Boxing News At Five | Sep 03 2019

Boxing News at Five: Wilder would rather unify titles than fight Fury again, Usyk confirms October 12 ding-dong with Spong

Deontay Wilder says Tyson Fury doesn't really want to rematch him next year, and Oleksandr Usyk will officially make his heavyweight debut on October 12
Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury  |  Esther Lin/Showtime

THERE are countless reasons why Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury should meet again in a WBC heavyweight title fight and only one reason why they shouldn’t.

The reasons why they should have everything to do with the fact they fought to a draw in December, a controversial draw no less, and because they are two of the more engaging boxers in the world right now whose rivalry could end up being one of the great ones.

The single reason why they shouldn’t fight again, however, at least according to Wilder, is because Andy Ruiz Jnr owns three of the four heavyweight titles and a potential unification fight will always trump any other available option.

Though there’s an element of truth to this, it would be a shame for Wilder and Fury to avoid settling something that needs to be settled, something that perhaps should have been settled already.

“In my opinion, I don’t feel Fury wants to fight me again,” Wilder, 41-0-1 (4), told 78SPORTSTV. “If this opportunity comes about, I think Fury will pass up his opportunity. He would want me to fight for the unification and then come back and fight him.

“He ain’t really no king. He don’t have a title. I revived his career for him – you’re welcome.

“Now, if that happens, Fury, step aside.”

Wilder has for some time now wanted to unify the world heavyweight titles but was unable to reach an agreement with Anthony Joshua when Joshua rather than Ruiz was in possession of three of the four. Now, with Ruiz in the ascendency, the picture has changed ever so slightly, at least until the Mexican and Joshua meet again on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.

Wilder, of course, will be an interested observer when that rematch happens. He will also happily entertain offers if the chance to bring some clarity to the division is presented to him.

“I would want him (Fury) to step aside, which I think he would do anyway,” said Wilder.

“I think he would, but I would want him to do it as well, to give a unification.

“One champion, one face, one name. That has never left my mind.”

Like most things in boxing, the fantasy sounds better than the reality. The reality is, Wilder and Joshua, when they had the chance, managed to butcher the opportunity to create a ‘one champion, one face, one name’ scenario. And the new reality, as a result of their stalling, lowballing and flirting, is that Andy Ruiz rules the division and Wilder and Fury have unfinished business.

Let’s hope, one way or another, common sense prevails.

Wilder
Wilder and Fury need round 13 (and the rest)

It was rumoured last week but now we have confirmation that Oleksandr Usyk, ruler of the cruiserweights, will finally make his long-awaited heavyweight debut on October 12 against Tyrone Spong.

The fight will take place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago and will be televised live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

“I am very excited to make my heavyweight debut in Chicago on October 12, live on DAZN,” said Usyk, 16-0 (12). “Spong is a fast and powerful heavyweight who has had much success in the ring. I must come through this test to challenge for the world heavyweight title. I look forward to seeing everyone there.”

Fast and powerful he may be, but Spong is also a man better known for his exploits in the kickboxing ring than anything he has achieved in a boxing ring. Somehow ranked at five by the WBO, the 34-year-old Dutchman boasts zero wins of note and has boxed only three times in America.

Even Usyk, the man tasked with soiling his unbeaten record, seemed oblivious to the ‘King of the Ring’ when asked about him in London last weekend. In interviews, he struggled pronouncing Spong’s name – “Spung? Sponge?” – and appeared less bothered by this threat than he was when about to face the likes of Murat Gassiev and Mairis Briedis and Tony Bellew down at cruiserweight. And for obvious reasons, too.

“After achieving most of my goals as a kickboxer and becoming one of the most decorated champions in the history of the sport, I wanted to test myself in the difficult and challenging sport of boxing,” said Spong, 13-0 (10).

“I have worked tirelessly during the last three years and now have the opportunity to prove my worth as a boxer against perhaps the best pound-for-pound, and most technically sound boxer in the world.

“Some may think the challenge may be too difficult, but I believe in myself, and look forward to being victorious on October 12.”

On paper, a fight against a six-foot-two heavyweight who typically weighs just below 230 pounds seems a sensible bit of matchmaking on the part of the team responsible for a heavyweight newcomer. However, when the newcomer in question happens to be Oleksandr Usyk, a peerless cruiserweight champion, six-foot-three and a heavyweight as an amateur, different standards should be applied and the match should be judged accordingly.

Unfortunately, in this case, Tyrone Spong (91-7-1 as a kickboxer) represents Usyk’s weakest opponent for quite some time. (And if anyone deserves a ‘gimme’, this man does.)

Oleksandr Usyk next opponent
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing Usyk school the world’s best (Action Images/Andrew Coudlridge)

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