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Published On: Thu, Dec 4th, 2014
Sports | By

No Fury fear for Klitschko

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Tyson Fury’s gritty if unspectacular win over Dereck Chisora in London on Saturday will hardly have caused reigning heavyweight number one Wladimir Klitschko any sleepless nights.

Fury’s win made him the number one contender for the WBO belt held by Klitschko, theoretically obligating the Ukrainian to defend against the Bolton man by the middle of next year.

In practice that particular alphabet bauble is unlikely to instil any urgency in Klitschko who has already pencilled his next fight for March against the winner of this month’s WBC title scrap between holder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder.

But Fury’s name has nevertheless been mentioned as a potential future foe by Klitschko’s manager Bernd Boente, raising hopes he will be awarded a shot before the 38-year-old champion finally hangs up his gloves.

Having emphatically seen off the division’s widely regarded numbers two and three, Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin, Klitschko does not have too many big-money options although the winner of Stiverne versus Wilder is clearly at the head of the queue.

Stiverne is a distinctly unremarkable Canadian who built his 24-fight winning record against unremarkable foes and took the vacant WBC title with a sixth-round stoppage of veteran former challenger Chris Arreola in May.

Wilder represents a much more interesting proposition, having slammed his way to 32 consecutive knock-out wins since turning professional in November 2008.

Unless they happened to blink, British fans will recall Wilder for the way in which he took just 70 seconds to dispatch Audley Harrison in Sheffield in April last year.

Among his four wins since, Wilder has taken only 33 seconds longer to thump out former WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich, and in March this year dealt another first round knock-out to fringe contender Malik Scott.

The questionable quality on Wilder’s record makes his true potential hard to judge, but he can plainly punch, and if as expected he is not detailed long by Stiverne, he will represent a new and exciting test for Klitschko early next year.

Wilder and Fury apart, prospective opponents for Klitschko tail off towards also-rans and has-beens, and it speaks volumes for the paucity of quality in the heavyweight division these days that Boente is still refusing to rule out dredging Shannon Briggs back up as a future foe.

But the longer-term outlook gives cause for cautious optimism that the post-Klitschko heavyweight era may not be quite so inconsequential as some critics would care to suggest.

Anthony Joshua may be some way from mixing it with true world class but he is yet to put a foot wrong in 10 professional fights so far and appears destined to spend some significant time at the top level.

Miami-based Cuban Luis Ortiz may be 35 years old but but 19 of his 22 wins have come by knock-out and a quickfire first-round win over unbeaten Lateef Kayode last time out suggest he cannot be discounted from the future title frame.

This week, Fury rightly pointed out the increased value in claiming a world title by dethroning the reigning champion, rather than picking up the vacant belt with victory over a much lesser known opponent.

Only time will tell whether he will get his wish for a crack at Klitschko before the next generation step up to sort out the scraps.

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