IF the role of Tom Schwarz was to make Tyson Fury look good, it was mission accomplished and then some. Fury did as he pleased from the opening bell and impressively blasted the German underdog into submission in two rounds inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Fury showboated, he boxed, he switched stances, he punched with purpose, he entertained and – on this limited evidence – he looked like the most complete fighter in the division. After controlling the opening three minutes behind his left jab, he decided to control the second behind his right.
The change in stance bewitched Schwarz. The underdog gamely tried his best, throwing all he had as Fury gleefully avoided every shot before turning up the spite and ending the show. A left-right through the middle blasted off Schwarz’s bloodied nose and sent him down for a count before a punishing salvo forced the referee’s intervention.
“The key tonight was to enjoy myself,” a jubilant Fury said afterwards. “This time I had a few months out the ring, not a few years, and I am the lineal champion. Bring them all on!”
As a showcase opponent, Schwarz was perfect. The overwhelming favourite shifted through the gears, pummelled his bewitched foe and turned in the kind of performance that will impress the American fans.
But as a worthwhile test, the German was sorely lacking for someone of Fury’s ability.
This was Fury’s first bout since his thrilling draw with WBC champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles last December when he famously survived two knockdowns to look like the winner at the end of the 12-rounder.
On that night, against all the odds, Fury showed he was among the division’s finest following a turbulent three-year period that began with victory over Wladimir Klitschko, before it plunged into an abyss of failed drug tests and depression. Against Wilder, Fury boxed beautifully and hauled himself off the canvas in the final round to somehow finish the stronger and triumphantly turn his back on his problems.
But there was no such rollercoaster drama
in Las Vegas nor, frankly, the kind of opponent capable of triggering it.
Schwarz, unbeaten in 24 fights coming in, was ranked No.2 by the World Boxing Organisation despite not beating anyone who could possibly justify such a lofty placing. What could justify those mindless heights, at least from the WBO’s viewpoint, was the fees they were paid to sanction defences of Schwarz’s spurious Inter-Continental strap.
There was thankfully no such title
on the line inside the MGM Grand though 30-year-old Fury’s claim to the mythical
lineal championship was predictably rolled out throughout the build-up and
during the pre-fight announcements. If he’s to claim he’s the world heavyweight
champion, then he must accept some responsibility for Schwarz being one of the
worst challengers. Brave and willing he might have been, but he was woefully
The German, 25, looked out of his depth from the moment this fight was announced and inside the ring the gulf in class was glaringly apparent.
But credit Fury with doing what was required, with blasting out the kind of opponent he has laboured against in the past. The Apollo Creed-style outfit, the newfound savagery and the post-fight serenade to his wife will have pleased American audiences.
A wild and entertaining light-heavyweight 10-rounder saw Jesse Hart break into world title contention when he unanimously defeated Sullivan Barrera. Hart scored a contentious knockdown in the eighth round but he had a perfectly legitimate one ruled out earlier in the contest. Barrera dutifully tried to land the knockout punch throughout but Hart – lively from the opening bell – was quicker, stronger and more accurate. The scores in his favour (99-90, 96-92, 97-92) told the right story.