Tyson Fury achieved the supposedly impossible on Saturday with a thoroughly deserved unanimous points decision victory over previous heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. To say the boxing fraternity is still stunned by the result is no exaggeration.
For Fury to beat the man who was undefeated in 11 years and who has dominated the division will surely go down as one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Was it as dramatic as when Sonny Liston quit on his stool against a young Cassius Clay? Or as shocking as when a befuddled Mike Tyson searched desperately for his gum shield on the ring canvas following a Buster Douglas right hand? No it probably was not because of the scrappy nature of Saturday’s fight, but make no mistake the upset is just as great.
Fury was given no chance by nearly all boxing fans (the current author included) and must be given immense recognition for his performance. His team assembled an excellent game plan and their fighter executed it brilliantly, utilising constant lateral movement that left the champion unable to solve the Fury puzzle. Many have travelled to Germany and promised much but ultimately and understandably were unable to act on their pre-fight promise against the hulking, powerful Ukrainian. Any pre-fight nerves Fury possessed were not on show and he looked comfortable from the first bell, in his first foray on the truly big stage
Klitschko did not look at his best and it could be argued that at 39 he may have seen better days. But to use his age as the sole reason for his defeat would be unfair to Fury and belittle his performance, Klitschko used his right hand sparingly but did land it on a couple of occasions and the new champion stood up to it well. The last aspect of a fighter reputed to diminish with age is their power and Fury was able to absorb that.
Talk has already switched to who is next. Firstly Klitschko has a re-match clause and may choose to exercise that option. If he refuses then there are plenty of options available to Fury that could reignite the division. The obvious choice is the heavy handed Deontay Wilder who currently holds the WBC crown, with Fury now holding the other major belts a match up would create an undisputed champion for the first time since Lennox Lewis. On the domestic scene possible opponents include the Olympic champion Anthony Joshua and David Haye who announced his return from retirement last week. Realistically though Joshua is about 18 months away from a world title challenge and Haye has previously pulled out of two planned clashes with Fury, thus it seems unlikely Fury will grant Haye his chance anytime soon.
For now Fury should enjoy the rewards that come with being the heavyweight champion and justifiably so. Many may now believe in the man from Manchester and his ability, many like the current author who before last night wrongly presumed he had earned the fight through his antics out of the ring. But a fantastic result means the heavyweight division has just got very interesting indeed.