In Review

Klitschko vs Fury: who are the fighters and who will win?

The eccentric Briton appears confident ahead of his showdown with the Ukrainian great, but the bookies are not so sure

British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury takes on world champion Wladimir Klitschko this weekend in one of the division's most eagerly awaited bouts for years.

It has been billed as a contest between the chaotic Englishman with a penchant for dressing up as batman during press conferences and the unflappable Ukrainian whom many regard as too boring to be considered a great.

The fight had been due to take place in October but was postponed after Klitschko suffered a calf injury. And, provided a last-minute impasse over gloves is settled, the pair will face off at around 10 pm on Saturday night in Dusseldorf.

Who are the two boxers?

Wladimir Klitschko:

Klitshcko is seen by many as the man who "killed heavyweight boxing", says Ben Dirs of the BBC. After years of American domination, the Ukrainian, and his brother Vitaly, did not fit the mould. "He wasn't 'right' for plenty of reasons," says Dirs. "Wrong colour. Wrong nation. Too urbane. Too intelligent. Too clean. Too boring... [He] speaks four languages, has a PhD, plays chess and prefers order to chaos."

He is the world champion "dreamt up by Hugo Boss", says Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph. "He is the risk-averse, highly competent, intelligent and unexciting king of a division captured by Eastern European fighters after Lennox Lewis retired and America’s production line of gloved behemoths broke down."

It is true that the rise of Klitschkos early in the century coincided with the departure of boxers like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lewis from the scene. But Wladimir has held a world title for almost ten years and has won 64 of his 67 fights, 53 by knockout.

"Wladimir claims not to care whether people think he is boring or not. But based on his feats in the ring, the accusation is curious anyway. For 'boring', read 'too good', just like so many other great champions," says Dirs.

Tyson Fury:

At the other end of the scale is Fury, the so-called 'Gypsy King' with traveller roots and a family history of bare-knuckle fighting, who is unbeaten but is taking a big step up with his first world title fight.

Fury is a man who "thinks dressing as Batman, headbutting melons and comparing gay people to paedophiles makes him 'the most colourful and charismatic heavyweight since Muhammad Ali'," says Dirs. "While you won't find many who agree with him, there are those who think Fury is a breath of fresh air for the division."

Fury "has the distinction of bearing a forename and a surname that both speak of violence," notes Hayward of the Telegraph. But many simply see him as "the latest cipher of chaos and decline in a stratum of the industry that has yielded some of the greatest moments in post-war sport".

But the Manuncian appears unconcerned. "If elite sport really is mostly played in the mind, then you could almost crown Fury the world heavyweight champion already," says Sean Ingle of The Guardian. In the build up there has been no doubt about Fury's plan. "He wanted to goad and get under the skin of the WBA, IBF and IBO champion. To play with his mind before his fists mess with his features."

Whether or not he has succeeded remains to be seen, Klitschko appears to have been enjoying the show but also dismissed him as a "bipolar pyschopath".

And while some believe Fury "is a man out of his depth, he shows no signs of realising it", says Ron Lewis of The Times.

Who will win?

Fury is available at the generous odds of 4-1,  which suggests the bookies hold out little hope for the 27-year-old, despite a height and reach advantage and the fact he is 12 years younger than his opponent.

Fury's efforts to unsettle Klitschko do not appear to have worked either.

Klitschko has seen off Britons David Haye and Dereck Chisora in his career "and now Fury extends the British heavyweight cabaret by employing eccentricity against a champion who shows absolutely no sign of being unsettled by burlesque", says Hayward in the Telegraph.

And there was what may have been a telling moment at the pre-fight press conference, notes Ingle of The Guardian. "While Klitchsko held his counsel, his management team played a video that showed a succession of his opponents, including David Haye, promising to knock out the giant Ukrainian. And then, in the next frame, a Klitschko left-right combination chopped through their bravado.

"The message was clear: Fury's antics were not new. As the video played, it was noticeable that Fury turned his head away and looked to the floor." 

Recommended

The ‘greatest’ women’s fight in history 
Katie Taylor trades punches with Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden
Why we’re talking about . . .

The ‘greatest’ women’s fight in history 

Will Tyson Fury retire or become undisputed ‘Lord of the Ring’?
Tyson Fury retained his heavyweight titles with victory over Dillian Whyte at Wembley
Why we’re talking about . . .

Will Tyson Fury retire or become undisputed ‘Lord of the Ring’?

Daniel Kinahan: who is the Irish ‘mob boss’?
The US is offering a $5m bounty for information on the Kinahan Organised Crime Group
Profile

Daniel Kinahan: who is the Irish ‘mob boss’?

Fury vs. Whyte: predictions and fight guide
Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte face off at Wembley
In Focus

Fury vs. Whyte: predictions and fight guide

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

What happened to Logan Mwangi?
Tributes left to Logan Mwangi
Today’s big question

What happened to Logan Mwangi?

The Week Footer Banner