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Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and the weight of expectation

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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The weight of expectation is on the shoulders of both Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury ahead of their highly anticipated rematch this Saturday night.

WBC heavyweight champion Wilder 42-0-1 (41) will be looking to make the 11th defence of his green belt against the mercurial Fury 29-0-1 (20) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada following their controversial draw in Los Angeles in 2018.

Both combatants have stated they plan on coming in heavier for the second go-round.

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“One of the problems with the first fight is that Deontay was so excited that he wasn’t eating right. He came in unusually light,” Wilder’s trainer Jay Deas told Sky Sports.

“He was 209lbs on fight night. By the time he knocked Fury down in the last round, he would have been 200lbs, essentially a cruiserweight.”

At this week’s press conference, Deas played down the weight issue: “We don’t worry about weight regardless. We don’t even use the scale! As long as he’s eating and training hard. He is a freak of nature.

“Whatever the other guy does is not a concern from a strategy point of view. Deontay is always the lighter guy. It’s normal. He has fought guys 100lbs heavier – it has never been an issue and has been advantageous.”

Fury’s new trainer Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward has suggested Fury could come in 15 pounds heavier than his last fight against Otto Wallin.

“Fury is 6’9”, not 6’5”. He can carry that weight along with the power. He is a big, strong heavyweight and the weight won’t hurt him. He will still move like a super-middleweight,” Steward said.

“He has the ring IQ to set things up, and we have added some punching power to his arsenal. 270lbs is not a problem.”

Fury’s has made a bold prediction of a second-round knockout win, which the Wilder team have dismissed as pure bluff.

But Fury’s uncle and ex-trainer Peter Fury believe his nephew will benefit from extra weight behind his punches.

“If Wilder comes in at the same weight he did in his last fight, I think that’s a big advantage for Tyson. I think Wilder came in under weight for that fight,” Fury told Sky Sports.

“If Tyson could just keep out of trouble early, get in close, rough him up a bit. Take him out of his stride, rather than give him the leverage to put the power in.

“Take him into a bit of a dogfight and sap his energy, especially in the second half of the fight.

“He’s got to use his size, he’s got to use his weight, especially if Wilder is coming in roughly the same weight he was.

“You’re looking at [three] stone advantage there. He needs to use that and that’s where he went wrong in his last fight for me. He was doing the same thing round after round, but after the sixth round, he should have turned his advantages to that.

“Whether it’s ugly or whatever it is, I think he should just sap the energy out of Wilder.”

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