HEAVYWEIGHT super-fight Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder is set for later this year. No one should question the former world champion’s guts and belief in himself. It’s a wholly admirable move, and one that will erase the horror of the Sefer Seferi debacle which triggered accusations that Fury may well be lacking in confidence.
As we knew, and were told plentifully just in case we didn’t, Fury had to start somewhere after two-and-a-half years out of the ring. But Seferi, seemingly overwhelmed with respect for Fury, was a false start so glaring both could have been disqualified for their loved-up shenanigans in the opening two rounds back in June. Even the next opponent, Francesco Pianeta – whose world title shot five years ago was wildly undeserved – is so far behind Wilder it would, on paper, make the leap to the WBC heavyweight boss not only audacious, but preposterous.
It’s that jump from Pianeta to Wilder that has led some to suggest that Fury should wait. But Tyson and promoter Frank Warren should be applauded for going for the jugular at this point. For me, it’s exactly the right move at exactly the right time. After all, how many more Seferis and Pianetas does Fury need? In the past, Tyson has thrived when the odds are stacked against him and looked ordinary when they’re very much in his favour. And would anyone, even now, be that confident in writing off the Englishman’s chances? Certainly, given Wilder’s clumsy (albeit effective) style, it’s easy to envision Fury boxing rings around the American.
It makes sense for Wilder, too. While Fury outclassed Seferi with ease, he did not impress. If Wilder looks beatable to Fury, then Fury will certainly look beatable to Wilder. Also, by staging a defence against Tyson in the States – which appears to be the current plan – he throws a middle finger up at Anthony Joshua and his team by being one half of the most intriguing heavyweight pairing of the year.
Which leads to the benefits to us fans. Not only is it a completely fascinating matchup, it will stop us from yearning for Joshua and Wilder to fight each other for long enough for us to give their next bouts our full concentration. Suddenly, everything is to play for. Not least the so-called ‘linear’ title that Fury and co claim to own. Should the fight occur, expect the propaganda for the ‘real world heavyweight championship’ to go into overdrive. But ultimately, whether you subscribe to the linear title or not, Fury gave up his right to be called world heavyweight champion the moment he failed a drug test and subsequently announced his retirement several times. Championships should not and do not remain indefinitely open.
But what this does for Fury is put him right back in the mix to regain that title. A title that will remain vacant until Joshua and Wilder – or indeed Fury – collide to decide the undisputed numero uno. The time for Fury is now.