By Jake Donovan
Tyson Fury will forever believe Deontay Wilder missed the one chance at beating him.
The unbeaten heavyweight from England made the media rounds Tuesday morning, with the intention of promoting his Sept. 14 ESPN+ headlinder versus Sweden’s Otto Wallin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Naturally, conversation never quite reached that subject, instead focusing on meaningful heavyweight fights such as a second go with Wilder and facing the winner of the announced Dec. 7 rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua.
A return bout with Alabama’s Wilder (41-0-1, 40KOs) remains a hot topic as it has been suggested to take place in the first quarter of 2020, more than a year after the two fought to a disputed 12-round draw last December.
Fury was believed to have deserved the verdict, despite suffering a pair of late knockdowns including an iconic sequence in the 12th and final round where he appeared to have been knocked out. Not only did Fury recover and beat the count; he also proceeded to reclaim momentum before the final bell. His biggest victory since dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in Nov. 2015 was denied, however, as he was forced to settle for a split decision draw in his third fight back following a 30-month ring hiatus.
“(Wilder) has done an amazing job in his life and his boxing career,” Fury (28-0-1, 20KOs) insisted during a recent segment on ESPN’s First Take, though stating so only to soften the blow. “But if you can’t beat a man three years out of the ring and abusing his body every day, he hasn’t a chance of beating me ever.
“The one mistake I made last time, was believing it would be a… level playing field.”
A rematch was discussed and in advanced talks for this past May, only for Fury to balk at the 11th hour, instead signing with Top Rank and ESPN+ this past February. His first fight under the lucrative deal came in June, doubling as his Vegas debut as he annihilated unbeaten but unheralded Tom Schwarz in two rounds.
Most are already predicting a similar outcome for his second straight Vegas party, despite Wallin—a 6’5½” southpaw—boasting an entirely different style.
As for Fury, he’s not making such claims for his upcoming fight—but truly believes it was a prelude to how a Wilder rematch will play out.
“(For the rematch), I have to change my style, which is fine,” notes Fury, who has taken pride in showing up trim and fit for training camp rather than having to train to lose weight. “I’m better now, I’m stronger now. I’m definitely gonna knock (Wilder) out.
“If it was Wilder I fought in June instead of Tom Schwarz, the same outcome would have occurred.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox