Tyson Fury's comeback will be one for the ages if he beats Deontay Wilder in the US this November
It will rank as one of the greatest heavyweight comebacks of all time if Tyson Fury dethrones Deontay Wilder to claim the World Boxing Council title in the US this year, a heavyweight heist for the ages.
A media tour is expected early next month to confirm the details of the event, which The Daily Telegraph understands will be on Nov 17 in Las Vegas or New York.
Twelve months ago, the 6ft 9in former world No 1 from Lancashire weighed 27 stone and, in the midst of a deep depression, his licence removed and his three belts lost, he had even contemplated ending his own life.
Fast-forward to Saturday night, and Fury completed the second stage of his rehabilitation after 30 months in the wilderness, with a more than satisfactory 10-round boxing display against former two-time world title challenger Francesco Pianeta.
In front of a raucous 25,000-sellout crowd at Windsor Park, Fury shook off any ring rust and showed genuine focus for the task against, admittedly, a limited opponent.
Apart from the ambition of looking for a statement knockout finish in the last two rounds, Fury made the kind of shapes with his jab, combinations and physique that raise hopes of him returning to his former glory.
Wilder, ringside in Northern Ireland, will hardly be quaking in his size 16 boots at the prospect, yet Fury can now travel to the US and into a camp there in October, he revealed, aiming to get fitter and sharper for the showdown.
By dint of his inactivity, Fury must rank as the underdog against the American, who has notched 39 knockouts in his 40-fight unbeaten career. Yet Fury was a huge outsider when he slipped the World Boxing Association/International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation belts from around the waist of imperious heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. Few gave the ‘Gypsy King’ a chance then, but he outboxed the Ukrainian.
„You can’t treat Fury with kid gloves, he’s 30 years old, and he believes he can do this,” promoter Frank Warren told The Daily Telegraph yesterday in defence of the decision to pitch Fury into the fray after just two comeback contests.
„We believe in him, too. Yes, Wilder is dangerous, but Tyson has the confidence in his boxing brain to do the job. Win it, and he will have completed a remarkable comeback. And if he does it, he can then go after the other belts.
„But forget Anthony Joshua for now. Fury against Wilder will be for the No 1 spot in the division.”
The two heavyweights will alight on the studios of BT Sport today to be recorded for a series of promotional films for the fight – which will include the pair going face to face – and expect fireworks. Both are motormouths and have personalities to match their large frames.
Fury said: „I know it’s the belt I didn’t win, but the belts are largely unimportant. It’s the fighters who matter, and we know that me against Wilder will create the real No 1 in the division. From where I was at rock bottom to where I am now, this is a victory in itself. But I want to prove that I am the best boxer out there, the best in the era, and I genuinely believe I am the best heavyweight boxer that has ever lived. I’m not in this for the money, I don’t need the money. I would fight for nothing. That’s what it means to me.
„Boxing again has brought me back to full health mentally, and it means so much now that people are approaching me for help with their issues. This is something that will always stay with me. It means so much.”
That said, both fighters are expected to earn upwards of £10 million each from the world title fight, which will be on pay-per-view on BT Sport, and televised in the US by Showtime.
Shock the world again, and Fury will set up a fight of the century at Wembley Stadium against triple world title-holder Joshua, if his rival defeats Alexander Povetkin there on September 22.
The heavyweight division, so often complicated by politics and promoters, is finally close to the boil.