by Vito Basile
Now that my keys to victory are out of the way for Tyson Fury, I want to focus on the champ, Deontay Wilder, and his keys to victory. In the first fight, Wilder looked so composed for a guy who’s never really fought in such a high-profile fight like the one against Fury. Sure, I get the point that for Wilder, every fight is huge, especially as the Main Event on the card, but none of the fighters that Wilder has fought hold water to the caliber of fighter Fury is. In their first bout, Wilder had a game plan, he followed it closely, and it played very well for him to the point that he was able to remain undefeated and retain his title due to the split decision.
Almost certainly, though, fans felt like they were ripped off because of the draw, especially the Fury fans. At the end of the fight, I got the sense that Wilder felt like he didn’t do enough to really win convincingly, but instead “stole” the victory away from Fury. It was evident when Bruce Buffer announced the fight was a split decision; Wilder smiled and knew that he caught a break (although I scored it 115-111 in favor of Fury) and his undefeated recorded still was intact. I think if Wilder wants to win convincingly and leave zero doubt in the minds of boxing fans that he won the first fight, there are five keys to a victory for him on Saturday:
Use the jab: As I mentioned in regard to Fury using the jab to set up his other punches, I’m saying the same for Wilder. Wilder is very dangerous when he can use his jab to set up that big powerful right hand. The jab should be his best friend on Saturday. He needs to throw it for what it’s intended: a set up punch.
Change levels: In the first fight, Wilder came out throwing jabs and other punches to the body. I thought that was a great game plan, and it could be very useful in this fight. He should show Fury different eye levels, meaning go high then low, and throw that right hand to the head and body. He needs to work Fury’s body, and neutralize the speed and movement that makes him so effective. If he can make Fury drop his hands, Wilder can drop his powerful right hand and put him down if the moment comes.
Be more aggressive and pick your shots: In the first half of the first bout, Wilder was aggressive, which is why I thought he won (besides the 9th and 12th knockdowns). He should stay on Fury, keep him honest, and follow up a combo with another combo. He needs to be aggressive, but not get too aggressive, because that’s when he starts to get sloppy. Wilder surprised me by not getting too aggressive and trying to finish the fight quickly. He picked his shots in the first half of the last fight, and it help him steal rounds from a good technical fighter.
More head and body movement: In the first match-up, Wilder stayed flat-footed a majority of the time, and I’m sure the first thing he was taught was to never stay flat-footed because a still target is an easier target than a moving one. Wilder needs to move around more, use more head movement, keep Fury from landing clean shots, and force him to make a mistake on which he can capitalize. This is usually difficult for power punchers like Wilder because they stay flat-footed to put force into their knockout punch. This is beneficial to Wilder if he just moves a little more and causes Fury to make mistakes, and it would really give Wilder an advantage. Guys like Fury love to counter punch, and there’s no better way to beat a counter puncher than with a counter punch.
Leave some in the tank for the later rounds: This can probably tie in to picking your shots, and I’m kind of contradicting myself a little because being aggressive and being more active does use energy. However, if it’s done correctly, you can be effective while also maintaining energy for the late rounds. Fury got stronger as the fight went on, and he’s a well-conditioned big man. The good news is that Wilder has already gone the distance with him once, so we know he can do it. It’s all about conservation of energy and knowing when to use energy and when not to.
Wilder already has the recipe to defeat Fury, but now he needs to clean up some areas of his game plan and put it into action. Wilder is very dangerous due to his ability to finish the fight with one punch. Fury lacks that ability, and we saw Wilder nearly put Fury away in the beginning of the 12th round. Wilder is a wild man (pun intended), and Fury, no matter his game plan, always has to account for the right hand that could finish the fight at any moment.