Tyson Fury Returns To Spice Up The Heavyweight Division

It is just a few months short of three years since Tyson Fury produced a superb performance in the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf to defeat Wladimir Klitschko and become the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO heavyweight champion of the world.

The unbeaten Mancunian had won all 25 of his fights, 18 via knockout and had yet to taste defeat in his career. It seemed like the self-styled Gypsy King would go on and be a massive name in the heavyweight division for years to come.

The problems began just 10 days after that win over Klitschko when Fury was stripped of his IBF belt as he was unable to take on their mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov, due to the fact Klitschko had a rematch clause in his contract.

The rematch was scheduled for 9th July 2016 in Manchester England, however in June that year, Fury injured an ankle in training and was forced to call off the face. On that same day, Fury and his cousin Hughie were charged by UK Anti-Doping for taking a prohibited substance.

The rematch had been re-scheduled but once again Fury pulled out, this time in September 2016 citing depression and his now open drug problems with cocaine as the issues. Fury then relinquished his other titles in October and was stripped of his British Boxing Board of Control’s license a day later.

After a yearlong struggle to regain his licence, Fury was granted his British Boxing Board of Control’s licence on the 13th December 2017, allowing him to begin preparations for his 26th professional fight in June, after a gap of two and a half years from the ring.

His opponent was announced as Sefer Seferi, an Albanian boxer who made a name for himself as a cruiserweight and who has only previously fought once at heavyweight, losing to Manuel Charr in 2016. The fight would take place at the Manchester Arena on June 9.

Fury’s preparation for his return fight

After earning back his licence, Fury knew that he was massively out of shape and needed to shift around seven stone in weight, as well as get back into fighting shape for a ten-round fight. To help himself get inti shape, Fury enlisted the help of trainer Ben Davison, who herded Fury to a training camp in Marbella and oversaw a strict diet and exercise regime.

The net result is that months later, Fury has shed his excess weight and now looks like a genuine heavyweight contender once again.

The pressure now on Fury is to prove that he is once again back to his best and is boxing at an elite level to break into a heavyweight division which is hotting up nicely at the moment.

The Heavyweight Division

At present the Heavyweight Division in boxing is dominated by two names. Anthony Joshua is the current holder of the WBA, IBF and WBO titles and has an undefeated 21 fight record. Deontay Wilder holds the WBC version of the title and he too boasts an unbeaten record in 40 fights.

Talks are progressing between Joshua and Wilder for a unification bout, although there are sticking points regarding where the bout will take place and the cut of the purse for the two boxers. Eddie Hearn is hoping to announce a date for the fight, although he has admitted that Joshua may step up to defend his belts against a different opponent unless negotiations conclude soon.

However, the Heavyweight division is now one of the most competitive in boxing as outside of the two World Title holders, there are a number of other top class opponents including Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Luis Ortiz, Dillian Whyte, Kubrat Pulev, Jarrell Miller, Dominic Breazeale and Bryant Jennings.

It is likely that one Fury has got his return fight out of the way, he is likely to face at least one, if not two of the names on this list, and achieve victories in all of those fights before he has a chance to reclaim the World titles that he relinquished a few years ago.

Fury’s Opponent – Sefer Seferi

Seferi was a decent cruiserweight who achieved a 21-0 record in his career, though largely against lower quality opponents. He then moved up to heavyweight for his 22nd bout, but was defeated by Manuel Charr. Since then he has fought two lower level opponents to gain two wins to boost his stats, but taking on Fury is a massive step up in quality.

However, Seferi has been mocked by boxing fans and experts after his public training session ahead of the Fury fight seemed to show him slow, ponderous and lethargic in the ring, prompting many to speculate that Fury will finish the fight early.

Aged 39, many fans feel that Seferi took this fight solely for the payday with no expectation to win, while Fury agreed the fight knowing he would likely be facing an undersized, inexperienced heavyweight to allow him to work off ring rust and hopefully showcase the talents that took him to four world titles back in 2015.

How will the Fury v Seferi fight go?

In truth it is difficult to say as it all depends on the shape that Fury is in for this fight. If he has worked as much on his abilities boxing, as he has shifting the excess weight in the build up to this fight, then it may well be a very short night of work for Fury as he is clearly several levels above his opponent.

Seferi though is durable, but he is considerably shorter than Fury and will be giving away plenty of weight, as well as reach advantage. He lasted the distance against Charr, but was never going to win the fight and he will be happy if he can get to the fourth or fifth round before Fury puts him away.

For me, there’s no doubt that Fury will win this fight if he is anywhere near fit. The Gypsy King won’t even need to be anywhere near his best to win, but that is precisely the point because boxing fans know that he won’t be. What matters is recording the win and that is precisely what he will do on Saturday.

However, at odds of 1/250 on Fury to win, I don’t think I’ll be taking too big a punt on this one.

A better option may be to back Fury to win in a predicted round and I think the odds of 6/1 with Coral on Fury to win in Round 4 look a solid bet.