For promotional purposes, Tyson Fury very easily could’ve contended that Deontay Wilder is the hardest puncher in boxing history.
That has been widely debated since Wilder produced two more highlight-reel knockouts after facing Fury in December 2018. Fury thinks it’s impossible to know, though, since he hasn’t been hit by most of the heavyweights who’ve been touted as huge punchers historically.
Fury did admit during a recent conference call to promote their rematch Saturday night that Wilder hits very hard.
The Alabama-based knockout artist floored Fury twice in their first fight, once apiece in the ninth and 12th rounds. Fury got up both times and their bout resulted in a largely disputed split draw at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“You know, I felt the power,” Fury said, before breaking into a cartoonish voice. “Ain’t so bad! Ain’t so bad! He can’t be the biggest puncher in history because he couldn’t knock ‘The Gypsy King’ out, could he? I took his best shot, flush on the chin, and got back up. You know, he punches hard, but you know, I’ve never been hit by the likes of someone like Earnie Shavers. I’ve never been hit by George Foreman. I’ve never been hit by Rocky Marciano, or any of those top guys. I haven’t been hit by them, so I can’t comment. So, if he’s the biggest puncher in history, I’m not really sure because I haven’t been hit by all the guys in history.”
England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) wouldn’t even concede that Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) is the hardest puncher he has fought.
“I don’t think he punches harder than Wladimir Klitschko,” Fury said. “Wladimir has a massive knockout count, has a lot more fights than Wilder, has about 65 contests. But make no mistake, all heavyweights punch hard and they can all knock anybody out. Wilder, I don’t think it’s so much his power. It’s his speed, his hands. It can be tricky when you don’t see it coming.
“But then again, even a guy who’s got no knockout ratio, if he hits you and you don’t see it coming, then he’s gonna put you down. But actually feeling punches in fights, I’m not familiar with it because I don’t feel any punches when I’m in the ring because the adrenaline’s flying high. When you’re in a fight, you don’t feel the punches ever.”
Fury upset Ukraine’s Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) by unanimous decision in November 2015 to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
Only two opponents, Fury and Bermane Stiverne, have gone the distance with Wilder since the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist turned pro in November 2008. Wilder knocked down Stiverne three times and knocked him out in the first round of their mandated rematch in November 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 34-year-old Wilder will attempt to make the 11th defense of the WBC title he won from Stiverne five years ago when he faces Fury at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Their 12-round rematch will be the main event of a four-fight FOX Sports/ESPN pay-per-view show set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT ($79.99 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.