Fury v Chisora III: A trilogy bout few wanted highlights messy scene in heavyweight division

By Sports Desk December 02, 2022

Tyson Fury returns to the ring on Saturday to face-off against old rival Derek Chisora in a bout where the talk strangely orientates around who is not there rather than the Gypsy King's actual opponent.

Having seen off Dillian Whyte in April, Fury set his sights on a 'Battle of Britain' clash against Anthony Joshua or a unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk, though was unable to secure an agreement with either.

Negotiations with Joshua fell flat and Usyk made it clear that he would not fight until 2023, leaving Fury in limbo and in a situation that reflects the messy scene at the top of the heavyweight division beneath the Ukrainian and the Gypsy King.

For all the clamour for a fight between Fury and Joshua, the latter struggled in consecutive losses to Usyk, with a previous defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 resulting in three losses in the past five bouts for AJ.

Deontay Wilder lost twice in succession to Fury, while Ruiz Jr has fallen since losing his rematch to Joshua, ultimately leaving Fury treading water and forced to wait for other up-and-coming heavyweights to boost their credentials.

Of those, Joe Joyce stands as the most likely to jump to the front of the queue to face Fury but the fight against Chisora presents a massive risk, not just to Fury himself but to the heavyweight division.

A loss, though unlikely, would leave the WBC heavyweight belt tied up for a rematch and fourth bout between Fury and Chisora, potentially pushing back a unification clash with Usyk or a fiercely anticipated meeting with Joshua even further.

Chisora is the big winner in these circumstances, as in reality a fighter with 12 career defeats, including three in a row before victory over Kubrat Pulev in July, would never usually be in contention for a belt of this magnitude.

While Chisora has shown his ability to take significant hits and damage, somehow going the distance in a loss to Joseph Parker in Manchester a year ago despite being knocked down on three occasions, few would give him much of a chance against Fury.

In the heavyweight division, however, it only takes one hit to end a contest and a knockout surely stands as Chisora's only route to victory – though his last came against Artur Szpilka in 2019.

In comparison, Fury has not had a fight go the distance since a unanimous decision triumph against Otto Wallin two years ago and will fancy his chances of another quick win.

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    Jake Paul "definitely still doubts" whether his planned bout with Tommy Fury next month will go ahead.

    It was announced last week that YouTube sensation Paul and reality television personality Fury will meet in Saudi Arabia on February 26.

    They came face-to-face on Saturday during the uncared for the Anthony Yarde versus Artur Beterbiev bout, with security having to step in.

    However, after previous fights between the pair scheduled for December 2021 and August last year were called off, Paul is wary of his opponent withdrawing once again.

    "A part of me definitely still doubts," Paul is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

    "It's scary and it's annoying, and the kid's not necessarily reliable but the money's good, for him, so he would be just so dumb [not to go ahead with the fight]."

    Paul confirmed MMA fighter Mike Perry, who left UFC two years ago, has been placed on standby to fill in should Fury pull out.

    The 26-year-old's move to boxing from the social media world has drawn plenty of criticism, but Fury would be the first professional boxer he has faced in a six-fight career to date.

    "I'm validated. I've done everything I needed to do in this sport for me personally," Paul said. 

    "I've proved everything to myself but it will be nice to take on a professional boxer, one with a big name, a tonne of credibility.

    "He's been fighting since he was 10, 11 years old and I've only been doing this for three years.

    "It's another stepping stone because I want to become world champion. I want to and I will. I'm capable of it and no one's believed in me.

    "When I said that four fights ago people laughed, they don't want to believe that's possible because of my background.

    "But I believe anything is possible if you set your mind to it and dedicate your whole entire life and have a little bit of natural talent, which I happen to have."

  • Fury 'in limbo' as he awaits Usyk fight announcement Fury 'in limbo' as he awaits Usyk fight announcement

    Tyson Fury is eagerly awaiting his return to the ring as an undisputed heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk edges closer.

    Victory for Fury against Derek Chisora in December opened the door for the British boxer and Ukrainian star Usyk to finally go head to head.

    While yet to be officially confirmed, it is widely expected a bout will be scheduled in the coming months, though Fury could offer no further updates on the matter when he spoke on Saturday, saying he was in the same boat as his fans.

    "I'm fantastic. I've had a good Christmas and New Year. I've been training, and we're just waiting on an announcement," Fury told Sky Sports.

    "I'm in limbo like the rest of the world. I'm not interested in who, what, where or when. I just want to fight and that's it."

    Earlier on Saturday, Fury's co-promoter Bob Arum announced he expects a venue for the undisputed clash to be decided in the next week.

    "I think both of the fighters have agreed to the fight, I think the question is where the site will be," Arum said. "That will be sorted out hopefully next week and we'll have an announcement shortly.

    "If the fight goes to the Middle East it will be sometime after Ramadan, and if the fight is in the UK it will be the beginning of April."

    Before the Gypsy King returns to the ring, half-brother Tommy Fury will face off against Jake Paul next month in Saudi Arabia in a fierce grudge match.

    While Paul splits opinion, and his move to boxing from the social media world has drawn plenty of criticism, Tyson Fury warned his younger sibling that he will face a capable opponent.

    "I think he's a decent boxer. A lot of people think he's just a YouTube person who doesn't know how to box, but I've actually seen him training and I've actually seen his fights and I think he's decent," Tyson Fury said.

    "He's like a novice professional. He's only had six fights so he's exactly as good as he should be at this stage. He's not an Olympic boxer, but then again neither am I."

  • The Numbers Game: Rampant Rashford and hungry Man Utd seeking more home comforts in quest for silverware The Numbers Game: Rampant Rashford and hungry Man Utd seeking more home comforts in quest for silverware

    Manchester United look great value to end their six-year wait for silverware in Erik ten Hag's first season in charge at Old Trafford.

    In the words of the Dutchman himself, that is far too long a wait for a club of United's stature to go between trophies.

    United fans have not had a huge amount to cheer since their 2016-17 EFL Cup triumph, but that could soon be about to change.

    The Red Devils remain in top-four contention in the Premier League, are as good as in the EFL Cup final and are also still in the hunt to win the Europa League and FA Cup.

    After seeing off Everton 3-1 in round three of the latter, United now have a meeting with second-tier Reading – managed by ex-Red Devil Paul Ince – for a place in the last 16.

    Ahead of Saturday's contest at Old Trafford, Stats Perform picks out some of the standout Opta numbers.


    We meet again

    You'd be right in thinking this fixture has a sense of familiarity about it, with this the 11th time the two sides have been paired in the FA Cup.

    That will make this the joint-ninth most-played fixture in the competition's history since 1912, with Arsenal versus Chelsea and Everton against Liverpool (15) top of that list.

    United have advanced from nine of those previous 10 ties, the only exception being a 2-1 loss when the sides met in a second replay in the third-round stage in 1926-27.

    Among FA Cup ties to have been played at least six times, only five teams can better United's 90-per-cent win rate against a single opponent in the competition.
     

    A one-sided affair

    The one-sided nature of this fixture is not reserved exclusively for the FA Cup, either.

    Reading have won just one of their 22 games against United when taking all competitions into account and have lost six in a row.

    Indeed, you have to go back to that cup tie 96 years ago for the last time the Royals came out on top against United, with that match staged at Villa Park.

    Across United's six-match winning run against Reading, they have racked up 15 goals and kept three clean sheets in a row.
     

    Right Royal misery

    Reading know they will have to pull off a big upset if they are to advance, but their record against Premier League sides suggests that will not be happening this weekend.

    They have lost seven of their past eight FA Cup matches against Premier League opposition, with their 3-1 win over West Brom in February 2016 the outlier in that sequence.

    United are rightly considered huge favourites for this match, then, not least because they have lost only one of their past 39 home games against teams from outside the top tier.

    Ten Hag's side are unbeaten in 14 matches at Old Trafford in the FA Cup against any opponent in a run stretching back to a 2-1 loss to Arsenal in 2015.
     

    Europe's hottest player

    It doesn't help matters that Reading have endured an inconsistent campaign in the Championship, whereas United have – a few games aside – impressed in the top flight.

    Ten Hag deserves huge praise for his early work at United, which includes getting far more out of Marcus Rashford in an attacking sense.

    The England international has scored 10 goals in 10 games since the World Cup – a tally no other player across Europe's top five leagues can match.

    Rashford netted a late penalty in the previous round and has now been involved in five goals in his past five FA Cup appearances, scoring two and assisting three more.

    That could spell bad news for Reading, against whom Rashford scored his only previous brace in the competition in a 4-0 third-round victory in January 2017.

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