THE new man in Tyson Fury’s corner, Javan Hill, has stressed the importance of ‘The Gypsy King’ finishing what he started in December when it comes time to fight Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, all over again on February 22.

When the pair first met, some 14 months ago, Fury seemed to outbox Wilder for the majority of the rounds they shared, yet Wilder decked the Brit twice, first in the ninth round and again in the final round, which helped him close the gap on the cards. It resulted in a draw at the bout’s conclusion and immediate calls for a rematch.

We have had to be patient but now, thankfully, the rematch is set to go ahead later this month in Las Vegas. It offers both men the opportunity to make three ringside judges redundant and to clear up any grey area left from their initial encounter in Los Angeles.

“That was a risk that Tyson took in the first fight in not stepping on the gas and trying to win on points,” Fury’s new trainer Hill told IFL TV. “He doesn’t want that again. I don’t want it. I wasn’t raised that way. Emanuel (Steward) always taught me ‘get the knockout’.

“That’s the only 100% way you know who won the fight by taking it out of the hands of the judges. The best way to win the fight is not to leave it to somebody else.”

To the ears and eyes of most this will seem little more than a boxing cliché, one trotted out before most fights of significance. It is, after all, the aim of all boxers to go home as early and as safely as possible.

Yet here, in the case of Fury, the comment resonates more than it normally would for two reasons: firstly, Fury isn’t known as the type of boxer to pursue the knockout, much less step on the gas and rush things, and, secondly, of all the fighters to take it to and risk being knocked out in search of a knockout victory, Deontay Wilder is arguably the most dangerous of the lot.

Should Fury achieve his mission, therefore, it would be considered an even greater miracle than the one he performed when climbing to his feet in round twelve of their first fight.

Deontay Wilder
Wilder leaves Ortiz flat on the canvas (Stephanie Trapp/TGB)

Former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook is happy to fight Liam Smith this year and says it is a fight for which he will find motivation if – and this should probably be a big IF – he is paid handsomely.

The 33-year-old from Sheffield meets American Mark DeLuca this Saturday (February 8) in what is his first outing for 14 months but is keen to secure some bigger fights for later in the year. High on his list is a rematch against Errol Spence Jnr, the current IBF champion, yet it’s Smith, a former WBO champion at super-welterweight, who has this week been calling out Brook for a fight.

“Liam Smith hasn’t got a belt, but I can get excited about that fight,” Brook answered. “If they pay me seven figures for the fight, I’ll take that fight.

“I’m interested in any light-middleweight. If they’ve got a belt, even if they think they’re the hardest in the division, I can beat all of them.

“Liam Smith hasn’t got a belt, but I can get excited about that fight. If they pay me seven figures for the fight, I’ll take that fight.

“I know he would be up for it. I’ve got huge respect for the Smith family and that is definitely a fight I’d be interested in.

“I could do welterweight again for the right fight and I want to be a two-time world champion this year.”

Admittedly, a potential Brook vs. Smith doesn’t quite carry the same appeal as Brook fighting his long-time rival Amir Khan would have carried three or four years ago when both were in their fighting prime. But that’s been and gone, a thing of the past, and frankly now, in 2020, with Brook vs. Khan having been reduced to the punch line of a bad, inappropriate joke, the prospect of Brook and Smith getting together is the mouthwash British boxing probably needs.  

Kell Brook
Brook in action against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin