by David P. Greisman

DUSSELDORF — Tyson Fury said it was his destiny, that a child born into a family of fighters, a baby who arrived so early that he weighed just one pound, a boy named after the baddest man on the planet, would grow up to become, like his namesake, the heavyweight champion of the world.

He claimed his loved ones saw this future from the day of his first amateur fight. That prediction was a bold one, even if it was a belief based more on familial fantasy. It nevertheless came true. His next destination has also been foretold. The moment he left the ring in Germany as champion meant that he would likely make his first defense against the man he’d just defeated.

Fury had to travel from his home in the United Kingdom to Dusseldorf, a city on the Rhine in the western part of Germany. He had to face Wladimir Klitschko, the longtime champion who had not lost in more than a decade and had beaten a lengthy list of challengers during those years. He had to fight in a country that had adopted Klitschko and would support him as one of its own, filling a sizable soccer stadium and well outnumbering Fury’s impressive contingent.

He even had to deal with discovering what he considered to be a surprising amount of padding in the ring in the hours before the fight was to take place. His team appealed and succeeded in getting a thick layer removed, allowing Fury to move as he expected to be able to move — and needed to be able to move if he was going to enact the game plan they hoped would lead him to victory.

He won, and he will try to beat Klitschko again sometime in 2016. But what might seem to be an obstacle in his way is actually an opportunity.

Fury is the true heavyweight champion, the man who beat the man. That place in history can’t be taken away from him. But he doesn’t want his time as champion to be history just yet. The best way to prove himself is to show that the first win wasn’t a fluke, that he wasn’t just better than Klitschko on this one night but also is better than Klitschko when Klitschko is better.

Klitschko hadn’t looked this bad since the nights when he was beaten by Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster, and the fights after those final two crushing defeats when he was understandably uncertain of whether he could avoid being on the losing end of one more technical knockout, when he was forced to rise from one knockdown against DaVarryl Williamson and three against Samuel Peter before leaving with shaky wins, and when he’d not yet steadied himself with the style and stamina he needed. It wasn’t merely a shattered chin that needed to be rebuilt. Shattered confidence needed to be restored as well.

This past Saturday he was too tentative against Fury, unwilling to throw enough punches, the shots that would give him a shot. He averaged fewer than 20 punches per round and landed less than five per round. The fighter with more knockouts than any other active boxer rarely threw with power. He sent out just 69 power punches on the night, an average of less than six per round. He landed a paltry 18, a number that meant he landed a punch that wasn’t a jab just once every two minutes. Even the vaunted jab wasn’t being extended often, nor was it effective.

If Klitschko had an off night, Fury and his team would argue that this was made to happen.

“Everyone comes trying to land that big knockout punch. What people need to realize is boxing is an art,” said Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and trainer, speaking at the post-fight press conference. “It’s not about landing one big shot, trying to take an opponent out, leaving yourself open to be caught. It’s about angles, it’s about feints, it’s about movements, getting the distance. So much is involved. If you can’t hit it, you can’t beat it.”

Klitschko, to his credit, gave Fury credit.

“I wish there would be more clean shots that I could land. I couldn’t find the right distance to land those shots,” Klitschko said at the post-fight press conference. “Tyson was quick with his hands and his body movement and his head movement. I couldn’t land the right punches.”

Klitschko likes to work behind his jab. It softens up his opponents, setting them up for the right cross that follows as well as for a left hook that starts off looking like a jab before looping around his foe’s guard with greater force. But when that wasn’t working against Fury, the fighter nicknamed “Dr. Steelhammer” largely kept his other tools holstered.

“My right hand is supposed to land after my left,” he said. “Because of the [lack of the] right distance, I couldn’t land those shots as I wished.”

Fury had come in for the Klitschko fight lighter than he’d been in three years. He’d be quicker, he said, which would translate into power. It wasn’t power that the drop in pounds brought, though. It was control. His speed and style troubled Klitschko, an incredibly intelligent fighter who was made to look lost and who couldn’t find a solution.

That was his problem. His extended run of success meant he’d fallen into a formulaic approach. He would jab and clinch and evade, wearing down his opponents and either taking them out or taking a decision. It worked against the best the division had to offer and many others who never belonged. He saw the Sweet Science as a mathematical equation, except the sum of his calculated approach meant that he’d subtracted from himself.

He was overthinking things, pulling back when he should’ve been letting go. When what used to work doesn’t work anymore, a fighter can find a solution or force one. He shouldn’t stop at deduction when he can still opt for destruction.

Wladimir Klitschko had been atop the sport longer than his brother, Vitali. Wladimir had technique and power, but it was Vitali who could fight in the trenches, as he showed when he went to war with Lennox Lewis in 2003 and begged the ringside physician to let him continue battling despite the very bad cuts over his eye.

Wladimir was willing to get dirty — with the blatant head butt he launched into Fury’s face with about one minutes and 15 seconds to go in the 11th round, a point at which Klitschko was correct to believe that he was far behind on the scorecards; he had been told by his trainer that he should go for the knockout. Later in that round, American referee Tony Weeks took a point away from Fury for landing one too many punches to the back of Klitschko’s head.

The deduction and Fury’s infractions were inconsequential. By that time, Fury’s game plan and ability to enact it, combined with Klitschko’s inability to counteract it, had given him a large lead. Klitschko didn’t get the knockout. Fury got the win.

But Klitschko will get a rematch so long as he wants one.

Fury had been named Klitschko’s mandatory challenger by one of the three major sanctioning bodies whose title belts Klitschko held. When a mandatory challenger is named, he and the titleholder — or rather their respective promotional teams —enter into negotiations. If they’re not able to reach a deal, then the bout will be put up for what is called a purse bid, a proceeding in which various promoters can put forth sealed bids listing the total price they are willing to pay both fighters. That money would then be split at percentages established by the sanctioning body.

When a fight goes to purse bid, there is no rematch clause in the contract. When Klitschko’s company made a deal with Fury’s promoter instead, it offered terms that would give Fury enough money for him to agree to fighting this first bout in Germany and, if he won, facing Klitschko again.

Fury understood that he wouldn’t merely need to win the big one, but potentially would have to make it happen twice.

That hasn’t always worked out for the new champion. Hasim Rahman, for example, had become the true heavyweight champ when he shockingly knocked Lennox Lewis out in 2001. Some thought that Lewis had contributed to his own downfall, given the cameo role he had in the movie “Ocean’s Eleven” and then with how little time he’d given himself to acclimate to the altitude where the fight was in South Africa. Lewis showed his superiority in the rematch, putting Rahman down for the count and decisively regaining his crown.

Peter Fury acknowledges that Klitschko will probably come back better for the second fight than he was in the first. Klitschko won’t be the only one, he said.

“Styles make fights. Tyson couldn’t do the things he wanted to do because Wladimir was so skilled in front of him, and vice versa,” Peter Fury said. “These fights are what they are. We’ll have to change strategies up. We’ll have a look at it. There’s a lot more Tyson can give and there’s a lot more Wladimir can give, but I do believe the outcome will be somewhat the same. I think it’s Tyson’s time. Tyson can raise his game a lot more. … This was his first big, big test. Now that he’s come through that test, can you imagine how much more relaxed, how much more his shots are going to come off and everything else?”

Klitschko is 39 and will probably be 40 by the time the rematch happens. He turned pro 19 years ago. As good as he looked in most of his 18 title defenses dating back to 2006, he was less impressive in an otherwise wide win over Bryant Jennings earlier this year and even worse against Fury. It may just have been their styles having an effect on Klitschko’s. Or it may be that age is finally beginning to show.

It’ll be up to Klitschko to prove he’s not yet getting too old to fight at a high level. Fury, who is 27, should actually hope for the same thing of Klitschko, all while achieving the same result.

A big rematch win over a better version of Klitschko would show that Fury didn’t just have the style to beat Klitschko and become heavyweight champion. It also would suggest that he has the substance to remain champion.

Fury and his family envisioned this day from the time he was young, certain that he was the boy who would be king. That prediction came true. He’s made himself king. But a king is truly made by how — and how long — he remains on his throne.

The 10 Count is on hiatus.

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