Heavyweight boxer Tom Schwarz deliberated for all of one night before committing in April to fight lineal champion Tyson Fury.
It’s safe to say that Schwarz thinks he’s ready for the most significant challenge of his upstart career.
The 25-year-old is embracing his huge underdog status ahead of his WBO Intercontinental title bout with Fury on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden and hopes to pull off another major upset in the division, following the lead of Andy Ruiz, who knocked out previously undefeated Anthony Joshua on June 1 to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion.
The native German, who will be fighting in the United States for the first time, has paired a palpable sense of confidence this week with a modest, almost bashful, demeanor and indicated that he believes it’s his time to take the glory from the 30-year-old Fury, one of the world’s best heavyweights.
“Tom has been fighting since he was a little kid,” Schwarz’s promoter, Ulf Steinforth of SES Boxing, said through an interpreter. “He was in the school system in boxing, ever since he was training and fighting. He was training to be here. He is ready to do his best and have a great performance.”
Schwarz was born in Halle, Germany, and raised by his grandmother. He started boxing as a kid to combat local bullies and developed a passion for the sport, breezing through the German amateur circuit before debuting professionally in 2013.
He since has emerged as one of Germany’s best fighters, posting a 24-0 record with 16 knockouts and drawing the attention of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who handpicked him to fight Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs).
“Our matchmakers went over the tapes of his 24 victories, and we realized what a terrific fighter he is,” Arum said.
Schwarz, a plus 1,200 underdog at the Westgate, said he draws inspiration from German fighters of the past and referenced Max Schmeling, who knocked out American heavyweight legend Joe Louis in 1936.
He has endured months of rigorous preparation that included “hundreds of sparring partners,” according to trainer Rene Freise, and tailored a game plan specifically for Fury, the taller, longer and more famous fighter.
“I’m fighting for my family and my country,” Schwarz said. “I have a lot of inspiration. I’m ready to shock the world. On Saturday night, it’s my time. I am prepared. Tyson Fury picked me for a reason, and I promise a great fight, a dramatic fight, and a memorable moment for all boxing fans.”
Who: Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz, heavyweights
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: MGM Grand Garden
Tickets: Starting at $104 at axs.com
TV: ESPN Plus
Odds: Fury -3,000; Schwarz +1,200 (Westgate)
Tale of the tape
Record: 27-0-1 (19 KOs)
Reach: 85 inches
Record: 24-0 (16 KOs)
Reach: 82 inches