On November 28th, 2015 in Dusseldorf, Germany, British fighter Tyson Fury shocked the world by defeating WladimirKlitschko for the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight titles.
Klitschko entered roughly as a (-470) favorite, with Fury paying in the (+375) neighborhood, so it was not a stunning mathematical upset at the sportsbooks. But what Fury did was nothing more than earth-shaking in terms of the heavyweight division, where Klitschko had dominated from his fiefdom of Germany for the last ten years.
Fury is contractually obligated to face Klitschko in a rematch, loosely scheduled for April or May of 2016. If Klitschko doesn't break down in training, he will enter that fight on the far side of forty years old.
The International Boxing Federation has stepped in and is trying to force Fury into fighting VyacheslavGlazkov as a mandatory defense, ignoring Klitschko's long term claim on their title and effectively beginning the process of splintering the heavyweight titles Klitschko had unified.
Then there is Deontay Wilder, who owns the WBC World title and is scheduled to defend it on January 16th. Together, the two sit atop a division that is loaded with up and coming talent such as Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua, ErkanTepper and Glazkov. That talent is supplemented by veterans such as Alexander Povetkin, KubratPulev, Tomasz Adamek, Robert Helenius and Bryant Jennings who must feel rejuvenated with Klitschko out of the way. This upcoming year could yield a war of attrition as fighters jockey for position.
In many ways, the changes in the heavyweight division began in January of 2015 when Deontay Wilder stepped up and became the WBC World Heavyweight title, starting off a year that would see him go (3-0).
But it was Fury, the bombastic, undefeated 25 year old who told the world that it was he who was going to take down Klitschko. He never wavered in his confidence and he never stopped talking in the months of build-up prior to the fight. Klitschko appeared his usual cool and calm self, the books and public opinion firmly believing it would be business as usual for Klitschko.
And then come fight time, Tyson Fury did exactly what he said he was going to do. His size and game plan worked to perfection, and Klitschko showed no ability to adjust throughout the fight, even though it was clearly getting away from him. Though the match was not aesthetically pleasing, Fury went into Germany, which is basically a Klitschko stronghold; and there he handled all the pressure that that entails, and walked out with all the belts.
Whether you like Fury or not, his victory had a cataclysmic effect on the heavyweight division, making 2015 the year the division started being exciting again. The trumpet call of that change was Tyson Fury's defeat of WladimirKlitschko; and for that, the fight has earned Boxing Channel's 2015 Award for Upset of the Year.