By Rory Carroll and Philip O’Connor
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have both promised knockouts to avoid going to the judges’ scorecards when they meet again on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas with Wilder’s WBC world title on the line.
The first meeting between the pair in December 2018 ended in a controversial split-decision draw after 12 explosive rounds, a result that satisfied neither fighter but left both with their undefeated records intact.
Speaking at a news conference in Los Angeles, Fury (29-0-1) said he would down Wilder (42-0-1) in two rounds, while the champ said that Fury would not be able to withstand his powerful right hand this time around.
“This is unfinished business that I will finish. I’m going to knock him out,” Wilder said. “I’m the lion, I’m the king of the jungle, and come February 22nd, I’m gonna rip his head off his body.”
After proving an elusive target in their first fight, Fury promised to stand toe to toe with Wilder in the rematch.
“I’ll meet you, Deontay, in the middle of the ring … I won’t be running, you won’t have to look anywhere for me,” he said.
“Just watch out for the right hand because you’re going to sleep in two rounds,” said Fury, who has won 20 of his fights by knockout. “Two. 100%.”
Likening their trans-Atlantic showdown to when Briton Lennox Lewis defeated American Mike Tyson in June 2002, Fury said he expected fireworks when the two meet again.
“To beat Tyson Fury, you have to nail him to the canvas. And that’s what this little skinny-legs super-noodle will have to do – nail me to the canvas,” he said of the tall and slender Wilder, whose body more resembles that of a basketball power forward than a traditional heavyweight boxer.
“And if he can’t do that, I’m going to eat him up.”
(Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)