Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury wasn’t exactly coy with his intentions. He came to Las Vegas to knock out Tom Schwarz. He said he would break his jaw and ribs.
And he was well on his way Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden — until Schwarz’s corner threw in the towel.
Fury, making his Las Vegas debut, dropped Schwarz with a straight right midway through the second round and pounced on him in the corner a few seconds later, prompting a stoppage from referee Kenny Bayless at the 2:54 mark and concluding his title defense.
A rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder looms for the Englishman Fury (28-0-1, 20 knockouts), who sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” after the fight in celebration.
Fury isn’t just one of the world’s best boxers.
He might be its most charismatic one, too.
“The key was to enjoy myself,” Fury said. “I came here to put on a show for Las Vegas, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Fury emerged in the past several years as an elite heavyweight and capped his rise in 2015 by upsetting Wladimir Klitschko. He made his American debut in December, fighting the vaunted Wilder to a draw in Los Angeles. But he had yet to fight in Las Vegas, where sweet science superstardom is often validated.
He showcased his charisma throughout the week, blending bravado with sensitivity as he spoke about fighting the best boxers in the ring and depression outside it.
The 30-year-old then went out and showcased his skills for the crowd, blending power with finesse in a six-minute master class against his unheralded German opponent, who was fighting in the United States for the first time.
Fury peppered Schwarz (24-1, 16 KOs) with his jab in the first round and mixed in hooks and uppercuts. He switched to a southpaw stance in the second round, rushed the 25-year-old with a compact combination and finished the fight moments later to applause from the sellout crowd of 9,012.
“That was amazing. Tyson Fury is a force of nature,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who signed Fury to a co-promotional deal this year. “This was one of the great shows I’ve ever seen, and not just because of the boxing. He’s an entertainer. He is truly unique.”
Fury probably will fight again in the fall and could fight Wilder in the first quarter of 2020. Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) had knocked out 39 of his first 40 opponents but couldn’t stop Fury, who endured two knockdowns to last all 12 rounds.
Fury gained 12 pounds (he weighed in Friday at 263) to fight Schwarz with the intention of becoming more powerful — perhaps in preparation for a rematch with Wilder.
Arum said that nothing is finalized but reaffirmed his confidence in his fighter.
“Now that he’s in shape, he can knock out every heavyweight in the world,” Arum said. “I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali.”