Wilder backed to stop Fury inside distance

AFP
A panel of heavyweight greats said that WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, pictured November 5, 2018, is a "devastating puncher" who will manage to knock out British challenger Tyson Fury (AFP Photo/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

A panel of heavyweight greats said that WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, pictured November 5, 2018, is a "devastating puncher" who will manage to knock out British challenger Tyson Fury

A panel of heavyweight greats said that WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, pictured November 5, 2018, is a "devastating puncher" who will manage to knock out British challenger Tyson Fury (AFP Photo/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Los Angeles (AFP) - A panel of heavyweight greats broadly backed Deontay Wilder's punching power to be too much for Tyson Fury ahead of their WBC championship showdown on Saturday.

Defending champion Wilder takes on British challenger Fury at the Staples Center on Saturday in an eagerly-anticipated collision of unbeaten heavyweights.

While Fury has vowed to upset Wilder after returning to the ring this year after a lengthy absence, not one of seven former heavyweights gathered at a roundtable in Los Angeles on Friday was willing to back the 30-year-old.

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Former champion Lennox Lewis believes Fury may have a chance against Wilder if he can go the distance.

But most of the remaining fighters on the panel -- Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, Earnie Shavers, Buster Douglas and Gerry Cooney -- were unanimous. Only Michael Spinks refused to be drawn on the outcome.

"If Wilder finds home plate he's going to take Fury out," said Cooney, best known for his 13-round defeat against Larry Holmes in 1982. "Wilder is a devastating puncher," Cooney said. "He's going to find the spot on Tyson Fury's jaw and knock him out, somewhere between three and six rounds."

Douglas, who famously stunned Mike Tyson in one of boxing's greatest upsets in 1990, also believes Wilder will win inside the distance. "Deontay in eight rounds," Douglas said.

Former undisputed champion Holyfield meanwhile believed Wilder's willingness to take risks would work in his favour.

"I feel that Deontay will win," Holyfield said. "I think he'll land his right hand, he's very patient. He's the type of guy that takes chances. When people take chances they win."

Bowe meanwhile was in no doubt that Wilder's power would prove too much for Fury. "He's going to hit him and he's going to sleep," Bowe said.

Fury's fellow Briton Lewis, however, gave his compatriot a fighting chance, framing the contest as a battle between Wilder's punching power and Fury's elusiveness.

"Wilder's got a great right hand," Lewis said. "If that lands not many people can stand up to it. But I also think you can't hurt what you can't hit.

"If he catches him with a right hand he may go. It's going to be difficult to catch him. So I say, Deontay early, Fury late."

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