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Klitschko vs Fury: Song and dance act Fury puts fun back in heavyweight game

By Steve Bunce

In the end the bulky canvas mattress, the dubious bandages, the history of intimidation and the arrogance of Wladimir Klitschko were all exposed as irrelevancies once the bell sounded and Tyson Fury started dancing.

Fury also started talking, taunting, and he finished with a song when after 12 rounds he was crowned - an old-fashioned word and the right word - the heavyweight champion of the world on an emotional night in front of nearly 50,000 people here in Düsseldorf. Fury had too much desire for the veteran champion, who was in his 28th world title fight.

There is an argument that it should be his last, that at 39 his best days are behind him, but to put victory down to an old man fading in the unforgiving light of a prize ring is to neglect the beauty of Fury's bold dancing plan.

During the last 10 years, a dozen men have told me how easily they would beat Klitschko, bragged about their ability and mocked Klitschko's robotic style and lack of speed. However, when they each took their deluded plans inside the ropes they often fought disgracefully and crumbled in Klitschko's presence.

Big Tyson recited a familiar hymn, plotted a downfall and then delivered the promised performance with brilliance and that, during the inquests, should never be forgotten.

Klitschko had started the first round with real anger in his eyes, tried desperately to get close, plant his feet and let his pulverising right cross flow. It is the punch that has sent 53 of his 64 victims back early to the changing room.

Fury simply moved, flicked out a jab, switched stance and never once looked concerned by the menace. Fury does not scare easily and we found out for certain on Saturday night that Klitschko is a fragile beast when faced with resistance.

Klitschko did look concerned early in the fight and that is because Fury was refusing to do what so many have done in so many of his world title fights and relent. Rounds were won and lost by tiny margins, shaded by single jabs, and it is simply too easy, too dismissive to claim that Klitschko is an old man, an ancient fighter too long in the limelight.

Fury's plan won the fight and reduced Klitshcko to a man chasing shadows and trading on his exploits.

Fury deserves the praise and the three versions of the world heavyweight title he won in the vast, glowing, white ring. However, mere hours before the fight the ring had been taken apart when it was discovered that just under two inches of extra foam had been added to reduce his movement.

Klitschko knew that Fury would dance and perhaps he also knew that his fists would not be enough. The extra foam would have drained Fury, that is a fact. He would have lost had he fought on the foam and his people - a lively cabal of promoter Mick Hennessy, adviser Asif Vali, father John and uncle and trainer Peter - should be applauded for their refusal to acquiesce as so many have in the past.

An hour before the first bell there was another small but significant victory when Klitschko was asked by Vali, who was the assigned witness to the act, to remove his bandages and then reapply the metres of protection, a process that is both time-consuming and an essential part of the pre-fight ritual.

The canvas and the bandages were tiny wins, small signs that the contest was not just about Klitschko and the vast industry that he has become in Germany.

Klitschko ended the fight with a cut on his left cheek, a cut above his right eye and his head bowed during the five-minute lull before his friend Michael Buffer read the scores. Buffer seemed as defeated as he delivered the unanimous verdict and sent Fury and his corner into rapture at getting the decision.

"He had nothing, nothing to worry me," said Fury, who finished with a little swelling over his left eye and two massive blisters on his feet. "I could see the fear in his eyes and there was nothing that he could do."

It was the angles and not just the dancing that left Klitschko fumbling and it is that puzzlement, as painful as a knockout to a proud fighter, that is the one doubt about the rematch clause being initiated.

"I just want to restore pride back to the heavyweight division," added Fury yesterday. "Wlad was right up there in history and I just beat him. The division will be about honour now and entertainment - it will return to the glory days with me."

There was a swollen list of fighters desperate to fight Fury long before dawn in Düsseldorf yesterday. Klitschko, in contrast, would have had no rivals if he had retained the belts.

The rematch is a great option for Fury but I remain unconvinced that Klitschko can alter his plans to beat the man who exposed him so wonderfully in the fight.

It was a win for desire, strategy and a refusal to be bullied. Sure, Klitschko is nearly 40, looked exhausted far too early in the fight and applies hair care to conceal the grey, but he still fought with the belief that just one single shot could send Fury tumbling.

Fury, meanwhile, fought like he was on his personal stage and at the end the new champion dedicated a tune to his wife Paris, who had told him before the fight that she was pregnant with their third child. The fight was history, the ending something from a modern fairy tale and it is safe to say the fun is back in heavyweight boxing.

Belfast Telegraph


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