those skills does he deplete by putting on extra poundage.

Bunce: There are plenty of heavyweights he can find that out against. He is not Anthony Joshua's next opponent, but every heavyweight will fancy it. They will consider him a fantastic scalp.

He can compete as a heavyweight, no two ways about it. Can he compete against the 6ft 6in plus of Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury? I don't know. But Usyk's frames allows him to carry more weight.

These three or four giants at the moment [Joshua, Wilder, Fury] are yet to be beaten by ordinary men, that's the slight problem. But if an Evander Holyfield or a Mike Tyson at his peak was around, you think they'd find a way to do it. So perhaps Oleksandr Usyk can find a way to do it.

Before the Bellew fight, we said he [Usyk] is the guy in late 2019 and 2020 who will be in the heavyweight mix.
All that the Bellew win showed was that is definitely the case.

information taken from the BBC site

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder feels those who underestimate him will appreciate his talent when he faces Tyson Fury.

WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has warned he will be Tyson Fury's "worst nightmare" and show he is a "gift from God" on 1 December.

The American, 33, says he is "over prepared" for the Los Angeles bout and feels Fury has shown nerves in adding trainer Freddie Roach to his team.

Roach has said he will be Fury's cut man and work under trainer Ben Davison.

"They can instruct him, motivate him but there's only one man in the ring," said Wilder. "It ain't no team thing."

"When you get multiples of trainers, for me that is nervous behaviour."

'Tyson will miss uncle Peter'

Fury

Fury has worked with trainer Ben Davison since returning to the sport

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton and coach Asgar Tair - who was part of Fury's team when he beat Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 - will also be in the Briton's corner at the Staples Center.

Fury has been sparring at Roach's Los Angeles gym, a sign Wilder feels shows his rival "couldn't take" the challenge presented by the altitude of his base earlier in camp in Big Bear, California.

Footage from inside Roach's Wild Card Boxing Gym has shown the Hall of Fame trainer conducting pad sessions with the 30-year-old challenger, though Davison has insisted he is "in charge".

In a wide-ranging conference call with global media, Wilder explained his belief Fury will be worse off for no longer working with his uncle, former trainer Peter Fury, who guided him to victory over Klitschko.

"It can work for him as four brains are better than one but it can also work against him - too many chiefs in the village," said Wilder. "All the trainers will have egos.

"Peter knows him in and out. When you don't have that trainer who knows you who was with you from day one, you see [look for other trainers] who will be the best but they don't know you.

"Your style is what it is, it was created by someone else. It doesn't matter who he brings in. Everything he has learned will go out of the window."

'You can't prepare for this nightmare'

Wilder - who has 40 wins from 40 bouts - told reporters that his fight against Fury will make clear who the world's best heavyweight is, despite Anthony Joshua holding three of the four major titles.

He stated it is his "strong opinion" that Britain's Joshua cannot beat him, Fury or Cuba's Luis Ortiz.

'The Bronze Bomber' instead said he was energised at the prospect of competing in "the biggest fight in the world" and claims he was ready for the bout "last week", resulting in his own training now being eased as he is "so ahead of schedule".

Wilder, who has based himself in his home city of Tuscaloosa, says his sparring partners have given him "great looks" on what to expect from Fury and that his rival cannot find partners of his own to "reflect" the style he will offer.

"They can have tall guys, guys who are strong, fast guys with a real jab but it will never be a full Deontay Wilder," he added. "You'll never find that. I have never been by the textbook. I love my style. No one can understand it or figure me out.

"Everyone will realise I am special. I am a gift from God. I'm going to be his worst nightmare.

"This is my coming out party, somewhere I should have been a long time ago. Difficulties in the sport and my life didn't allow me to have some things.

"In this fight I think a lot of people will wake up. You have denied me and hated on me for so long.

"No one is going to beat me on this special day. I do it for my children. I'm the realest fighter in the world and some people can't handle real."

information taken from the BBC site

Wilder v Fury

Deontay Wilder says he feels like 'a killer' before Tyson Fury fight.

Deontay Wilder

American Wilder has a 40-0 unbeaten record.

Deontay Wilder says he has "transformed into a killer" before his world title fight with Tyson Fury in Los Angeles.

Wilder and Fury meet on 1 December, in what will be just the third bout of Fury's comeback since the Briton vacated his WBO and WBA titles to focus on treatment for depression.

WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, who has a 40-0 unbeaten record, also said Anthony Joshua was "a coward".

"I'm feeling wonderful. My mindset and body have changed," the American said.

In June, a potential fight with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua was set back after the Briton was ordered to face Alexander Povetkin by the WBA.

After beating the Russian with a seventh-round stoppage in September, Joshua said Wilder would be his "number one choice" for his next fight, on 13 April 2019 at Wembley.

Speaking on Monday, Wilder said: "I don't want anyone to ask me about Anthony Joshua. He was a coward and that's that.

"I don't have a message to Anthony Joshua, it's all about Tyson Fury. I feel like a killer. I'm transformed into a killer."

information taken from the BBC site

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