Earlier today in Los Angeles, the WBC champion Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury met face-to-face for the first time since their first encounter that took place at the Staples Center in 2018 which ended in a draw. Their rematch will take place February 22nd in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The WBC, lineal, and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles will be at stake in one of the biggest fights in the division.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) will make his 11th defense of the WBC title against Fury (29-0-1) and is coming off two knockout victories over Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz after his first fight with Fury. He has one of the highest knockout percentages in the sport of boxing and that has made him be in any fight that he is involved in. Because of that, he feels that he can win any fight by knockout. At the press conference, he exuded that confidence that he has within him.
“When you’re facing power there’s no way around it,” Wilder said. “You can’t prepare for that. You just have to hope that when it lands, it doesn’t do that much damage.”
In the first fight, Wilder was able to score a knockdown in the 9th round and again in the 12th round with the latter being close to ending the fight. Knowing that he was able to get those knockdowns then has him believing that he will get the knockout on February 22nd.
“I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do. I’m going to knock him out. I’m the lion. I’m the king of the jungle. I’m going to rip his head off his body.”
Tyson Fury felt that he won the fight on December 1st, 2018. While he was knocked down twice, he controlled the majority of the fight with his pace, timely jab, and moving his head to force Wilder to miss many of his punches. After each knockdown Fury responded with combinations to stop the momentum that Wilder had. Once the decision came down that the fight was a draw, Fury was very disappointed.
“Deontay Wilder hasn’t been returning my calls or messages since I beat him last time,” Fury remarked. “He’s trying to keep his distance. He didn’t want to be around me so I can get in his head.”
In the rematch, Fury wants to prove that he is the better man and be the clear victor.
“What’s going to happen in this fight is that I’m going to get what I rightfully won last time. I’m going to get the green belt and keep my lineal title.”
Since the fight in 2018, a lot has happened with Fury as he signed with Top Rank Promotions, had two fights in Vegas against Tom Schwartz and Otto Wallin (with the latter having him deal with a serious cut), have a brief stint with the WWE, and break ties with trainer Ben Davison before this fight became official. With all of that activity that has gone on – especially with the news of Davison not being in his corner – some may think that Fury might not be fully prepared to go into this rematch. However, Fury says that he is ready to roll.
“I’m ready for a fight today. I’ve never been as sure of anything in my whole life. As sure as I was this morning putting this suit on. 100 percent he can’t win. I’m much sharper, more fit coming off twelve good rounds…been in training camp, haven’t had to lose weight. I’m fine.”
Both fighters believe that they are at their best this time around for this matchup. Both have predicted a knockout victory. Both know what’s at stake ahead of them. Now it is just a matter of getting in the ring and proving who the best man is.
Hopefully for boxing fans, that will result in having a fight just as compelling as the first one.
Cover photo by Mikey Williams of Top Rank