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Tyson Fury is the man to beat in the heavyweight division, depending on who you ask. Though he doesn’t have a belt to his name, some boxing observers consider Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) the lineal heavyweight champion. He beat the previous undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, and he hasn’t lost since.
Fury vs. Schwarz Fight Info
When: Saturday, Jun. 15 at 10 p.m. ET (main card)
Where: MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
TV: BT Sport Box Office (pay-per-view, UK)
Watch Live 4K (Reddit Streams) > https://bit.ly/2WHnQXz
Odds: Fury -2500 (bet $2,500 to win $100), Schwarz +1200 (bet $100 to win $1,200)
Odds courtesy of OddsChecker.com and updated as of Thursday, Jun. 6 at 7 a.m. ET.
In fact, Fury hasn’t lost ever as a professional, and he will be looking to preserve his undefeated record and lineal champion status on Saturday night when he takes on the undefeated Tom Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) in Las Vegas.
Lineal is a murky concept. Fury beat Klitschko more than three years ago, but his life went into a tailspin that he only pulled out of last year.
In that time, Deontay Wilder continued his rise to prominence with a series of beatings, and Anthony Joshua clipped Klitschko himself to win three world titles and become one of the biggest stars on the planet.
The last few months have bolstered Fury’s claims that he’s the alpha in the heavyweight ranks. He fought Wilder to an incredible draw in December, becoming one of just two men to make it to the final bell against Wilder’s sledgehammer right hand (and doing it in instantly memorable fashion). Earlier in June, Joshua lost his belts in a stunning upset to Andy Ruiz Jr.
So Fury has a tenuous claim to the heavyweight throne; all he’s lacking is the hardware to prove it. The risks are bigger without the world titles, as a loss to the unbeaten Schwarz would be a huge blow to his drawing power. It’s not expected, but as Ruiz Jr. showed on Jun. 1, it’s not impossible.
In the ring or outside of it, the 30-year-old Fury sets himself apart. Unlike many heavyweights, Fury likes to dance, bob his head, stick the jab and move around the ring. He can brawl and get dirty if he has to, but it’s not his preferred way to fight.
At 6’9″ with an 85-inch reach, Fury can look a little silly with his gangly limbs gyrating around the ring, at least until you realize his opponent is having trouble finding the target.
He’s even tougher to pin down outside of the ring. Fury has emerged from his mental health troubles of the past couple of years and seems to be trying to put some distance between his homophobic and bigoted remarks of the past.
Though his previous comments will still be unforgivable to many, he now espouses a much more positive worldview, and he can be disarming at times.
Just look at him at the last photoshoot before Saturday night, per BT Sport:
You would think he and Schwarz are starring in a buddy-cop movie. Instead, they are going to be fighting each other on Saturday night, with their unbeaten records on the line.
Perfect records are not made equal in this sport. Fury has won world titles, beaten the likes of Klitschko, Christian Hammer and Dereck Chisora (twice). He also largely outboxed Wilder in their draw and would have won it had he not suffered a second knockdown in the 12th round. He’s faced some excellent pros, though not many.
Schwarz, 25, hasn’t fought anyone of note. His bouts have come almost exclusively in his native Germany, save for two fights in the Czech Republic. He’s won and defended regional and inter-continental titles, proving he can hold his own against journeymen. The bout with Fury is a massive step up in competition, and an upset win would be a springboard to so much more.
Schwarz will have to rise to another level to beat Fury. At 6’5½”, he gives up plenty of size to the self-styled “Gypsy King.” Fury’s quick hands are that much more difficult to contend with if you need to stay in range to establish an attack.