Dethroned Klitschko must adapt to survive in Fury rematch
Lee Gormley | December 3, 2015
Klitschko takes up rematch clause
After the heartache of seeing his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles clinched from him by Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) in Dusseldorf, former champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) has opted to take up his contractual option for a rematch next year.
The former champion was undefeated for over a decade but, after reigning supreme in the division, the Ukrainian was dispatched over 12 rounds by Manchester fighter Fury as he lost on points at the Esprit Arena.
With the dust still settling after his defeat in Germany, Klitschko confirmed that a rematch clause existed, but there was speculation that the 39-year-old would instead decide to retire after his 11-year, 22-fight unbeaten run was halted.
However, ‘Dr Steelhammer’ is clearly driven by his shock loss at the hands of his tormentor and will once again go head-to-head with Fury next year, with Klitschko 10/3 from Coral to win his belts back by a stoppage victory.
Unfamiliar role for challenger Klitschko
Next year’s follow-up encounter between the heavyweight pair, which will likely be held on Fury’s home patch, will see Klitschko undertake an unfamiliar role as challenger, but he will need a new profound approach in order to succeed at the second time of asking.
“Failure is not an option,” stated the dethroned heavyweight, on his prospects of winning back the titles next year.
“I was really frustrated directly after the fight, but after some short nights, I now know that I am much better than my performance on Saturday.
“I couldn’t show much full potential at any time. This is what I want to change in the rematch, and I will.”
In a rematch, which the new heavyweight champion is 7/4 to earn a successive points decision win, Klitschko must change his long-standing style of cornering opponents and sporadically landing heavy shots over sustained periods.
New approach required
This approach, of course, failed the Ukrainian in Germany, as he worryingly struggled to cut the ring off from Fury and couldn’t manage to land any hurtful combinations at all. Even worse, when his gameplan was clearly unsuccessful, Klitschko was unable to adjust to any plan B, while his inside game was merely based on a futile clinch, lean and push-off.
Klitschko has enjoyed two spells as world champion with his previous outlook, the first from 2000 up to 2003. Having then regained the WBO belt in 2004, he went 11 years and 19 successful defences before losing out to Fury.
The obvious correction from Klitschko’s initial Fury fight will be to become more aggressive, but it’s something he has never really embraced, instead having relied upon standing strong and unleashing few but solid punches.
Reluctance on the inside
Also, in a bid to cut off Fury’s swift movement, which is superb for a such a big fighter, Klitschko will need to cut off his movement more astutely in order to get into those scoring positions.
Another key element is the Ukrainian’s recent reluctance to move inside during the heat of battle, being more accustomed to stepping away, having not needed to do so in the past.
After already witnessing what Fury is all about, it could be argued that Klitschko, who is 2/1 to reclaim his heavyweight straps by decision, should be able to counter any threat that is posed and adjust to his opponent’s abilities. Though, the new champion has proved he is capable of mixing it up in the ring.
Champion again in 2016?
Having been visibly stifled during the build-up to the first Fury clash, and during 12 hapless rounds, will the former champion adapt accordingly to survive, or stick to his trusted methods which failed him before?
Klitschko has shown the determination of a champion to call for an instant rematch and possesses the motivation to recover from his biggest set-back to date, though it’s his willingness and ability to adapt which will determine his fate in 2016.
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