It was a year ago today, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, when rival heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury first met. The two are now less than three months away from a rematch, a fight dubbed “Unfinished Business.” And these two certainly do have unfinished business.
The December 2018 fight, a 12 round draw, saw some excellent boxing from Fury, some brutal punching from Wilder and, in the 12th and final round, a moment to be marveled at, to be treasured. Fans are still asking themselves how on earth Fury, hit by not one, but TWO flush punches from Wilder – a lethal hitter who has shown time and again (the most recent time just over a week ago, in his return with Luis Ortiz) that he only needs to land one bomb and it’s lights out regardless of who the other fighter it is in the ring with him – was not knocked out
Yet Fury was not KO’d. Astonishingly, awe-inspiringly, Fury, flat on his back after tasting those two shots from the WBC champion, his eyes closed, woke up, got up and then fought with Wilder to the final bell. It was, for some (this writer included) the greatest boxing moment from all of last year. No wonder there is a ton of interest in the rematch.
A lot has happened in the lives of both unbeaten giants since their thrilling battle. Wilder has shown his handiwork on two occasions here in 2019; taking out Dominic Breazeale in a round and then making a mockery of that points lead Ortiz had built up over six rounds by wiping him out with one sickening right to the head in round seven.
Fury has been less impressive in his two fights post-December 1; taking out an over-matched Tom Schwarz with ease but then having to overcome a quite horrific cut eye to win a decision over Otto Wallin. Fury has also boosted his profile in a number of ways: his WWE adventure, his autobiography being released and becoming a best seller, and a pop single due out over the Christmas period.
Wilder is now 42-0-1(41) and his toughest time spent in the ring came against Fury. Fury is now 29-0-1(20) and his toughest time spent in the ring came against Wilder. The rematch promises to be massive. But who wins?
Wilder is 34 years of age but possibly at his absolute peak. Fury is 31 years of age and he will enter the return with Wilder in better physical condition, weighing less and likely being sharper. In terms of desire and will to win, these two are arguably even. It’s a classic case of Boxer Vs. Puncher (you know which man is which of course) just as it was in the first fight.
Who knows what astonishing sights we will see in the sequel. Who knows if the boxer will prevail or if the puncher will prevail, or if we see yet another close and controversial fight; maybe even another draw. In short, anything could happen on February 22nd.
We have a massive heavyweight rematch to look forward to this Saturday in Saudi Arabia, between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua. And while this one is also fascinating, tough to pick and promises to be a tense affair, for many fans it is the Fury-Wilder return that most gets the heart racing – and the imagination flowing. Again, anything could happen in this fight.