By Alistair Hendrie
Tyson Fury kept his side of the bargain on Saturday night, destroying Thomas Schwarz in two rounds in Las Vegas to keep a rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder simmering in the pan. Fury’s co-promoter, Bob Arum, told reporters that a repeat of Fury and Wilder’s thrilling draw in 2018 could surpass the $600m generated by Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquaio in 2015. A wise comment given Fury’s skills, entertainment value and charisma.
Entering the ring to James Brown’s “Living in America” - of course not forgetting his Apollo Creed shorts, hat and robe - Fury was the star of the show on Saturday and Schwarz, the outclassed German, was just a footnote. The British fighter exhibited a lovely jab, scintillating head movement and spiteful combinations. He’d already bloodied Schwarz’s nose badly by the time he folded the underdog in two with finishing smacks to the body.
The Wilder return was all fans, journalists and broadcasters wanted to ask about after the contest and according to Arum Fury will be out next for a final tune-up on September 21 or October 5. Wilder must do his own part by defeating Luis Ortiz again – reports suggest they could renew hostilities in September.
Indeed, while Arum also mentioned Wilder-Fury 2 would take place in Las Vegas, Team Fury should tread carefully when choosing their next opponent. They need a name, a dance partner who will give them a problem to solve. Still, Fury’s backers know Wilder 2 would be huge for Tyson's bank balance and legacy and they would be foolish to risk it all by throwing him to a young, hungry wolf such as Trevor Bryan. That can wait, and remember Fury is only 30.
How about a meeting with Robert Helenius? The Finn, whose craft and guile handed him the moniker “The Nordic Nightmare”, has won his last three and could earn the largest payday of his career against “The Gypsy King.” The 35-year-old is known for his defensive talents and ability to throw opponents of their game. He wouldn’t be the most exciting adversary, though. Leftfield options could be Carlos Takam, the imposing Cameroonian-Frenchman, or Tomasz Adamek, the Pole who is already known to the US public but was ended in two by Jarrell Miller in October.
First of all, Wilder has to overcome Ortiz. Many felt their previous encounter should have been stopped when Wilder was out on his feet under a hail of Ortiz gunfire in round seven, but the American survived and earned the knockout in round ten. It was telling, then, that Wilder tweeted: “All my controversial fights must get dealt with ASAP” when announcing the rerun with Ortiz. If that’s the case, Wilder-Fury 2 becomes an even greater possibility.
Read more of Alistair Hendrie's writing on combat sports with his Kindle book, Fight Game: The Untold Story of Women's MMA in Britain