Tyson Fury fought to a draw in his first go-around with Deontay Wilder by trying to out-box his American opponent.
It worked for the most part — excluding the two knockdowns — and he was seen to be unlucky not to be awarded the win.
In the rematch, Fury took a different approach.
The now-WBC heavyweight champion split with long-time trainer Ben Davison, and declared — time and time again — he was hunting the knockout under the guidance of SugarHill Steward.
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No one really knew if that was legitimate, or if it was just classic pre-fight bravado; a way to sell the fight to the masses.
But it was the same message behind closed doors. The chatter stemming from the Fury camp worried a bunch in the boxing world, including big-name promoter Eddie Hearn, who actually changed his pick to Wilder ahead of the fight after hearing the plan.
“[I heard] that he was going to come forward, that he was going to go for the knockout, and he was going to be aggressive in the fight,” Hearn told
“… It wasn’t that someone told me a little secret … they said, ‘he’s going to come in big, he’s going to go on the front foot, he’s going to walking him down, and he’s going to try and stop him’.
“I just went, ‘What is he doing?’ And it ended up being absolutely genius.”
Fury weighed in 42 pounds heavier than Wilder, and instead of using his usual slick movement and technical ability to out-land and out-point his foe, the Brit chose instead to bully his outmatched opponent.
There’s two ways to avoid that Wilder right hand; either stay out of distance, or get in close.
Fury chose the second option.
“We didn’t mind revealing the game plan. We had nothing to hide,” Fury said.
“I said what I was going to do — run across the ring, put him on the back foot and unload big shots on him. I’ve always been a slick master boxer — jab, move, get out of the way of everything.
“When I made the decision to move from [my previous trainer] Ben Davison, who’d done a fantastic job, by the way, I did it for a reason. Everybody was like, ‘This is a bad move, a really bad move.’ But it worked out for the best.”
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In rematches, the result is often dictated by which fighter adapts and learns from his mistakes.
And in this particular sequel, Fury wasn’t just a better fighter, but he was a different fighter.
“The tactics were genius, to be honest with you,” Hearn said. “And actually … when it happens, it becomes so much simpler, doesn’t it?
“Wilder’s not a big guy, yeah, he can punch, but he’s got no footwork, terrible going backwards. So actually, it makes sense.
“But when I heard it, I thought, no. I thought his best bet was doing what he does.
“But that was probably the most impressive thing in the victory … winning in a way that he wasn’t expected to, and in a way that he hasn’t really shown before.”