A towering heavyweight boxer with a pawing jab, an apparent lack of one-punch KO power, possibly chinny, cumbersome lateral movement, very suspect to overhand rights, and fights “bums”. Sound familiar? I’m actually talking about Lennox Lewis, although you could be forgiven for thinking that I was referring to Tyson Fury [19-0]. After all, Fury has been subject to exactly the same manner and form of criticism as what Lennox was receiving during the early stages of his career. Nevertheless, whether his detractors choose to acknowledge it or not, Fury’s progress as a prospect is steady and he is definitely on course to challenge for the world heavyweight title at some point within the next couple of years. A closer look at Tyson Fury’s level of opposition is to see just why he is ranked in the top 10 and acknowledged by Wladimir Klitschko himself as a prospective challenger in the near future, both of which are remarkable feats indeed for a mere 19 fight novice.
In his most recent outing against Vinny Maddalone [35-7], a high class journeyman / C fighter who has been in with the likes of Tomasz Adamek, Jean Marc Mormeck and Denis Boytsov, Fury rounded off a dominant performance with a stoppage, as is to be expected from a contender looking to secure a title shot in the future. Maddalone was made to look limited, just as he has been throughout his career whenever he has been out of his depth against opponents are established within the upper-echelons of the division at the time of meeting them.
The most recognisable victim of Tyson Fury’s would be Dereck Chisora [14-0], who has since challenged Vitali Klitschko for the world heavyweight title, albeit unsuccessfully in a very brave effort which didn’t translate favourably on the judge’s scorecards. Chisora was recently stopped by David Haye, while he has also found himself on the wrong end of much debated split-decision against Robert Helenius, with the latter claiming the vacant European heavyweight title that night. Of course, Chisora hasn’t been the only promising undefeated fighter to lose his ‘0’ to Fury. The same fate also met Marcelo Luiz Nascimento [13-0], Neven Pajkic [16-0], and Rich Power [12-0].
There have also been other domestic rivals aside from Chisorah, with Fury fighting Martin Rogan [14-2], as well as John McDermott [25-5] on two occasions. Rogan, who enjoyed superb wins over Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton, represents a stern test for any prospect brave enough, but Fury was more than up to the task, and even demonstrated an added dimension to his development having fought from the southpaw stance for the entire duration of the bout. As for John Mcdermott, another heavyweight who is well known to British boxing fans having challenged for the British title on several occasions, Tyson Fury only had 7 fights under his belt during their first meeting, and it showed. After picking up a lopsided decision victory, one which many felt was much more closely contested than the scorecards indicated, Fury proved a point in their rematch, and this time there was no need for scorecards when the prospect stopped his much more experienced opponent.
Fury has his flaws, all of which his uncle and trainer, Peter Fury, will be hoping to iron out, but considering how much he has improved since his debut, even if he doesn’t get to one of the Klitschko brothers before they retire, he will almost certainly be in the mix and contesting world titles amongst the likes of Povetkin, Helenius, Chagaev, Pulev, Adamek, Price, Mitchell, etc. in the future. Some of the criticisms that Fury has received from some pundits and journalists are as laughable as they are baseless. Whether they are genuinely oblivious, clueless or expressing views in accordance to an agenda is open to interpretation for the more learned and impartial of readers. What isn’t subjective is the facts. Fury is ranked in the top 10, is the current reigning WBO intercontinental champion, and he has beaten better opponents than other world prospects at similar stages of their careers. Whether his critics like it or not, Fury is ascending and starting to look the part technically, as well as physically.
Despite being a taller fighter, Fury likes to throw uppercuts from tight angles, although it remains to be seen if he will be able to catch high calibre opponents on their way inside. Likewise, while Fury’s jab has been a potent weapon which has allowed him to control range at will against the likes of Vinny Maddalone, Fury’s ability to be effective on the outside at world level will only be confirmed when he demonstrates this against a top 10 heavyweight. Fury’s lateral movement was mediocre at best in the early stages of his career, but nowadays his footwork and agility are just about as good as it gets for a super-heavyweight. Fury’s defensive work and concentration have been suspect in a few of his fights, particularly against Neven Pajkic, the only man to have ever floored Fury and did so with a wild swing of an overhand right which really shouldn’t have landed cleanly. To Fury’s credit, he looked more embarrassed than hurt, but it was a lesson which put him in good stead if his following fights against Rogan and Maddalone have been anything to go by. Last but not least, the stamina question has already been answered, with 12 rounds successfully negotiated against Dereck Chisorah. To suppliment that Fury’s conditioning has showned improved. Indeed, if his last couple of fights are anything to go by, Team Fury are looking for their man to have 18 stones / 252lbs of athletic muscle on that 6’9″ frame. Tyson Fury, a tall order for any heavyweight out there and prospective opponents would do well to not take him lightly, the Klitschko brothers included!