Boxing’s heavyweight division is at its best when a fighter emerges who can combine the razzle-dazzle of showbiz with power punches. Tyson Fury supplied plenty of both Saturday night.
In a show worthy of its Las Vegas venue, the lineal heavyweight champion did a star turn, dressing like Apollo Creed and entering the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to the strains of “Living in America.” Afterward, he crooned Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to his wife in the ring.
In between those charismatic moments, there was an easy, second-round victory over Tom Schwarz (24-1, 16 knockouts) for Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) before a crowd of 9,012.
“I wanted to show a few things to the American public to introduce myself properly,” Fury said (via the Guardian). “Tonight I showed a little bit of speed, boxing skill, my ability to slip and slide out of the way of punches, and also the ability to finish, which is important.”
Fury retained the lineal title for the fourth time in his career.
“The key was to enjoy myself,” Fury said (via ESPN). “I used the jab. I was slipping [punches] with my hands down and sliding and shifted to southpaw, and I caught him with a straight left. It was a good shot. It would have put anybody away.”
Fury has been staging a furious comeback since his battle with alcohol, drugs and mental health issues derailed his career and nearly killed him. He had won three belts and took the lineal title from Wladimir Klitschko with a 2015 upset win, then was stripped of the belts and took a 31-month hiatus from the sport.
Since returning in June 2018, he has beaten two lesser opponents and fought Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) to a draw in December. A rematch with Wilder, the WBC titleholder, early next year remains the goal for Fury after a rematch with Luis Ortiz in September or October.
“It’s the biggest fight in world boxing, barring none,” the 30-year-old British fighter said. “Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, the rematch. It’s the biggest fight were going to see in the next few years. I don’t see anybody else coming up who can be as big. You’ve got two undefeated heavyweight champions, the lineal champion and the WBC champion, fighting in their prime. It doesn’t get any bigger.”
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