December 2, 2015
December 2, 2015
Olympic Games

Action Images/Lee Smith

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WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO has made his decision. The former heavyweight world champion will attempt to reclaim the belts he lost to Tyson Fury in Dusseldorf, confirming that he will take the Briton up on their contracted rematch.

It will however be a demanding job. Fury won the first encounter in impressive if surprising style. He managed to outpoint Klitschko in Germany, something which never seemed likely ahead time. Wladimir will need to a radical overhaul if he’s to best Fury in a rematch. Here’s what he must do:

Take the openings

He did catch Fury a few times with his right cross but too often he let openings go begging. Fury dropped his guard, deliberately to goad Klitschko, but Wladimir was too hesitant to seize those moments, even when he’d directed Tyson into corners. If Fury puts his hands behind his back again or keeps his arms low and loose, Klitschko needs to back his own speed and strike.

Establish his jab

Klitschko’s jab is normally an ultra-effective weapon. But he’s accustomed to using it to tame shorter men. In Fury he’s in the rare situation of being against someone with a height advantage over him. It is possible to outjab a taller man but Klitschko needs to get his timing right and not be offset by Fury’s feinting and movement.

Close the gap

The former champion’s control of distance has, in the past, been outstanding. Normally up on his toes, he slides in and out of range to keep smaller opponents on the end of his punches. He couldn’t do that against Fury. Tyson moved off and quickly got the measure of Klitschko with his own shots from distance. Klitschko has to alter his style to burst forward and stay inside for longer than he’s normally inclined, without clinching.

Work rate

Klitschko needs to throw more punches. In Germany it seemed like Klitschko was trotting after Fury looking for a single clean punch. He needs to replace that with urgency (noticeably lacking until it was too late in the first fight), increasing his output, throwing in combination to try to get one through. And he’s got to attack the body.

Which all sounds nice in theory, the issue is executing it in practice…