By Charles Brun: Tyson Fury had a tougher time than expected in winning his tune-up fight against a motivated Otto Wallin, and had to dig deep to win after suffering a cut over his right eye. Fury retained his lineal heavyweight champion status, but he didn’t look sharp in doing so. Looking very much like the loser, Fury got the decision by the scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. Boxing News 24 scored the contest a draw at 114-114. Fury didn’t do enough to get the victory after giving most of the first six rounds, and then losing the 12th.
It wasn’t the type of performance that you’d like to see from a fighter that is about to take on a dangerous puncher like WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Fury isn’t the same fighter says Wilder
“Anyone that saw this fight will understand and recognize he’s not the same fighter, but this is what I do to them,” said Deontay to Barbershop Conversations. “I end careers. He’s not the same fighter at all, I took something. He’s done and I can’t wait. He’s not the same fighter at all.”
SOUND ON 🔈
Fury’s struggle against Wallin not a good sign
The Wallin fight was the second of two warm-up matches to get Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) ready to take on Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) in 2020. Fury’s loyal Boxing fans are in the damage control mode, blaming his performance against Wallin on the cut that he received in round 3. They say that Fury would have easily beaten Wallin if not for the cut. The reality is different. Fury struggled even before suffering the cut occurred. He was being exposed by the younger 28-year-old Swedish heavyweight.
Wallin appeared to win 5 of the first 6 rounds. The judges saw it differently in giving Fury the majority of the rounds, but he clearly was getting worked over by Wallin. To be kind, Fury deserved to win one round in the first half of the fight. When you the 5 rounds that Wallin should have been given in the first half to his strong finish in the 12th, he deserved a draw. With Boxing, it’s a business, and Wallin found himself on the losing end of very questionable scores from the Nevada judges.
No improvement in Fury’s game
The performance by Fury showed no improvement in his game since his fight with Wilder. If anything, Fury’s game has deteriorated since his fight with Wilder. The injured eye wasn’t the cause for that. It’s possible that the devastating knockdown Fury suffered against Wilder took something out of him.
You have to remember that Fury was knocked cold by Wilder in the 12th round last December. The referee Jack Reiss played it old school by giving a count while Fury was in a deep slumber. It looked ludicrous that Reiss was giving a count while Fury lay unconscious on the canvas, because that’s not how fights are played out nowadays. In this era, referees immediately stop fights like that when a fighter has been knocked out.
Fury says he’s happy with his performance against Wallin
“It was a good fight. I was happy with it,” said Fury.
It’s hard to imagine Fury being on the level in being satisfied with the way he fought against Wallin. Fury basically got torn apart by Wallin in the first six rounds, and he had to resort to spoiling in the last half of the fight to prevent being stopped by the younger, stronger fighter. It was like watching Hughie Fury fight. Fury fought just like Hughie in spoiling in close to keep from getting destroyed on the outside.
Fury’s inside fighting a tactic he’ll use against Wilder
Surprisingly, Fury was getting battered when he was fighting the 6’6″ Wallin from the outside. That was a shock to a lot of Boxing fans, because they felt that the 6’9″ Fury would dominate from the outside. Fury had a 7″ inch reach advantage over Wallin, and that should have been enough for him to dominate from the outside. It didn’t work.
The inside fighting that Fury used to negate Wallin’s superior outside game will likely be used by Tyson when he faces Wilder in the rematch. There’s not a chance that Fury will want to fight Wilder at range, because it’ll enable him to get full leverage on his right hands and left hooks. Wilder put Fury to sleep with a long right hand in the 12th round last December. Fury won’t let that happen again if he can’t help it. One way that Fury can keep Wilder from getting maximum power on his shots is for him to mug him on the inside like he did with Wallin.
Wilder, 6’7″, will be a lot harder for Fury to fight in close than Wallin, because he can still punch while being fought in close. Wilder throws powerful clubbing shots when his opponents try and force him to fight on the inside. Kelvin Price attempted to fight Wilder on the inside, and he was hurt after Deontay hit him with four consecutive right hands in close. Price was staggered from the shots, and was helpless when Wilder finished him off with a right hand to the head. In looking at the sparring footage from one of Wilder’s early sparring sessions with David Haye, he was landing major shots in close against the Hayemaker.
Wallin was being mugged on the inside by Fury
Wallin’s faster hands, and ability to land long lefts and stinging rights made him a better fighter when the two had space between them. Wallin was literally murdering Fury from the outside. It wasn’t until Fury took the fight to the inside after the 6th that he finally started doing well. By that point in the fight, Fury appeared to be badly trailing. Of course, not with the scoring by the judges working the fight. They were giving Fury round after round. But in the real sense, Fury was getting worked over by Wallin, and looking old and shot.
“He did, and I wasn’t surprised that he was trying to fight on the inside,” said Wallin about Fury fighting him in close. “We were ready for that. He hit me with some good shots there and I hit him with some good shots there.”
Fury grappled with Wallin on the inside, sticking his head into his face, holding frequently, and getting away with it. The referee wasn’t stopping the action to warn Fury for the use of his head, which was frequently coming in contact with the face of Wallin. In close, Fury was able to hit Wallin with rabbit punches to the back of the head. There were no warnings about those illegal punches, and there obviously should have been. It was basically roughhouse spoiling from Fury in close, and Wallin was unable to get leverage on his shots the way he wanted to. With the primitive style of fighting Fury used against Wallin in the second half of the fight, it required different tools that the Swedish heavyweight didn’t possess.
Tyson’s eye injury could hurt his chances of success against Wilder
Top Rank may have blown their chances of victory for Fury against Wilder by delaying the rematch. The potential career-crippling cut that Fury suffered against Wallin last Saturday will likely hamper him against Wilder in the rematch, and put him at a severe disadvantage. There are some fighters that Fury can beat with one eye. Tom Schwarz would fall in that category obviously. But Deontay is not the kind of fighter that Fury can beat with just one workable eye.
Before Fury signed with Top Rank earlier this year, the plan was for him to face Wilder in an immediate rematch in May to clear up the controversy of their first fight last December. That fight ended in a 12 round draw with many Boxing fans feeling that Fury should have been given the win. Top Rank didn’t want to put Fury back in with Wilder in an immediate rematch.
After they signed Fury, they chose to match him against two tune-up opponents in Tom Schwarz and Wallin. The purpose was two-fold. To increase Fury’s popularity to make his rematch with Wilder a big money maker and to get him ready to beat him. The second goal may end up being a failure due to the severe cut that Fury suffered last Saturday against Wallin. Although the cut was repaired, the eye will likely be a problem when he faces Wilder in the rematch in 2020.