The monumental heavyweight trilogy between former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and Tyson Fury had plenty of controversial moments. Each fight was riveting, albeit for different reasons altogether.
With Fury’s recent abysmal performance against a literal 0-0 novice, it’s worth remembering that Tyson Fury faced the biggest puncher in the history of boxing 3 times. He took damage in those fights, but no one knew until now just how badly Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder hurt Tyson Fury in their trilogy. To understand the damage that Tyson Fury truly suffered against the hardest puncher in the history of the sport of boxing, let’s take a quick look at the Wilder trilogy.
Wilder vs. Fury I
In the first fight, Fury boxed well but seemed wholly incapable of hurting Wilder. He landed with his jab from the outside and showed some of his signature tricky head movement. He danced around for as long as he could until Wilder locked on and unleashed his signature knockout blow. Fury was out. Unconscious. Concussed. Flat on his back.
But Jack Reis slowly began to count.
Some noticed that Reis was counting pretty slowly. Due to the ambiguity of the WBC rules around knockdowns in title bouts, Reis technically did nothing wrong. The expectation of audiences is that a “10 count” is the same as ten seconds. It rarely is in practice.
With a little help, Tyson Fury slowly got back to his feet. Eventually, after regaining his senses for a time, Fury continued the fight against Wilder. He did so well after getting up from the knockdown that he earned a draw on the scorecards.
Wilder vs. Fury II
The rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury was even more bizarre than the first meeting between the two heavyweights. Now there was this massive difference in size between the two competitors. Fury had ballooned up to almost 300 lbs for the rematch, and used his added weight to great effect against the much smaller Wilder.
Strangely, Tyson Fury’s gloves had some interesting and much remarked characteristics, especially compared to his previous fight with Wilder. While there’s still widespread speculation as to what actually happened in the Fury locker room prior to the second fight, somehow there’s never been any proof discovered by the WBC of any wrong-doing on the part of Team Fury. Fury has often had wardrobe malfunctions in the ring before, sometimes causing fights to be delayed by the officials. This time, it looked like the same might have been happening; but the officials seemed either not to notice, or not to factor the potential effect of malfunctioning equipment on the fight.
Regardless of the dubious narratives surrounding his gloves, it was Tyson Fury whose hand was raised. But it wasn’t because Wilder was knocked out, outpointed or that he quit. Despite his specific instructions not to do so, Wilder’s cornerman, Mark Breland, threw in the towel. Wilder was livid; so livid, in fact, that he fired Breland immediately.
Fury vs. Wilder III
The third fight was the most anticipated of the three meetings between these two great heavyweights. To boxing fans, Fury’s political connections almost allowed him to leapfrog a decorated, beloved champion in Deontay Wilder. He got the long count in the first fight, and had the weird gloves and weight advantage in the second. In the third fight, it was Deontay that came in looking much differently than before.
He’d put on a massive amount of weight. With that size came weight and strength. Fury was unable to use some of his usual rough house tactics on this bigger version of Deontay. Wilder’s power was definitely on display, as he threw Fury around the ring with body shots. As in previous fights, Wilder dropped Tyson Fury multiple times.
Wilder went for the knockout early, throwing with everything at Fury in the 7th. Fury’s evasiveness served him here, keeping him just out of range of Wilder’s haymakers. It looked like Wilder had slowed down a little, likely as a result of all this added weight he carried with him to the ring.
Fury struggled throughout the third fight at times, but he was eventually able to use his size advantage to wear down The Bronze Bomber. Once exhausted, Wilder was eventually unable to defend himself, and was knocked out definitively by Fury.
By the final bell, if they didn’t know, we all did; the lives of these two men would be forever changed.
How Deontay Wilder Took Tyson Fury’s Soul
There are widespread suspicions that Fury’s abilities were diminished after the Wilder trilogy. Without opponents, it’s been extremely difficult to pinpoint what aspects of his game were effected. After the trilogy, Fury went on to fight an overmatched, washed up journeyman in Derek Chisora. Twice.
Boxing fans were flabbergasted; why hadn’t Tyson Fury chosen a real challenger? There were plenty of heavyweights who would’ve loved a shot at the WBC title. Even other champions have been chomping at the bit to get a shot at Tyson Fury. Oleksander Usyk challenged Fury for an undisputed heavyweight showdown years ago, but Fury teased retirement.
While it may have been assumed to be cowardice by most ignorant onlookers, it’s now becoming obvious that the Fury cash cow is on its last legs. He’d taken damage from Wilder that will prevent him from performing at his prior potential ever again. Tyson Fury of today isn’t the Tyson Fury that went life and death with The Bronze Bomber.
So even though it did, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that instead of taking part in the fight that would’ve proven who the best in the world is, Tyson Fury decided to take an easier route.
Or so he thought.
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou
Whoever’s making the marketing decisions for Tyson Fury decided it would be a great idea to nullify his main advantage in a crossover, freakshow matchup against the UFC heavyweight phenom, Francis Ngannou. It didn’t end well for Tyson Fury.
It’s always been obvious when you look at Tyson Fury what his advantage is over every other heavyweight; his enormous size. Tyson Fury is like a gigantic, hairless Baby Huey with an unconventional style. He’s not so much explosively powerful, like a Wilder, as he is extremely hard to predict. This odd, jerky style of constant feinting has been compared to meth twitching and coke addict mannerisms among those familiar with users.
But it works for him, and he’s still using it. Coupled with his enormous size and the inevitable weight advantage he has over his professional boxer opponents, Tyson Fury’s odd ring mannerisms and dirty tactics help create a style that few can disrupt.
Francis Ngannou disrupted that style.
It wasn’t necessarily due to the boxing skill of Ngannou, although his extensive training camp with the great Iron Mike Tyson must never be discounted. He was prepared about as well as a 0-0 novice in the sport going against the supposed “Greatest Heavyweight Champion Of All Time” could be. But without ring experience, a solid professional career behind him, and the ability to interpret and use the rules the way a more experienced boxer would, it would be almost impossible for a novice to defeat Tyson Fury.
But if that’s the case, how did Francis Ngannou nullify the champion’s inside game, eat his heaviest shots, absorb a clean elbow to the face, and still knock down Tyson Fury? The answer is simple.
Francis Ngannou is a gigantic human being. He’s incredibly strong and carries a lot of weight. Fury’s big too; in fact, even bigger. But the difference between them is that Tyson Fury is weak for his size. Francis Ngannou is very strong for his size. So although Ngannou is still a little smaller than Tyson Fury, he’s much stronger per cubed inch of mass. We could go into the math of determining how much weaker Tyson Fury probably is than the average person would be at his size, but we’ll keep it simple and rely on the evidence: Francis Ngannou is stronger than Tyson Fury.
Ngannou used that strength to weather the storm of Fury’s initial KO attempt at the beginning of the fight. From that point, once Fury realized that he couldn’t hurt Francis Ngannou, he reverted back to the old Tyson Fury; jabbing, moving…running. Whenever he tried to engage, Ngannou just caught whatever was coming at him and walked through it.
In one of many desperate moments in the fight, Fury unleashed a completely unconcealed elbow, which landed flush to Ngannou’s face – to no effect. In the fight, anyway; Ngannou didn’t even blink when the elbow hit him, and continued stepping to Fury. After the fight, when everyone got to see and scrutinize Fury’s dirty tactics, that elbow cost Fury.
It meant that the so-called “greatest heavyweight boxer” couldn’t use the skill and craft that he supposedly honed to reach the pinnacle of the sport to defeat a novice challenger. It meant that Fury won’t fight any other legitimate heavyweight challengers because he knows he can’t compete.
It meant that Deontay Wilder had taken Tyson Fury’s soul.