On 1 December last year fight fans enjoyed a heavyweight clash that saw the sport’s top division finally win back the hearts and minds of followers.
Years of Klitschko bros’ dominance have ended and that has left things wide-open as we search for a new ruler.
At present, Britain’s Anthony Joshua and American Deontay Wilder share the major titles between themselves and we’re hoping for a unification bout before too long, but that must happen after Wilder and another Brit in Tyson Fury settle an old score.
The pair fought out a gripping split decision draw in Los Angeles late last year, the closest Wilder has come to losing his prize possession, the WBC title. Few gave Fury a chance of upsetting the odds on American soil but he came painfully close before being undone on the scorecards.
Enjoying a sizeable lead, Fury ended with a share after being knocked down in both the ninth and 12th rounds – we’re still not sure how he managed to get up and beat the count in the latter – and that allowed the champion back into the contest, retaining his strap by the narrowest of margins.
Fury hard done by
There were more than a few on both sides of the Atlantic who thought Tyson was hard done by, thinking he did enough to nick the decision. Such was the quality of that bout the boxing public called for an urgent rematch, but a breakdown in negotiations between both parties means that’s not likely to happen any time soon.
Both men blame the other for placing hurdles in the way, Wilder accused of ducking the rematch after almost losing, Fury said to be keen on a warm-up fight to increase his chances when both face-off again.
Whoever you believe – or perhaps you’re stuck somewhere in the middle – it helps build the excitement and fans will be hopeful they get the rematch in the second-half of this year. Before then, Fury must come through an uninspiring fight with little-known German Tom Schwarz while The Bronze Bomber steps down a level to defend against Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn on 18 May, a man who was KO’d in seven rounds by Joshua three years ago.
Bookies have their say
If both come through those fights with wins, and the contracts can be agreed, we should see Wilder – Fury II at a major venue next, but who will win the rematch? Bookmakers have had their say, making a flood of exciting markets available to punters (fight winner, method of victory, total rounds and more) and offering a variety of promotions for specific fights – and you can trawl through the best of them at bookmaker review and comparison sites, such as https://www.topbettingapps.co.uk/ now.
At the time of writing we have Deontay Wilder as second favourite to prove a point and win the rematch, offered at best price by Ladbrokes who are generous enough to serve up a cracking 5/4 on a win for Team America. Another draw has been chalked up on the betting board at a jaw-dropping 30/1 with some firms. Worth a handful of loose change? Plenty of casual backers will think so.
Will Britain end the contest with all major belts shared out between two fighters in Joshua and Fury? The first fight makes that a real possibility and there will be no shortage of interest on Tyson doing what he does best and silencing his critics. The Englishman going one better to get things right at the second time of asking is 4/6 favourite with William Hill.
Get more of a price
If you’re after more of a price you can dip your toe into the specials and have a bet on the method of victory. There’s more work involved here as, to land a winner, you will need to correctly predict who will come out on top and how he’ll do it – on points or by knockout. Wilder carries an earth-shattering 95% KO average and is 2/1 at Paddy Power to deal with Fury inside the distance.
Tyson is the only man Deontay hasn’t knocked out as a professional fighter, however, and that’ll push some towards the value about a points cheer for the Gypsy King, offered at 6/4 (Betfair). Fury was down twice in the original and there’s a bet available that allows you to back him to be dumped onto the seat of his pants again. That will be paid out as a winner regardless of which fighter has their hand raised at the end, as long as Fury touches down at least once.
There’s more of a price on him getting revenge and sending Wilder crashing to the canvas. Whatever your bet, stakes will be returned if the bout doesn’t happen before the end of 2019, but we’re hoping it doesn’t come to that as we, like the rest of the sporting world, want to see these two gladiators back in the squared-circle again.