Tyson Fury shocked the world with a stunning points win over the long-reigning unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitshcko over on the continent last night. In arguably one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time, certainly one of the biggest boxing shocks in decades, Fury dethroned the Ukrainian with ease over the distance and in the process captured the IBF, WBA, WBO and Ring magazine titles. The unbeaten Englishman also joins a long and illustrious list of lineal heavyweight champion’s which includes greats in Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and fellow Brit Lennox Lewis. In some dramatic scenes over at the ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany, Fury stormed to the centre of the ring from the off and at times battered the bemused and clearly shocked Klitschko who never really got going in a cagey, but fascinating fight. Some rounds were, admittedly, close to score, but it was clear that Fury was the busier fighter and deserved the decision. British fight fans waited anxiously for the scorecards, conscious of how many debatable decisions had not gone their way of late. There were wild scenes as Fury was awarded the points decision with scores of 115-112 (twice) and 116-111.
To put the win into perspective, Klitschko had been the recognised heavyweight king and had not been beaten in well over a decade and there is a strong case to be made that, over the past five years, he had not a lost a round in one of the most dominant reigns ever seen in world boxing. Recent, one-sided wins over top draw opposition in David Haye, Alexander Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev only serve to exemplify the aforementioned point. This was Klitschko’s 19th consecutive world heavyweight title fight which means he has edged Joe Louis’ long-standing record, however, the feat is irrelevant as Fury ushers in a new era in boxing’s marquee division with possible mega fights against the likes of countryman and Haye and WBC ruler Deontay Wilder on the horizon. Fury landed 86 of 371 total punches, compared to Klitschko’s poor 52 of 231 shots. That equates to a 23% conversion rate for both men, however, it was Fury who landed the better and more frequent power punches which clearly troubled the Ukrainian, particularly in the latter rounds where it seemed a knockout was on the cards.
Fury landed 48 of 202 power punches – Klitschko countered with 18 of 69, a record low for the German based star. Confidence oozed from Fury at every stage of the fight and he was show-boating in almost every round. The visitor even brazenly opened dialogue with SKY Sports team, who were sat ringside, on numerous occasions as he checked to see how their pundits were scoring the pay-per-view clash. Fury would switch from his orthodox stance to southpaw at ease and at times circled the dreadful Klitschko with his hands behind his back – à la Roy Jones Jr. There is a good case for Fury easily scalping the opening four or five rounds, although Klitschko did attempt to get back into the fight during the middle rounds. There were times when the largely partisan crowd at the ESPRIT Arena would urge the champion to let off his trademark, lethal right, but he simply refused in what was a terrible offensive performance. The champion was cut in the fifth from an accidental headbutt, but it was another clear psychological advantage for the visitor who, mentally, had the edge going into last night’s fight after a series of last minute incidents. Klitschko’s team had done their best to unsettle Fury after appearing to lay an extra three layers of foam under the ring canvas. The champion was also caught wrapping his own hands without his British counterparts witnessing the act – which is the norm in any major boxing fight. On both occasions, Fury and his trainer/uncle Peter stood firm and the canvas was subsequently relaid after they threatened to cancel the fight. The champion was also made to re-wrap his hands, hence the delayed start of the lineal heavyweight ruck last night.
There was an air of destiny in Germany last night as Fury racked up the points going into the final third of the fight. Klitschko had a decent 9th with a couple of solid rights, but Fury was not really bothered by the Ukrainian’s power at any point. The champion was quite frankly awful in the 10th, with trainer Johnathan Banks reiterating this fact between rounds as he told his charge he now had to go for a knockout to secure victory. It was utterly compelling stuff as the realisation dawned among British fans – a large portion of which made up the 50, 000 capacity crowd last night – that their man was on course to become the first British heavyweight champion since David Haye’s reign which ironically ended at the hands of Klitschko back in 2011. Fury was clearly exhausted in the championship rounds and wisely opted to clinch at every opportunity. He was docked a point by fight referee Tony Weeks for the offence in the 11th stanza, but was still two to three rounds up on many media outlet’s scorecards. The 12th was a tense free-for-all as a desperate and bloodied Klitschko tried to knock out the weary Fury. There would be no such romantic comeback as the bell rang to end a dramatic fight. Klitschko’s body language confirmed what most watching people thought was a clear win for the Englishman. The ring was filled with wild celebrations as Fury’s victory was confirmed via an unexpected unanimous points decision in favour of the Brit whose pre-fight prediction was confirmed: “Old guy, young guy, old champion, new champion. ‘Nuff said.”
An ecstatic Fury was joined by an outpouring of emotion across the world, with the victory still trending on Facebook and Twitter as of Sunday morning. Fury was a 4-1 underdog going into the fight, with even wider odds quoted overseas. “This is a dream come true,” Fury stated. “We worked so hard for this. I’ve done it. It’s hard to come to foreign countries and get decisions. It just means so much to me to come here and get the decision. I’d like to say to Wladimir, you’re a great champion. And thanks very much for having me. It was all fun and games during the buildup,” Fury (25(18)-0) added. Klitschko (64(53)-4) was visibly downbeat at the post-fight press conference, but he did confirm that he will exercise the rematch clause which was written into their contracts. Fury will likely head back to Germany early next year, although it is unclear if Klitschko could prevail in a sequel, considering how convincingly he was beaten last night. “Tyson was the faster and better man tonight,” Klitschko stated. “I felt quite comfortable in the first six rounds, but I was astonished that Tyson was so fast in the second half as well. I couldn’t throw my right hand because the advantage was the longer distance he had. We’ll soon work out when and where the rematch will take place and let you know,” he added.
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