This weekend will see one of the biggest heavyweight clashes in a couple of years as Deontay Wilder defends his WBC belt against the ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury. This is an anticipated fight for many reasons which I’ll explain some below. We also have a decent undercard taking place with the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Luis Ortiz and Joe Joyce fighting. Away from LA, there will also be a big match-up in the light heavyweight division as Adonis Stevenson also defends his WBC belt against Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
Wilder vs Fury
To start off, this is without a doubt the biggest heavyweight match up in 2018 and who would have thought that Anthony Joshua would not be part of it. Wilder is coming off a very close and entertaining fight with Luis Ortiz who he defeated by TKO victory and will be looking to put another big name on his resume. In my opinion he has had very easy ride so far in the heavyweight division and as a world champion. He has not come up against that many top heavyweight contenders compared to others, but he can certainly make a statement this weekend and prove the doubters wrong by winning this weekend.
With Wilder’s non traditional style, it makes him very hard to predict at times. Especially when he throws his whole body into some of his punches, and at times making him look absolutely ridiculous when he misses. So far that risk has given him that reward however and why would he change this approach when he’s achieved an incredible record to date (40W 39 KO). The Bronze Bomber is actually a character I like as he strives to cement his legacy. He has said some stupid things in the past, but it’s all part of the show of being heavyweight world champion and I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be excited to watch him with his KO record. It will be interesting to see how he handles Fury in there this weekend and I think he will struggle to get hold and hit Fury cleanly throughout. That frustration could help him however if he throws one of his unconventional right hands that catches so many off guard.
For Fury, it’s different challenge for him, he’s just come back this year from a two year lay off from sport. In that time, he put on a staggering amount of weight, was drinking and taking drugs excessively and suffered deep depression. To come back to where he is today is truly incredible and inspiring, he might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he has shown that any person who has been in a very dark place can bounce back to the top. (check out his come back doc at the end of this article).
After beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 becoming the new lineal and undisputed champion, there was no way I thought his career would spiral down this route. Looking at the bigger picture, this is potentially the best thing that could have ever happened to Tyson Fury if he wins in L.A. We all know he has the talent to become world champion again this weekend, and even if he falls short – the vast majority will respect him for taking that chance, even if it doesn’t quite work out.
In terms of my prediction, I feel Tyson Fury just edges a win by a close points decision. I think he has a better boxing ability and has more in the bag than Wilder. He will just need to watch out for that right hand all night or he could be another victim on Wilder’s long list.
A half decent undercard taking place in terms of some ‘names’ fighting. Probably the most competitive fight taking place is Hurd vs Welborn. Hurd is a huge light middleweight for anyone in the division and almost looks like a light-heavyweight come fight night! For Welborn, it will be a huge opportunity this weekend and his aggressive come forward style will try challenge Hurd in the opening rounds. Interestingly enough in the recent Showtime boxing behind the scene show with Hurd, you get to learn a bit about his fight camp. At one point it shows Hurd working on his defensive skill set against a come forward fighter in sparring as his trainer and himself wants to improve that part of his game. It will be interesting to see how he comes out in this fight and if he will allow Welborn to close him down in the early rounds. (Check out the short documentary here) Two other heavyweights are also fighting on the undercard in Luis Ortiz and Joe Joyce who unfortunately won’t be fighting each other on the night, but could see both fighters come up against each other in 2019 if both are victorious. Check out the full undercard below:
- Jarrett Hurd vs Jason Welborn – IBF, WBA and IBO super welterweight titles
- Mark Anthony Barriga vs Carlos Licona – IBF minimumweight title
- Luis Ortiz vs Travis Kauffman – heavyweight
- Joe Joyce vs Joe Hanks – heavyweight
- Chris Arreola vs Maurenzo Smith – heavyweight
- Jesse Rodriguez vs Axel Vega – super bantamweight
- Marsellos Wilder vs David Damore – cruiserweight
- Robert Guerrero vs Adam Mate – welterweight
- Julian Williams vs Francisco Javier Castro – middleweight
- Pending approval: Anthony Yarde vs Isreal Duffus – light heavyweight
- Isaac Low vs Lucas Baez – super bantamweight
- Eduardo Flores vs Alfredo Angulo – super middleweight
Stevenson vs Gvozdyk
On the same night in Canada, Stevenson and Gvozdyk will also go head-to-head. This fight has been played down quite a bit and mainly because of the big men fighting on the same the night. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see outcome of this fight. For Stevenson, he is now 41 years old and is surly coming to the end of his reign/career as a light heavyweight champion. The Canadian/Haitian fighter scraped a draw against Badou Jack in his last bout and although he did very well at certain points throughout that fight, you could tell he was an aging fighter in there who looked sluggish at times.
Gvozdyk on the other hand has an incredible opportunity this weekend and could definitely take advantage over the aging champion in the later rounds. With a great amateur pedigree including a bronze medal at the London Olympics, he is a very well-trained fighter who I could see take advantage though sheer work rate and pressure. However, with only one notable win over Issac Chilemba a couple of years ago, the question will be asked if he can make that step up against one of the top fighters in the division. Right now I’m personally leaning more towards Stevenson despite his age, but he’s going to have to work even harder than the Jack fight if he wants to get the victory.
That’s it for this weeks fight preview, I’ll leave you with ‘Tyson Fury Road to Redemption’ documentary below. No matter what you think of the man, you have to respect him for how he has come back. Let just see if he can do it now.