Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Who The F*ck is Tom Schwarz?

I see plenty of casual and hardcore fans alike on social media already calling this fight before it’s even begun. Tyson Fury will have no trouble beating Tom Schwarz is the rhetoric being bounced around the heavyweight boxing fandom at the moment.

Even ESPN are running stories saying a Schwarz win would be a Rocky-like upset – a complete disrespect shown to Schwarz from the so-called biggest sports network on the planet.

But why is that? Why are people writing off a fighter who is quite frankly untested against the sports elite? He is an unknown quantity but that does not mean Tom Schwarz is a poor fighter.

Seeing as today is the big day I wanted to break down the boxer Tom Schwarz and hopefully provide some light on what you should genuinely expect when both men touch gloves later tonight.

When you have a 25-year old and a 30-year old squaring off age shouldn’t factor too much into it, both men are in the prime of their athletic lives, Schwarz does hold an advantage here but the advantage is minimal if not non-existent.

More importantly is the fact that Schwarz fights out of the orthodox stance (left foot farther in front of the right foot, thus having his weaker side closer to the opponent) with the typical German, high guard boxing style.

So far Schwarz is unbeaten with a 24-0 and 16 fight stoppages. That’s only 3 less than his opponent, the Lineal Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury.

Unlike Andy Ruiz Jr. Who successfully knocked off Anthony Joshua at the beginning of June, Schwarz is yet to scrap it out for a world championship but he does lay claim to the WBO Inter-continental heavyweight championship after taking the gold from Senad Gashi (albeit in controversial fashion) and Kristijan Krstacic.

Tom Schwarz journeyman

Tom Schwarz

Schwarz has often been given the tag of a journeyman, or a soon to be journeyman fighter yet despite that he’s managed to beat everyone that’s been put in front of him.

Okay, I will be the first to admit his stats are a little padded and the level of fighter he’s been pitted against does make you question whether Schwarz can handle the very best pound-for-pound fighter on planet earth.

The German is simply a young fighter still learning his craft – unlike Ruiz who had more experience than Joshua 5-fold.

In the ring you’ll see some similarities to Deontay Wilder, typically in the form of his extended load-up for the right-hook. It’s obvious to see when he’s gunning for you with it.

Unlike Wilder, however, Tom Schwarz can box at a professional boxers level, he has a lot of power but he isn’t a one-trick pony. Schwarz is at his best when he can turn the fight into a scrappy affair, he’s not going to outbox Fury but if the fight turns scrappy there’s a very good chance that Fury records his first ever loss tonight.

In my genuine opinion, I do see this fight being a bit of a no contest but that isn’t because I don’t believe Schwarz is a good fighter, I simply believe this fight has come way too early for him in terms of the level of opponent he’s up against.

Had Schwarz been in the ring with a Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker or Adam Kownacki then I truly believe he’d have a hell of a chance of winning but he’s taking on the gypsy king instead.

Tyson Fury is arguably the best out and out heavyweight boxer since the golden age in the 90’s. He understands full well that Schwarz can make this fight interesting if it turns into a blow for blow contest. Tyon is smart, he’ll keep his distance, work the jab and use the german high guard to his advantage when targeting the body.

I do believe Fury will hit the mat 2 or 3 times however, one of the things that Schwarz has going for him is his impeccable timing to follow up on his jabs with power punches, the majority if his scored knockdowns have come because his opponent cannot see his follow up coming, it’s that well timed.

Looking back across all 25 fights there is one fight that sticks in my mind as his best all-around contest. Schwarz took on Christian Lewandowski, I won’t give you any spoilers but have a watch of the below.

So what about the rest of Tom Schwarz’ game? – Here’s a quick overview.

Adaptability – Schwarz’ strong point isn’t his ability to change his style up dependent on his opponent, he’s a strong-style, high guard typical German fighter, that will not change regardless of whether he’s facing Tyson Fury or Mike Tyson.

Aggressiveness – If Schwarz smells blood the chances are it’s lights out for you. to begin with, Schwarz fights with a fair amount of caution as he looks to figure you out, but if he rocks you with one shot he turns into a machine, hell-bent on knocking you out.

Body Shots – Schwarz fights in really interesting bursts, he’ll fire a 3-4 shot combo aiming for the head before retreating and firing 3-4 shots at the body if the opportunity presents itself. I wouldn’t call him a body shot boxer like Ruiz Jr. but he certainly knows how and when to use body shots to his advantage.

Calculated – This is where I think Schwarz’ strengths lay. As I mentioned above if he rocks his opponent then there’s a good chance he puts his game plan to one side and goes for the knockout. However, the majority of the time he will be cautious in his approach as he looks for the openings.

Confidence – My impression with Schwarz is that he tries too hard to be the cool and collected guy. He certainly appears to have confidence but I can’t help but think he looks lost an awful lot of the time, especially in front of the cameras. – In the ring he’s as confident as they come, it’s not often you see the big German retreat once the bell sounds.

Cross – A lot of pro-level fighters somehow forget the basics of throwing a cross (or straight), often time the fighter is supposed to throw across his jawline, using it as a line of sight of sorts in order to execute the punch well. Typically speaking, Schwarz throws a good cross punch and follows his jawline well, what impressed me the most was his power that he pulls from his hips and shoulders as he follows through.

Defence – Defensively speaking Schwarz is a bit of a dense lump, it takes a lot to rock him anyway but more importantly, it takes a well-structured shot to break his guard. Fighting with a high-guard, much like Klitschko did, makes it awkward for a taller fighter to beat you over the top, it makes punching awkward. Therefore Schwarz’ guard does formidably well against shots to the head.

Against body shots, he’s less effective in defence but that’s a rule of thumb across the boxing landscape anyway, it’s hard to defend the body as well as you defend your face.

His ability to dodge and weave is minimal, instead, Schwarz will rather trust in his guard and eat the punch if you’re good enough to make it through. Not the smartest strategy in the world but it’s served him flawlessly thus far in his career.

Foot Speed As I mentioned above, Schwarz’ foot speed is as European as it gets when it comes to heavyweights. When he’s on the offensive he tends to move his feet well enough to be effective, however when he’s attempting to escape the firing line he resembles a bus doing a 3-point turn.

Footwork – Tom Schwarz has a powerful base, he keeps low and uses that stability to keep him upright on the odd occasion that he does get shaken. His fundamentals are strong (again, typical of a German boxer) and he’s shifty enough to make his footwork count whilst he’s throwing the hook.

Hand Speed – Okay, so this isn’t particularly good, in fact, I’d struggle to call his hand speed average and that’s one of the reasons he may never venture beyond his current status in boxing. For an experienced boxer, it is very easy to telegraph what he wants to throw and when he wants to throw it. Post-punch is where this effects him most as he can often to lose out to a heavy string of counter punches.

Heart I struggle to comment on a fighters’ heart in all honesty, we have no idea what they’ve dealt with pre-fight or what the effects of taking shots can have on them in the ring. You can see Schwarz loves what he does, you can tell he’s a formidable and respected fighter but I could not tell you whether he gets up after being floored by a decent power puncher.

It would be foolish to expect the levels of heart Fury showed against Wilder in the final round, but I would expect Schwarz to show enough passion in his work to try and beat the 10-count no matter what.

Hook – Without a doubt my favourite part of watching Schwarz throw it down in the ring, his hook is so well timed, often a follow up from his jab and the amount of power he gets behind it is incredibly, especially considering the fact he usually throws it from the inside which doesn’t give him as much room as it would from the outside.

Jab – Strong, sharp, effective but no better or worse than you’d expect from a top 10 heavyweight boxer. A good boxer builds his game off of the jab, much like every one of them Schwarz can and does use his jab frequently with great success.

Power – Whilst Schwarz doesn’t have power on the levels of Wilder or Mike Tyson he certainly can throw it down with the best of them. I wouldn’t argue against Schwarz having more power than the likes of Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. The way Tom Schwarz generates so much power at such short distances, much like Mike Tyson did albeit Tyson did it on a far larger level is mind-blowing.

Stamina – If Wilder is the most unfit fighter in the division and Fury the fittest, then I think it would be fitting to slap Schwarz somewhere in the middle. He’s not going to look fresh after 12-rounds but he doesn’t have any issues going the distance and taking home a victory.

Uppercut – I think Tom Schwarz uppercut is surprisingly strong, unfortunately, he much prefers to finish you off with a hook or attempt to set up a hook from a body shot if his opponent buries his head. His uppercut is very good but for whatever reason, he just doesn’t find himself in a situation where he trusts it as much as his hook on a regular basis.

The outcome of this fight doesn’t matter to me too much, don’t expect fight of the year level stuff here but If you tune in i’m sure you’ll find an enjoyable fight with two very different boxers stylistically speaking.

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