FROM the extraordinary ring walk to the explosive stoppage, it was a bravura performance.
Tyson Fury was carried into the ring, shoulder high on a throne, in a crown and regal robes, singing along to Patsy Cline’s Crazy.
He had told us all week that he would overpower the heavyweight division’s greatest knock-out artist, Deontay Wilder, but few believed he was capable of winning in the manner he did.
Roared on by thousands of British and Irish fight fans, Fury performed a demolition job Fury so comprehensive that there was little appetite for the trilogy fight in Las Vegas in the early hours of tomorrow.
That re-match – after a thrilling draw in Los Angeles in December 2018 – was almost 20 months ago now, shortly before the global sporting lockdown.
And it often seems to have been forgotten quite how spectacular Fury was on that remarkable night in Sin City.
During the height of the pandemic, British fans dreamt of an all-British fight between Fury and Anthony Joshua for the undisputed crown.
It was widely assumed that, should such a contest take place, Joshua would be the people’s champion, with overwhelming support.
Yet Fury, who’d been to oblivion and back before his first flight with Wilder, is now, without doubt, the greatest heavyweight on Earth.
And should he reproduce anything like that display against Wilder – inside and outside of the ring – he might just become the world’s most popular heavyweight too.
While Joshua has always been slick, photogenic and blue-chip, Fury was the rough-edged traveller with the scattergun mouth, the pantomime villain.
In recent years, Fury has cut out the worst of his tirades – the fire-and-brimstone homophobic rants.
This is a deeply complex character, who suffered from serious mental health issues after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful display of ring-craft back in 2015.
But while always unpredictable, Fury can be compelling, amusing, lyrical and is a natural showman.
In contrast, Joshua can seem over-produced and stilted.
The schooling he received in his defeat by Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a fortnight ago, suggested that Joshua overestimated his own boxing abilities and was gun-shy when he ought to have been targeting a stoppage.
We always knew Fury was capable of out-boxing and out-pointing any other modern-day heavyweight.
He has probably won 16 of the 19 rounds he has fought against Wilder, yet was robbed of victory in the original fight, having ducked, weaved and showboated his way to superiority until his brutal final-round knockdown and Lazarus-style rise from the canvas.
Before that first bout, we had assumed Fury was far too early in his comeback to take on an unbeaten Wilder for the WBC crown. We were wrong.
Before the second bout, we knew he was a far superior boxer but we did not see him piling into the American from the first bell to the surrender of the towel from trainer Mark Breland in the seventh. Wrong again.
Fury and Wilder are only getting it on again because a US judge compelled it – just when it had looked as though Joshua-Fury would finally happen this summer.
That Usyk defeat means we are less likely than ever to witness that ultimate battle of Britain – it is a potential fight which has lost much of its prestige and intrigue.
Nobody outside Joshua’s inner circle can now believe the Watford man has a cat in hell’s chance of defeating Fury.
As for Wilder, well he always has a puncher’s chance. Even though he tested Fury’s jaw, and his stomach for the fight, when they first met in LA.
Surely, though, Britain cannot lose two world heavyweight champions in as many weeks?
Re-watch that second Fury-Wilder fight and it is impossible to imagine the complete reversal of fortunes required for an upset this time around.
From the left-right combination that floored Wilder in the third, to the body-shot which sent him sprawling in the fifth, to the mighty straight right, which ended the fight with the man Alabama pinned in the corner, Fury’s dominance was complete.
If we want to speculate, we’d be better off wondering what sort of ring walk Fury has planned this time and what sort of karaoke tune he might croon in the ring afterwards.
What happens in between feels as close to inevitable as heavyweight boxing can ever get.
BETTING SPECIAL: GET 30/1 ON FURY OR 50/1 ON WILDER FOR HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING CLASH
When is Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3?
- Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 was originally slated to take place on July 24, but will now take place THIS Saturday – October 9.
- Expect the main event of Fury vs Wilder 3 at around 4am BST.
- The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas plays host and Nevada is eight hours behind the UK, so the fight will begin about 8pm local time.
What TV channel and live stream is Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 on?
- Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 is being broadcast live on BT Sport Box Office in the UK.
- The fight will cost £24.95 on BT.
- In the US the event will be live on ESPN+ and Fox PPV.
- talkSPORT will bring you live and exclusive radio commentary of Tyson Fury’s heavyweight trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder this Saturday night. Download the talkSPORT app to listen.
What are the odds?
Unbeaten Fury goes into the fight as the favourite with odds of 2/7.
You can get 5/2 on dangerous Wilder to avenge his only loss.
And a draw – which was the result of their first fight remember – is currently set at 25/1.
(Odds via Betfair at the time of publication)
How the fighters compare
It’s pretty fair to say that Fury and Wilder are two completely different fighters.
In years gone by, Wilder has been known for his one-punch knockout power, his ferocious finishes and the mighty torque he gets into his right hands.
He’s often been criticised for his lack of traditional boxing technique, having picked up the sport late in his life, before managing to secure himself an Olympic bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
But Wilder has rarely ever needed boxing technique to get through his fights, boasting an incredible 41 knockouts from his 44 fights.
Fury, on the other hand, has been boxing since he was a child, and is known for his excellent footwork, feinting, double-jabbing and ring IQ.
He outwitted the great Wladimir Klitschko in their world title clash back in 2015 and outboxed Wilder for long periods of their first fight in 2018, though it ended in a draw.
Fury does pack a heavy punch, however, as he showed in his rematch with Wilder, but it’s his boxing which allows him to set up the offensive side of his game.
What have they said?
Speaking at the pre-fight press conference on Wednesday, Fury said: “All these fights are exactly the same to me. I’ve got some guy trying to take my head off with punches.
“It don’t matter if it’s Deontay Wilder, or whoever it may be. It doesn’t really matter to me, because it’s the Tyson Fury road show.
I absolutely obliterated him in the rematch. He didn’t even win any of the rounds.
“In this third fight, I just see much more of the same.
“I hope you’ve got your excuse book ready, dosser!”
But Wilder fired back that he didn’t regret his cheating allegations towards Fury.
“I don’t regret it and I go to my grave believing in what I believe in,” said Wilder.
“I know things for fact. I have confirmation, clarity of a lot of things.
“Many people can believe what they want. We’re all human. We believe what we want.
“But the eyes don’t lie.
“It only made me better as a man, as a fighter, to understand and see certain things. To know things for facts.
“It made me even hungrier than before.”
Where is Fury vs Wilder 3 taking place?
Fury vs Wilder 3 will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, making it the third different venue in pair’s three fights.
Fury vs Wilder 1 took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles back in December 2018.
And while their second happened in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Garden Arena was the venue.
But now the T-Mobile Arena, which has hosted huge fights such as Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin and numerous big UFC events, will play host for their third clash.
Who is training Tyson Fury?
Tyson Fury will be trained, once again, by SugarHill Steward, who took his corner for the second Wilder fight.
Fury used to be trained by Ben Davison, who was in charge for the very first Wilder bout, but was replaced by Steward a year later.
Steward instantly implemented his ‘Kronk style’ of training, one in which where boxers who fight out of the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan, seek to put pressure on their opponents to force a knockout.
The style of fighting was first introduced by legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, SugarHill’s late uncle.
Fury predicted that with SugarHill in his corner, he would bring the fight to Wilder and take him out during their second fight, a prediction not many believed in.
But the Gypsy King did just that, stopping Wilder in seven rounds. And now, with 18 months more Kronk training under his belt, Fury will be looking for the same result on October 9.
Who is training Deontay Wilder?
Wilder has brought in a new head trainer in Malik Scott, who the Bronze Bomber fought and knocked out back in 2014.
Scott and Wilder have worked all summer in attempt to sharpen the latter’s boxing skills, quickening both his feet and hands in preparation for Fury.
Wilder will still have ex-head trainer Jay Deas in his corner, but Scott will take charge on fight night.
The Alabama native used to have former world champion Mark Breland in his corner, but he was sacked after Wilder accused him of spiking his water before the second Fury fight.
It was also Breland who threw the towel in, forcing the referee to stop the fight midway through the seventh round.
What happened during Fury vs Wilder 1?
Fury’s first fight with Wilder took place in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2018, several months after the Gypsy King’s two comeback bouts with Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta.
Wilder was the favourite heading into the fight, having knocked out every opponent he’d ever faced before Fury, who had spent two years out of the ring with drug addiction and mental health problems.
But the fight ended in a controversial split decision draw after both fighters enjoyed success throughout the contest.
Fury managed to outbox Wilder for most of the fight but was knocked down in the ninth and 12th rounds.
The Brit looked to have been knocked out cold by Wilder in the final rounds before getting up and beating the count in a manner that saw him compared with The Undertaker.
The fight was scored 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113.
What happened during Fury vs Wilder 2?
Fury vs Wilder 2 took place in Las Vegas on February 20, 2020 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The second fight turned out to be a more one-sided affair, with Fury shocking the boxing world to stop Wilder in the seventh round of their Las Vegas clash.
Fury came into the fight with a new trainer in SugarHill Steward, after utilising Ben Davison in his corner for the first bout.
Steward and Fury adopted an offensive game plan and came forward at Wilder throughout the fight, knocking him down in rounds three and five.
Wilder’s assistant trainer Mark Breland eventually threw in the towel at the midway point of the seventh round, making Fury the WBC and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion.
The Bronze Bomber would go on to make a slew of excuses for the loss, but one of them he later denied was that he suffered a burst eardrum.
The Covid-19 pandemic delayed several attempts to get a trilogy rematch finalised.
But this weekend, Wilder will finally get his chance at vengeance.