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At midday yesterday (GMT), Tyson Fury caused a storm on social network Twitter with a series of harebrained boxing statements. His words were rather strange to say the least, and they kick started a series of debates over a possible Tyson Fury – Wladimir Klitschko fight in December this year. Here is the quote that began the whole thing:
“Like Ali shocked the world in 1964 I will in 2011 by stopping Klitschko”
Fury is right about one thing – it would certainly shock the world were he to beat Wladimir this year. But there are two questions we need to ask; is a fight between them likely to happen, and if it did, would Fury stand a chance of winning?

Fury vs Klitschko – How likely is it?
To hear this from Fury (15-0 10KOs) is very surprising, as following his last fight – a victory over fellow British heavyweight Dereck Chisora in July – he actually said he will be taking his time and not rushing for a title shot. He then booked himself a fight for September and kept us guessing over who his opponent would be. Names like Martin Rogan, Coleman Barrett and Mike Perez were mentioned, but at no point was it suggested that Fury would fight someone of any consequence

Eventually, we were told he will fight Nicolai Firtha, a capable American heavyweight with an unspectacular, but not bad, win record. What makes this bout interesting is that Firtha stands at 6’6” tall. How tall is Wladimir Klitschko? Why, he’s 6’6”! There is a strong suggestion that Fury’s fight with Firtha is primarily so that he can get used to fighting a tall boxer with the same physique as Klitschko.

Firtha is no pushover but he shouldn’t trouble Fury too much. Assuming Fury beats him, it is okay to assume that Fury would want to move on to tougher opponents. But would he want to move straight on to Klitschko? Is he ready for that? The main problem is that Fury hasn’t fought anyone who gets anywhere near Dr. Steelhammer’s standard. He is not ready for this challenge, and if he does fight him it will be a brave but foolhardy move.
Would Klitschko be up for it?
There is also Wladimir to consider. After he beat David Haye in July to add the WBA belt to his collection, he made it clear he intended to carry on boxing and would have his mandatory defence in the near future. No details were given on the match and there hasn’t been that much speculation (expect maybe here), with the focus instead being on his brother Vitali who will fight heavyweight contender Tomas Adamek this Saturday.

Some news came to light yesterday, however. Wladimir broke silence and announced he was going to fight again in three months. He told German news channel RTL:
"I want one more fight this year, probably in December. Exactly where and against whom, I cannot say yet,”
Had it not been for Fury himself stirring the pot, I would not have even considered him as a likely opponent. There are other options for Klitschko, such as Alexander Dimitrenko, Denis Boytsov and Robert Helenius. None are world class yet, but they are certainly more experienced than Fury.

One thing that does point towards Fury is Klitschko’s desire to take away an unbeaten fighter’s record. Fury is currently fifteen fights unbeaten and spoiling this record would put a smile on Wladimir’s face.

Could Fury Beat Klitschko?
Despite his potential, right now Fury doesn’t have the skills to beat Wlad. He is still unpolished and he hasn’t got his chops against a higher class of opponent yet. Before he can think about beating the three belt champion of the world, Fury needs to topple a couple of the top-ten contenders first. He needs to prove he can step up a gear and compete at the top level.

That is not to detract from Fury's progress so far – he does seem to be stepping up his opposition slightly each fight. Dereck Chisora was a good prospect and also unbeaten, and Fury did not balk at facing him. Nicolai Firtha is a solid fighter and although he is not world class, he did take WBA Champion Aleksandr Povetkin the whole ten rounds in December last year.

Fury will certainly be challenging for a world title in the future. He is only twenty three years old but is already way ahead of men ten years older than him in terms of progression. A fight with Klitschko in December would be too soon for him though, and if it does happen we will just have to hope his inevitable loss doesn’t break him.