Fury v Schwarz: Costello & Bunce point to Briton's pressure to impress in Las Vegas

Tyson Fury is viewed as the world's best heavyweight by many, says 5 Live's Steve Bunce
Tyson Fury is viewed as the world's best heavyweight by many, says 5 Live's Steve Bunce

Tyson Fury will be under pressure to impress and bolster a growing public feeling he is the world's best heavyweight when he fights in Las Vegas for the first time this weekend.

That is the view of BBC Radio 5 Live's boxing team as Fury prepares to face the undefeated but unfancied German Tom Schwarz at the MGM Grand on Saturday.

The bout, which will take place early on Sunday morning in the UK, comes two weeks after Anthony Joshua's world title defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr left shock "hanging in the air" of the heavyweight division, according to BBC commentator Mike Costello.

Could Fury also slip up against a 12-1 underdog? And why does 5 Live analyst Steve Bunce think the 30-year-old Briton may need to edge away from his typical fight method.

The new number one?

After his riveting December draw with Deontay Wilder - a bout which arrived just six months after Fury ended a 31-month spell away from boxing - Fury claimed he should have been named a world champion for the second time.

But the manner of his performance, coupled with Joshua's defeat by now IBF, WBA and WBO champion Ruiz, has for many placed him on top of boxing's glamour division.

Bunce, BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst, said: "It seems like only yesterday we were working out which of the three heavyweight fights - Deontay Wilder v Dominic Breazeale, Joshua v Ruiz or Fury v Schwarz - would be the best. We dismissed the three challengers.

"Most have stuck Tyson Fury in that number one position now. Looking at it, by the time Ruiz had done his business at Madison Square Garden, most people had moved Fury above Joshua.

"I don't know anyone who does not consider him the best in the world, apart from those in Deontay Wilder's camp."

Costello added: "The reaction to the Joshua loss has been like nothing we have ever seen on our 5 Live Boxing podcast and I arrive in Las Vegas still in a shock I can't ever remember feeling.

"The week after the fight I was at a Diamond League athletics event and got on a bus in Rome.

"Dina Asher-Smith was on there, a European champion over 100m and 200m and maybe an Olympic champion over both next year. She said she and other athletes had been debating what had happened to Joshua.

"This was a really big meeting for them and there they were debating in the build-up, that's how much the event and Joshua resonated.

"Oh how the heavyweight landscape has changed since the three big heavyweights had their fights announced. And one thing that has certainly changed is that Tyson Fury comes here now as many people's idea as the number one heavyweight in the world."

A pressure and task to impress

Fury continues to work with promoter Frank Warren but now also works with Bob Arum in the US
Fury continues to work with promoter Frank Warren (left) but now also works with Bob Arum in the US

US promoter Bob Arum has worked with the likes of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather, and believes he can now make Fury a "superstar" in the US.

Schwarz was picked as an opponent who will offer the chance for Fury to shine in his first fight with broadcasters ESPN before moving on to bigger challenges.

The 25-year-old, who at 6ft 5in will be around three inches shorter than Fury, is undefeated in 24 bouts and, according to Arum, is "a hell of a lot more formidable than Andy Ruiz."

Costello wonders if the underdog will show ambition or will the Briton need to chase a knockout?

Costello added: "They have spoken about this being a showcase for Fury. It's like Arum's saying 'come and look at this man'.

"With that, he will have to look impressive and most of the time Fury looks impressive when the odds are against him and someone is coming at him, like Wilder did, as Wladimir Klitschko did.

"Schwarz strikes me as a bit of a plodder. Some rankings have him at number seven in Germany, let alone anywhere else."

Bunce adds: "Unless Fury jumps over him in a round or two, drops him, then he can start doing all sorts of stuff. But that's not Fury's way and isn't the method he likes.

"I'm not doubting Arum as he's a genius but I'd have maybe looked to bring someone in who will go at it a bit more. What if Schwarz has a great chin?

"He's a big guy who will be plenty brave enough and will try hard. Is he the worst fighter to ever fight a top heavyweight? The answer is no.

"He wouldn't make the top 100. I think part of the problem here is this wasn't the fight we wanted, we wanted the Wilder rematch."

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