It might well have been just another training day for The Gypsy King, Tyson Fury, in the 9th round. The six-foot nine undefeated world champion burst into live with one-two and one-two-three combinations, right and left hooks, knocking Otto Wallin around as if The Viking King was not equally unbeaten in his own right.
On paper, the fight was perfunctory. Fury was expected to just go in the ring and blitz it–possibly.
And he was pissed off it hand’t played out so perfectly.
Fury bullied Wallin into the 10th round, making good use of his long reach; covering the floor spaces between them very swiftly. He gave Wallin no room for respite, and even less for any manoeuvres or counter punches. On any good training day, Wallin was no more than a punching bag with weak legs, useful only to amble clumsily around the small floor area in the ring. This was the terror brought on Wallin in the 9th, 10th and 11th rounds. Fury was like a wounded animal.
To be precise, he was a wounded animal. Wallin had opened a gash just above his right eye in the 4th round. A left round house swing had connected perfectly. It was a clean shot. It made a deep cut. And the moment was an embarrassing aberration for Fury who is renowned for his masterful bobs when fighting up and close.
But Wallin bobbed nicely too. In fact it was he who repeatedly took the fight to The Gypsy King, parrying the jabs, going under the swings, and moving in to connect with Fury’s head. And he did this relentlessly. In the final round, surviving the torrents of assault Fury administered him in the last three rounds, he came back sprightly. He looked reborn; resolved to go out swinging, literally. And so he did.
It was The Viking King who would finish on a high.
But Tyson Fury won on points.
He paid his due respect to Otto Wallin, as he should after a fight like that. And then went on to call out Wilder.
The world knew Deontay Wilder would be watching. But, especially, Fury knew that too.
Both men ended their first bout in a tie – which also marked the first time they had both failed to win outrightly. An encounter where Wilder put Fury down on his back. Many believe Wilder would have finished him off if he was presented with the same circumstance as Wallin. Many, in fact, now surmise Wilder would finish him off without that circumstance.
In the beginning, the Fury-Wallin fight was very reminiscent of his clash with Klitschko. Except he seemed a better fighter against Klitschco. Against Wallin he was clearly off the paces–or so it appeared, and got himself gifted a massive gash that required 50 stitches to fix.
Andy Ruiz Jr. who had previously exchanged words with Tyson Fury tweeted after the war of a bout, After that performance there’s no way he beats me with a hand tied behind his back.
If Andy Ruiz Jr. thinks less of Fury after that gruelling match, one can only imagine how pumped Wilder is right now. Wilder is faster; and punches the hardest in the heavy weight division; and is arguably the most relentless boxer at the moment.
Wilder reacted to the grueling fight, saying ‘He [Fury] is not the same fighter at all. Otto Wallin, you know, he put up a good fight, I was most impressed with Otto Wallin when he cut Fury open and he was trying to execute on him.’
When Fury called Deontay Wilder out at the end of the fight, it was clear he was hiding the fact he had lost some steel.
Andy Ruiz Jr. saw this.
And, evidently, Wilder did too.