American champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and British challenger Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight championship. The fight could set up a match for the undisputed heavyweight title with Anthony Joshua, considered by many to be the best heavyweight of the moment.
Deontay Wilder is a -170 favorite at most sportsbooks. Bettors would have to wager $170 to win $100.
Tyson Fury’s odds are +140, meaning you would need to bet $100 to win $140. Anthony Joshua, for his part, picked Wilder to win the fight for the same reason bookmakers picked Wilder — Tyson Fury’s long layoff.
The Wilder-Fury fight is a battle of unbeaten fighters and a battle of champions, though Fury vacated the WBA, WBO, IBO, and lineal titles were stripped from him following concerns about PED use, personal issues, and the cancellation of two title rematches with Klitschko. To win the titles he vacated, Tyson Fury defeated longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko (“Dr. Steelhammer”).
Deontay Wilder v. Tyson Fury
The odds at most sportsbooks began at -110 or -120 for Tyson Fury, but his odds have risen steadily as bettors backed the American. Deontay Wilder is 33 year old, 6’7″ in stature, and in the 225-lb to 230-lb range. Wilder is known for his speed and power, though a certain lack of form due to a late start in the boxing game.
Tyson Fury is 30 years old, 6’9″ in height, and in the 255-lb to 260-lb range. He is more plodding fighter, but able to absorb blows and dominate smaller fighters. Fury’s defeat of Wladimir Klitschko was convincing, ending a 22-fight and 11-year win streak by the champion.
Tyson Fury v. Wladimir Klitschko
If a fight ending the longtime reign of a Hall of Fame heavyweight champion can be said to be unimpressive, it was, as both fighters jabbed and held through most of the fight. Fury did enough to win the decision, while Klitschko seemed to lack energy in the fight.
Tyson Fury is known for his colorful personality and outrageous pre-fight barbs. He adopted the self-styled nickname “Gypsy King”, after the legendary bareknuckle brawler Bartley Gorman (“King of the Gypsies”), whom Tyson Fury is distantly related to.
Fury’s father, who is of Irish Traveler origin, fought under the name Gypsy John Fury in the 1980s. John Fury named his son after Mike Tyson. Given his defeat of Klitschko, Tyson Fury is seen as one of the stiffest tests for Deontay Wilder yet.
The question entering the Wilder fight is whether Tyson Fury agreed to the fight too soon after his comeback. It is only his third fight since taking off a year and he is fighting the biggest puncher in the division. Of course, Fury’s lateral movement and strong jab kept Klitschko off-balance, so his chin is proven.
Deontay Wilder Boxing Profile
Deontay Wilder, though he has fought 13 more fights than his British adversary, is considered to have had a less impressive list of opponents. Wilder started boxing at age 20, which is considered a late start in a sport where most skilled boxers log long amateur careers in their teens.
Three years after his first fight, Deontay Wilder competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he won a bronze medal. Wilder made his pro debut later that year. The native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama fought most of his early matches in southern arenas to smaller crowds — often defeating lesser known and less-respected opponents.
Despite a raw quality to his boxing style, Wilder brought a combination of punching power and hand speed which made him a contender almost immediately. When he defeated Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2015, Deontay Wilder became the first American heavyweight champion in 9 years.
Deontay Wilder: WBO Champion
In his title defenses, Deontay Wilder has defeated Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Chris Arreola, Gerald Washington, Bermane Stiverne (rematch), and Luis Ortiz. Though several of those boxers were undefeated at the time of their match versus Wilder, most were lightly regarded.
The fight with Luis Ortiz, a former Cuban amateur fighter and undefeated knockout artist in the pros, gave Deontay Wilder some of the credibility he craved. The two unbeaten fighters boxed hard for 10 rounds, but Wilder took control in round 5 with a knockdown. He knocked Ortiz out in round 10, though all three judges had the fight 85-84 in favor of Wilder at that point.
Since then, the buzz has been for Deontay Wilder to fight Anthony Joshua in a unification bout. Talks between the two fighters have commenced and broken down on a couple of occasions. Instead, Anthony Joshua knocked out Wladimir Klitschko, while Wilder signed to fight the only other undefeated fighter of stature, Tyson Fury.
To defeat Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder needs a better start than he had against Gerald Washington and Luis Ortiz. In the Washington fight, Wilder started slowly and lost the first four rounds. He started slow in the Ortiz fight, though he took control in the second half of the match. If he gets behind Tyson Fury early, it could give confidence to the former champion, who sometimes likes to taunt his opponents.
At any point, Deontay Wilder can knock out an opponent, so it should be an intriguing battle of undefeated champions at the MGM Grand on Saturday night.
Update: Wilder-Fury I Results in a Draw
It was a satisfying match which ended in a draw. Each judge came to a different conclusion, while two had wildly different evaluations of the fight. Alejandro Rochin had the match 115-111 for Wilder. Robert Tapper had it 114-110 for Fury. Phil Edwards scored the bout a 113-113 tie, so the fight ended in a split draw.
Unlike the GGG-Canelo fights, few analysts seemed to have problems with the way the judges scored the fight. It was a contrast of styles with close rounds that could have been interpreted different ways. Many thought Wilder needed a knockout entering the 12th round. Few will disagree with a judge who gives the nod to the fighter who scored two knockdowns, though. As for bettors, the Las Vegas bets end in a push, so gamblers who made money-line bets get their stakes back.
Both fighters seemed pleased with the results, as each built their standing in the sport and both felt they won. Tyson Fury outboxed Deontay Wilder through large stretches of the fight and left a mouse under Wilder’s left eye, but Wilder knocked down Fury in the 9th and 12th rounds.
Wilder almost knocked out Fury with the 12th round knockdown, as Fury got to his feet at the count of 9. Fury did more than survive the 12th round knockdown, as he rose to his feet and gave Wilder spirited action. Boxing analysts already are calling the 12th round a round-of-the-year candidate.
With a nice contrast of styles and both fighters having legitimate arguments for having won the fight, a rematch is in order. CompuBox punch statistics had Deontay Wilder landing 71 of 430 shots (17%) and Tyson Fury landing 84 of 327 (26%). Fury landed more punches and a better percentage, but Wilder had the bigger punches and the two knockdowns.
Wilder-Fury II Rematch
Despite some chatter in the days leading up to the fight, both boxers admitted they liked and admired each other before the fight. After the bout, the two hugged in the center of the ring and spoke glowingly of each other.
Deontay Wilder said of their post-fight discussion: “When you’re at each other and you have a great fight, we give each other all we’ve got. At the end of the fight, that’s what it’s all about. He was just telling me great fight, he loves me, and thank you for the opportunity. We’re the best in the world. The respect was mutual.”
Despite the respect given, Wilder said he would knock out Fury in the rematch. The reigning WBC champion said, “The rematch, I guarantee I’m going to get him. I would love for [the rematch] to be my next fight. Why not? Let’s give the fans what they want to see. It was a great fight, and let’s do it again. It doesn’t matter to me where we do it.”
“We’re the two best in the world, and we proved it tonight. When you get two warriors, you get a great fight. That’s what we proved tonight, and I’m ready to do it again.”
Tyson Fury Thanked Deontay Wilder
With a rematch clause in the original contract, the two fighters in this fight-of-the-year candidate appear headed for a rematch. Tyson Fury also spoke of a Wilder-Fury II, saying, “One hundred percent we’ll do the rematch. We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet.”
Deontay Wilder collected a $4 million purse for Wilder-Fury I, while Tyson Fury was paid $3 million up front. Both will collect more from their percentage of the pay-per-view receipts.