SAN DIEGO, November 26, 2015 – Saturday presents a three-course Thanksgiving weekend boxing lineup on Saturday, led by a heavyweight title defense by one of the world’s top pound for pound boxers.
Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs) of Ukraine makes his twentieth consecutive title defense in Germany Saturday against an unbeaten British challenger, Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs). Fury is the WBO title holder and Klitschko’s mandatory challenger. Klitschko’s three titles are also up for grabs.
The 12-round championship fight takes place at the ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany. HBO will show the fight live in the United States; the broadcast starts at 4:45 p.m. ET/1:45 p.m. ET. There will also be a replay at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, followed by a replay of the Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez and Francisco Vargas vs. Takashi Miura bouts; Vargas vs. Miura is a FOTY candidate.
Klitschko vs. Fury was originally planned for October 24, but was postponed due to a calf injury suffered by Klitschko in training.
Klitschko, 39, has little left to accomplish in his career. While he doesn’t inspire the kind of fan fervor of heavyweights whose outsized personalities matched their performance in the ring like Ali or Tyson, Klitschko is a master craftsman in the ring. Only 13 of his 67 professional opponents have gone the distance with him. He has not lost in 11 years. “Dr. Steelhammer” is smart, well-trained, and incredibly disciplined, with a steely will worth of his nickname.
But we can understand the average fan being less than thrilled when Klitschko uses his 6-foot-7 height and size to lean on his opponent and tire him out before going in for the kill with his punching power. In his last bout in April against a game but outclasses Bryant Jennings, referee Michael Griffin took a point away from Klitschko for holding, not that it mattered. “It is what it is,” said Klitschko. “I didn’t want any complaints. Sometimes when a fighter is shorter than you, things like that happen.”
This won’t be the case Saturday. Fury, age 27, is taller than Klitschko at 6-foot-9. He is only the second of Klitschko’s 67 opponents to have a longer reach than Klitschko, 85 inches to Klitschko’s 81 inch reach. Fury has youth, energy and speed in his favor, relatively speaking for a heavyweight of this size.
Outside the ring in the lead up to the fight, Fury’s antics have drawn a lot of attention, including dressing up as Batman during a news conference and tangling with someone dressed as The Joker, and sounding off with some epic trash talk. At the weigh-in, Fury initially refused to fist bump or shake Klitschko’s hand when offered. He relented after the face off a few minutes later. The pair weighed in within a pound of each other, Klitschko at 245.3 pounds, Fury at 246.4 pounds.
Wladimir Klitschko is known for his theatrical ring walks, which are often more entertaining than his actual fights. Watch one of his all time best.
The stoic Klitschko has dismissed Fury as someone might waive off an annoying five year old, calling Fury “bipolar” and “mentally ill,” also “a clown” who need treatment. During a call with news media prior to the original bout, Klitschko said Fury “needed treatment” and that he would be happy to provide it as he had done with many other guys. “I can make him a better person,” said Klitschko.
Words can’t do Fury’s antics justice. Take a look at Fury in action during the news conference in September.
Fury has convinced himself his wild behavior has distracted Klitschko, rattling him and making him nervous before the bout. It’s highly unlikely anyone as experienced, single-minded and focused as Klitschko would let the juvenile antics of Fury bother him one bit. If anything, it likely sets his resolve to teach the youngster a lesson.
Fury needs to come out quickly. If he’s going to make any headway against the champion, it will be in the first few rounds before Klitschko gets settled. Otherwise, it’s in Klitschko’s best interests to slow the rhythm of the fight down, crowd and smother Fury so he can go to work on him in the later rounds. It may result in a fight which comes off as boring to the fans, but it will be another dominant win for Klitschko.
A loss wouldn’t be a career killer in the slightest for Fury. At this stage of his career, he can use it as a valuable bit of experience for the day Dr. Steelhammer finally decides to retire from the ring. Assuming Klitschko wins on Saturday, the last challenge left is to seek the WBC heavyweight title, currently held by American Deontay Wilder. It’s a bout we hope to see in 2016.
While the bout itself might not be exciting, be sure you’re in your seat and tuned in for the ring walk. European ring walks are grand theater, and no one does it better than Dr. Steelhammer. He could put those five minutes of spectacle up against any full-scale arena rock concert and hold his own.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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