By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Deontay Wilder wasn’t about to give Tyson Fury credit for the former heavyweight champion’s most meaningful victory.
As Wilder went back and forth with his unbeaten challenger during a press conference Wednesday, the defending WBC heavyweight champion made sure to dispute the magnitude of Fury’s upset of Wladimir Klitschko. England’s Fury was a 4-1 underdog against Klitschko, but the 6-feet-9 Brit beat the long-reigning champion by unanimous decision in their 12-round title fight in November 2015.
Fury didn’t just become the first fighter to defeat Klitschko in the 11½ years since Lamon Brewster stopped him in the fifth round of their April 2004 bout in Las Vegas. He also went to Klitschko’s backyard for his championship chance.
The retired Klitschko is from Ukraine, but he resided in Germany for many years and boxed in his adopted home country numerous times throughout his lengthy career. Fury still clearly out-boxed Klitschko in their 12-rounder in Dusseldorf, Germany, to win a unanimous decision and the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles.
Wilder still isn’t impressed.
“I’ve knocked out every fighter that I’ve faced,” Wilder said on the dais at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites. “You’ve seen it. You was there. Why haven’t he? Why is his [knockout] ratio so low? Why? And with [the] Klitschko fight, he didn’t beat Klitschko. Klitschko beat himself. We all know this. If Klitschko would’ve threw more punches, if Klitschko would’ve showed up and threw more punches, the fight would’ve been different. [Fury] knows this.
“You only had confidence because Klitschko didn’t throw no punches. That’ll give you confidence, if you’ve got a punching bag in the ring. That’s easy. But this time, Saturday comes, you got a different beast in the ring, baby. You got a different mentality. You got a different culture. We come from two different places. We come from two different worlds, man. And I can’t wait to put these hands on you!”
All three judges – California’s Raul Caiz Sr. (115-112), Argentina’s Ramon Cerdan (116-111) and Puerto Rico’s Cesar Ramos (115-112) – scored Fury the winner over Klitschko. The referee, Nevada’s Tony Weeks, deducted a point from Fury in the 11th round for hitting Klitschko behind his head.
England’s Phil Edwards, California’s Alejandro Rochin and Canada’s Robert Tapper have been assigned to judge the Wilder-Fury fight. California’s Jack Reiss will be the referee.
The 33-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is slightly favored over the 30-year-old Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), of Manchester, England. Their scheduled 12-rounder will headline Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; $74.99 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.