Tyson Fury feels that lack of conditioning during his first fight against Deontay Wilder played a role as to why he wasn’t able to go for the finish during a highly disputed draw of which he got knocked down once in the ninth round, and once in the twelfth.
The December 2018 match was the 31 year-old Fury’s (29-0-1, 20 KOs) third since returning from a near three-year layoff after ballooning to 400 pounds and battling depression, cocaine and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
“I never had the gas to put my foot on the floor to finish him,” said Fury. “I never had the energy and stamina. I was out of the ring for a long time. I just never had the core fitness. That was it. I don’t need to tell lies. That’s the truth.”
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) outlanded Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) in total shots, 84 to 71, and even has an edge with power punches, a usually decisive advantage that’s been his Alabaman counterpart’s alibi.
For their rematch on Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Fox and ESPN pay per view, Fury wants to avoid a points decision and instead score a definitive knockout.
“I don’t need to [improve my punching power]. I just need to embrace it. Like love. You need to embrace,” said Fury, who will be fighting in the United States for the fourth consecutive time.
“Thinking I won the fight by outboxing him is not enough. I need to know I won the fight. I need to end him. I need to end the fight. That’s it. I know that I need to get the knockout here. That’s for sure. Fair enough. I understand that, and I accept it. I’m going into this fight knowing that I can’t win a boxing decision. So I have to knock him out. What’s fair is fair. As long as you know the devil that you’re working with, then you can prepare. When you don’t know the devil that you’re working with, you’re susceptible for things to happen. You’re not expecting it.”
Fury went on to predict that he will knock out Wilder in the second round.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.