Trainer Stephen Edwards suspects that the decline that fans saw in Tyson Fury last Saturday night against Francis Ngannou might be a product of the punishment he absorbed in his three fights with Deontay Wilder.
The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) is considered by some to be the hardest puncher in boxing, and he dropped Fury like a bad habit four times in their three fights.
Fury was able to hide the damage that Wilder did to him by fighting two faded, older British fighters Dillian Whyte & Dereck Chisora. Those were not good enough heavyweights to reveal the damage that had been done to Fury by Wilder.
If Fury had fought quality heavyweights after his trilogy match with Deontay, like Zhilei Zhang, Arslanbek Makhmudov, Filip Hrgovic & Anthony Joshua, we’d have seen that he’s deteriorated and not the same fighter.
Deontay hit Fury with many hard shots he walked through, but it damaged him. While it’s admirable that Fury made it through those fights without being stopped, the reality is that he was hit by many concussive blows to the head, leaving him the vulnerable shell that we witnessed getting hurt twice by Ngannou, and looking like a cowering, cringing wreck of the guy he used to be.
“Fury’s punch resistance looks a little funny. Fighting Wilder three times, even though he won the fights, being in there with him like that, it can chip away at you,” said Stephen Edwards to Fighthype about Tyson Fury looking fragile and not the same guy he once was in his fight with Francis Ngannou.
It’s not just Fury’s punch resistance that was missing against Ngannou. He is also old, fat, slow & afraid, which has nothing to do with his punch resistance. Fury has aged terribly since his last fight with Wilder, and that’s more of a natural genetic thing, assuming he’s not been hitting the bottle hard in the last two years.
“I thought, ‘Damn, those were some tough fights with Wilder.’ He was knocked down in two of the three fights, and just getting hit by a guy that punches like that, he [Fury] could have left a piece of himself in that trilogy,” said Edwards.
Fury was knocked unconscious by Wilder in the 12th round of their first fight, and that couldn’t have been good for his health. You don’t suffer a knockout like that, and it not have a long-term effect.
In the second fight with Wilder, Fury hit him in the back of the head with an illegal rabbit punch in the third round that took his legs and power away for the remainder of the fight.
In the third fight, Wilder paid Fury back with a rabbit shot in the fourth round that had the Gyspy King down for a long count that rivaled the September 1927 Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney ‘long count’ fight. Who knows what the punch did to Fury’s brain? It couldn’t have helped matters.
“Yep, I could see that,” said Edwards about the monstrous shots that Fury was taking from Wilder that he was walking through, but nonetheless, they likely caused remnants, leaving Tyson not the same fighter he was before the fights.
“Even though Fury got the better of it, they were beating each other up, especially in the first and third fights. They were beating each other up. It wasn’t one-way action. We’ve never seen anyone take Wilder’s punches like. It’s a possibility. I wouldn’t be surprised.
“I don’t know. I’m not going to jump the gun and say that Fury all of a sudden isn’t going to be able to fight because this is something that fighters don’t admit. They get up for certain guys,” said Edwards when asked if Fury can beat Oleksandr Usyk.
“He may have trained, but he didn’t train thinking that the guy [Ngannou] would have the skills to be as competitive. It’s two different things. You got to believe that Fury, after that embarrassing performance, is going to train his a** off. Usyk has a different style [than Ngannou].
“So, Usyk is not going to get the Fury that Ngannou fight. If anybody believes that, they’re mistaken. I’m not saying that Usyk is guaranteed to win. I’m a big Usyk fan, and pound-for-pound, I think he’s a better fighter. He still has to overcome all that size and ability.
“He’s [Fury] 35, and he’s had some out-of-the-ring issues that have been well-documented. We may be looking at a fighter who is on the other side of his prime. When that happens, those up & down performances start seeping in.
“What’s happening is the decline is usually kind of slow where you can’t fight no more where guys are giving you a little more trouble than they normally do. So instead of you looking excellent every fight,” said Edwards.