Wladimir Klitschko Exercises Rematch Option against Tyson Fury

AP Photo
The Associated Press

Wladimir Klitschko intends to exercise the rematch clause in his contract with Tyson Fury.

“I have a pre-Christmas gift for Tyson Fury, and all boxing fans around the world,” Klitschko announced on Instagram. “I will be making use of my contractual option for a rematch against Fury.”

A message to the fans of boxing.

A video posted by Wladimir Klitschko (@klitschko_official) on

The towering Brit won a unanimous decision over the lineal champion on Saturday by using his length to keep Klitschko at bay and his stamina to outwork him. Fury improved to 25-0. Klitschko, last losing to Lamon Brewster via comeback TKO 11 years ago, dropped to 64-4 in dropping the first decision of his career.

The 39-year-old needs a sense of urgency to overcome the lethargy he exhibited in the ring on Saturday and to learn how to fight as the shorter man with a reach disadvantage. For the latter challenge, Wladimir might try phoning his older, taller brother Vitali for some sparring sessions. For the former, Klitschko merely requires a catalyst, which Saturday’s listless performance likely gives him. Klitschko called dealing with the defeat a “rough time.”

The rematch provides the heavyweight division with a crucial component missing for years: a competitive, captivating title bout. Utilizing size and a punishing, mechanical jab, Wladimir Klitschko has worn down rather than walked through the opposition for years. He’s faced inferior competition that compounded the problem of fan indifference by allowing the Ukrainian to fight cautiously. Though likable, Klitschko comes across as less than charismatic.

His colorful, perhaps not-quite-likable Irish Traveler conqueror, on the other hand, understands the carnival-barking quality required to sell a fight. The 6’9” mouthy Mancunian dressed as Batman to sell the fight. He’s dressed down Klitschko as a cheater to sell the rematch.

Comically, as though portraying a caricature of a corrupt alphabet-soup sanctioning body, the IBF ordered Fury to fight a different Ukrainian—undefeated, unheralded, and undersized heavyweight Vyacheslav Glazkov—or forfeit his newly-won belt. But it’s prize fighting, not belt fighting, so Fury likely sacrifices the IBF title in order to accept a fight awarding a purse exponentially larger than any Vyacheslav Glazkov brings. Give the people what they want.

“I was really frustrated directly after the fight,” Klitschko informed on Wednesday. “But after some short nights, I now know that I want to show that I am much better than my performance on Saturday. I couldn’t show my full potential at any time. This is what I want to change in the rematch—and I will. Failure is not an option.”