Lennox Lewis believes the coming fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will trump Anthony Joshua’s with Alexander Povetkin.
The one-time undisputed heavyweight champion has also dismissed suggestions that Fury is taking too big a risk against the heavy-handed Wilder, even though he considers his relationship with new trainer Ben Davison to be a “work in progress”.
Fury is scheduled to fight WBC champion Wilder in Las Vegas in the coming months in only his third fight since a near three-year lay-off that coincided with the most difficult period in his life.
He contemplated suicide as he struggled with depression and while he has since rediscovered his fighting weight, concerns persist that he remains short of the sharpness that was such a strength.
Even Fury has conceded he should at least have had one further fight before challenging one of the world’s most dangerous fighters. Yet with Joshua defending his WBA, WBO and IBF titles against Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on September 22, Lewis told Press Association Sport: “Fury and Wilder is way bigger than Povetkin and Anthony.
“You have two top guys up the top there, and they’re going to be boxing each other, and they’re big. The public wants to see it. (Fury) did the right move (in agreeing to fight in America). He’s really stepping up; he heard the cry and he stepped up.
“It’s a little dangerous, but I thought the (victorious Wladimir) Klitschko fight was dangerous, I was saying ‘Who did you fight to prepare you for this?’ But he showed up on the night and he looked good.
“I was surprised that he danced around for 12 rounds. (But) you can see he’s progressing and getting the weight off. He’ll be right when it comes to Wilder.”
The third fight of Fury’s comeback also represents the third he will have had under new trainer Ben Davison, who remains largely unproven.
Lewis’ finest years came under the late, great Emmanuel Steward, but before then he had struggled to gel with trainers including the respected Pepe Correa, and even with Steward it took time for an understanding to develop.
Against Wilder in Vegas, Davison will be confronted with an occasion unlike any he has experienced and with an unpredictable fighter he is perhaps still adjusting to, and the 52-year-old Lewis said: “It’s a work in progress.
“They’re getting to know each other. If Ben’s getting the right things he needs out of Tyson Fury, and Tyson Fury’s listening, then obviously he’s learning his craft. That’s what you need to do – learn and make sure you’re the best at it.
“Me and Emmanuel Steward was a natural progression. For the first couple of fights, I remember him talking and saying he wasn’t getting what he needs out of me; I need to try a little bit more, do these different things.
“I don’t know how (Davison) reacts under these conditions. To make that type of move they’ll have to do a lot of thinking about it; it’ll be interesting to see.”
:: Undisputed: An evening with Lennox Lewis is on September 6 at indigo at The O2. For tickets visit: www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/undisputed-an-evening-with-lennox-lewis