How Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder

Tyson Fury landed more punches on Deontay Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch than the entirety of their first encounter, stopping the American in the seventh round. So, how do the numbers help to explain the gypsy king’s brilliance? Lee Saunders takes a look.

Now fans across the globe have had time to digest the highly anticipated rematch, and with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forcing the sporting world to halt, what better time to look at the staggering statistics behind the gypsy king’s historic victory? Now holder of the WBC and Ring Magazine belts, Fury has set up a potentially mouth-watering undisputed clash with fellow Brit Anthony Joshua in 2021. Well, once they’re allowed out of the house, that is.

Rewind for a second to the weeks and months leading up to the rematch, and you’ll be reminded of Fury’s promises to be on the front foot from the start, and ultimately knock Wilder out. He even parted ways with trainer Ben Davison, and brought in Sugar Hill Steward, nephew of the famous Emanuel Steward. Steward trains his fighters in line with the famous Kronk gym style, which is aggressive, and aims to hurt the opponent with every punch, even the jab.

Fury backed up the pre-fight trash-talk, ending Wilder’s unbeaten record.

Despite this bold move, Fury’s words were still met with a great deal of scepticism, by myself included. Nearly every expert expected Fury to take a similar approach to their first encounter in December 2018, when he fought on the back foot, scoring the odd shot, but seldom trying to hurt the American. Once again, however, Fury proved his doubters wrong.

In the first six rounds of the rematch, Fury landed 121 punches, compared to just 55 after the halfway point of their first fight. Not only did he land more punches, but the type of shots landed from Fury also stand out. In the six and a half rounds before Wilder’s corner threw the towel in, Fury landed 21 cross punches, compared with 27 in the 12 rounds of the first fight.

It would appear Fury opted to throw more power punches to gain the respect of his opponent, who would, in turn, be more hesitant to use his most (and some would say only) dangerous weapon, in his right hand. And the statistics suggest Fury achieved just that. In their first encounter in Los Angeles, Wilder threw almost double the number of cross punches of Fury, 85 to 46. In the rematch, roles reversed as Fury threw 43 to Wilder’s 21.

credit: Boxstat

This statistic more than any other shows the brilliance of the gypsy king. In being the first man to take the fight to Deontay Wilder, and force him to fight on the back foot, out of his comfort zone, he nullified the main strengths of the American, who likes to fight patiently, at his own pace, waiting for the right opportunity to detonate one of those right-hand bombs. It was a brave (some might say mad) tactic from the Englishman, but his bravery was rewarded in kind.

Another difference in Fury’s performance from the first fight, and frankly any Fury performance, was his jab. Fury has always used his jab at will, flicking it out as often as possible, to score points and to stop the opponent getting into a rhythm. By flicking the jab and moving away, you are able to evade anything coming back from your opponent, but at the cost of not being able to make a dent on your opponent.

Wilder activated his rematch clause just days after the first defeat of his career in February

This time around, however, Fury was often seen stepping into the jab, so that it carried much greater power, but also throwing it less often, and instead of trying to time Wilder into eating his hard, straight lefts. Once again, this aligns with the style taught in the Kronk gym, where the aim is always to be on the front foot, and punching to hurt the opponent. The jab was the only punch that Fury threw less often than Wilder in the rematch, albeit only by one.

Looking at Fury’s variety, you can see that the jab took up far less of his punch output in the second fight with the bronze bomber. In the rematch, the jab took up 40% of the gypsy king’s total punches thrown, compared with 72% in their first fight. This shows less of a reliance on the jab in their rematch, and a focus on power punches, which allowed Fury to finish the job inside the distance, with power punches that could make a serious dent on Wilder. Uppercuts, for example, made up seven percent of Fury’s punches thrown two weeks ago, compared to just two percent in their first encounter.

credit: Boxstat

The focus on power punches could also be down to Fury’s fitness. Prior to his first fight with Wilder, at the Staples Centre, Fury had had two comeback fights against the European standard (at best) Albanian Sefer Seferi and German Francesco Pianeta, before which he had spent over two and a half years out of the ring, and ballooned to almost 30 stone. And that’s without mentioning the booze, drugs and depression which ensued.

Fury has often been quoted as saying the dramatic weight loss affected his stamina against Wilder in their first fight, as he was unable to capitalise when he hurt the American. The punch stats suggest this was the case, and that a fresh Fury, who didn’t need to worry about weight loss or ring rust, proved to be far too much for Wilder to handle. He was able to hurt the American continuously throughout the six and a half rounds, and most importantly, stay on top when he had him hurt.

Wilder confirmed days after the defeat that he and his team had decided to activate the rematch in their contract. The trilogy is now reportedly being planned for October 3, with the original date of July 18th deemed too early, as the coronavirus is likely to push back several high-profile fights planned for next few months. After being stopped for the first time in his career, however, it will take major changes from the American if he is to regain his title against the man who is undoubtedly number one in the heavyweight division.

Credits: Images used from Wikimedia and Wikipedia.es

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