Warren: Knockdowns in first fight give Fury psychological edge in Wilder rematch

By Phil Barnett, PA
PA Media: Sport

Tyson Fury’s promoter believes the heavy knockdowns he suffered at the hands of Deontay Wilder will give the Briton the psychological edge in their rematch on Saturday.

The Mancunian was floored by WBC heavyweight champion Wilder in the ninth and 12th rounds in December 2018, somehow beating the count in the latter only for the fight to be scored a draw.

However, despite his fighter’s first-hand experience of Wilder’s bludgeoning power, promoter Frank Warren believes Fury, not Wilder, has the mental advantage.

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He told the PA news agency: “The knockdowns in the first fight will have more of a psychological impact on Wilder, because he’ll be thinking ‘how am I going to stop this fella from controlling the fight?’.

Tyson Fury was knocked down twice by Deontay Wilder in their first encounter (Lionel Hahn/PA)
Tyson Fury was knocked down twice by Deontay Wilder in their first encounter (Lionel Hahn/PA)

“The only way to do it is to let those bombs go. Because he’s not going to out-jab Tyson and he’s not going to out-box him, so what’s he going to do?

“He’s got to let his shots go. And when he does let his shots go – and yes, they come from unorthodox angles – he leaves himself open and vulnerable to the counter.”

Fury is regarded as the ‘lineal’ world heavyweight champion, having dethroned the great Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and never subsequently lost.

Just over a year ago, after a dark period of depression, weight gain and inactivity, he challenged Wilder after a couple of easy warm-up fights and boxed superbly.

However, the two knockdowns helped to earn the champion a controversial draw.

That performance was inspired to some extent by Fury’s then-trainer Ben Davison. However, Saturday’s rematch will see Fury’s corner headed up by SugarHill Steward, a trainer bred at Detroit’s Kronk Gym, after Fury decided a change was needed.

Warren seems unconcerned, however, and insists Fury knows what is best.

“I haven’t seen him training because I’ve been in the UK and Tyson has been in America but when I speak to him he sounds good,” the veteran promoter said.

“But if you think about it, when he went with Ben everybody asked ‘Ben who?’ because he had no track record of training any top-quality fighters.

“Everyone said ‘this is madness, Tyson shouldn’t be trained by him’ but he actually did very well.

Tyson Fury returns to the ring on February 22 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Tyson Fury returns to the ring on February 22 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Tyson is a student of boxing, he knows the sport backwards and he also knows SugarHill from years ago. He decided that SugarHill could bring something effective to his weaponry and that’s why he took him on.

“Tyson is no fool. He knows what he’s doing. He’s in a very good place at the moment. And in boxing, of course you want to be fit and you want to be well-conditioned and whatever.

“And Tyson is that. But the most important thing is to be mentally on the money – and that’s where Tyson is at the moment.”

::BT Sport Box Office will show Tyson Fury’s highly-anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder, exclusively live on Saturday 22nd February. Wilder v Fury II can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App. https://www.bt.com/sport/box-office/

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