Wladimir Klitschko has dismissed the two advantages of height and stance Tyson Fury is said to possess, insisting that neither will trouble him when they fight on November 28.
The undefeated Fury will be the underdog when he travels to Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT Arena to challenge the IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight champion, but many regardless believe that his height and ability to fight from a southpaw stance gives him two significant assets beyond those of the typical Klitschko opponent.
As Klitschko’s mandatory challenger, Fury’s profile is far from that seen in so many who have fought the great Ukrainian before him. There have been tall opponents, including Mariusz Wach, and southpaws, including Tony Thompson, but there is yet to be a youthful fighter like the 6ft 9ins Mancunian, whose natural talent has so far helped him to convince when switching between an orthodox and southpaw stance dependent on his opposition.
It has been argued that combination, particularly unusual among heavyweights of the modern era, may prove potent enough to compensate for Fury’s relatively limited power, but Klitschko has warned that - even if finding sparring partners capable of replicating Fury has been difficult - he fights with greater aggression against taller opponents, and that Fury will abandon a potentially-awkward southpaw stance the instant he gets hurt.
“I believe that he’s comfortable with one side, as all of us are: we have one side that we are more comfortable with,” the 6ft 6ins Klitschko said from his training camp in Stanglwirt, Austria.
“As soon as he’s going to get hurt he’s going to go back to basics. It’s always like that in boxing.
“You can pretend, like you’re southpaw, or regular, whatever you pretend, but you’re going to go back to basics on survival instinct.
“There is nothing easy, but I’m think I’m more aggressive towards tall guys, than with shorter guys.
“The most challenging part is the size (when recruiting sparring partners). The size, to get sparring partners is complicated. Usually I’m getting the best guys out there and it’s tough to find the best guys. Not just the size, but also different stances, that’s the challenge, that’s the main part.”
Fury is the seventh British heavyweight that Klitschko or his retired brother Vitali have fought during their decorated professional careers.
Julius Francis, Herbie Hide, Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams and Dereck Chisora all fought Vitali, who lost only to Lewis, while Wladimir has so far defeated David Haye.
Hide, Chisora and Haye, like Fury, each distastefully goaded the brothers before each of their respective fights, Chisora going as far as spitting water at Wladimir and slapping Vitali, and Haye printing a t-shirt depicting the Klitschkos’ severed heads.