Fury – Joshua | The Great and the Glorious
By: Courtney Riley
Fighters work their whole lives, shedding gallons upon gallons of bodily fluids, to make their ascension to the summit of the sport by becoming the champ – the man who sits above the pile of hungry contenders who are steadily vying for their own chance at glory. Glory, however, comes from a victory in a title fight whereas greatness is attained from the actions that are taken thereafter. For instance, will the likes of Charles Martin (23-1, 21 KOs) be remembered as a ‘great’ after being dethroned in only his first title-defence to Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs)?
Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) is the lineal world heavyweight champion. In short, he is ‘the man’ in the sport’s ‘glamour division’. He was crowned king after traveling to the champion’s backyard in Germany to claim three of the four major belts. However, it is the new titlist, Anthony Joshua, who is basking in the adoration of the public. History has shown us that winning the belt alone does not automatically win over the hearts of the public. In fact, many losing fighters have transcended to become the ‘people’s champ’. Look at Frank Bruno (40-5, 38 KOs) for example, he lost three world title challenges to Tim Witherspoon, Mike Tyson, then Lennox Lewis before finally winning the coveted WBC belt from Oliver McCall in 1995; only to lose it in his very first defence to a post-incarcerated Mike Tyson in a rematch 6 months later. Frank Bruno was (and still is) one of Britain’s favourite ever boxers – the people’s champ. So what’s the trick? Is there a secret to unlocking hearts?
Tyson Fury is the fighter who took the hard road. He claimed the English, the British, the Commonwealth, then the European titles before taking on the undisputed world heavyweight champion in Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) to challenge for the World WBA, WBO, and IBF titles. He dared to be great but his glory was somewhat dampened when the IBF placed an order for him to fight their mandatory challenger in Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1, 13 Kos). Fury was contractually bound to fight Klitschko in a rematch so could not fulfil his mandatory obligation to defend of the IBF belt. He was stripped of the title as a result. The IBF then mandated that their mandatory and their next-ranked challenger would fight each other for their vacant belt. Thus ‘Prince’ Charles Martin was born. He claimed the belt after Glazkov was forced to retire because of a twisted knee. Martin will receive no plaudit in this article for that victory.
Martin then proceeded to ‘call out’ the sweetheart of British boxing in Anthony Joshua for his first title defence. We all saw how that ended; the paper-champ flew into London and was torn to shreds inside two rounds by the same counter right hand that had floored him a few seconds earlier. He failed to beat the count after sitting down on what he proved himself to be – a bum. No credit is being taken away from Joshua though. The lad is immensely talented and has all the attributes to go on and dominate the division like a Lennox Lewis or a Wladimir Klitschko before him. He won the title in only his 16th fight after destroying all previous challengers via knock-out. The boy is a beast and is a specimen of a man. His good looks has wooed the women and his humility has resonated with the public. His events are always a sell-out and soon enough, even your momma will know his name, I can bet that your sister already does. The boy is fast becoming a household name under promoter Eddie Hearn’s guidance, but no one can justifiable call him a hype-job. It is true that he has yet to fight anyone of note, and even his world title victory was against what is quite possibly the worst heavyweight world champion that I have ever seen. But the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist can fight. He is still a learning his trade in the professional game and he has already claimed a world title after only 16 fights. That is a noteworthy achievement. Tyson Fury is a veteran in comparison even though he is only a year older than Joshua. Fury has fought much better opposition and has claimed the right to be called the legitimate world champion after his victory over Klitschko. He has a chance to banish any idea that the public may harbour about his victory in Germany being a fluke when he meets Klitschko in a rematch in July. This should pave the way for a massive unification bout for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world against the winner of the WBC title fight between Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) and Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs). Those big high-profile fights would generate more than enough coin to line the pockets of generations of Furys, as well as solidifying his credentials as a great among the pantheon of boxing legends. He could then go out by having an all-British showdown against Anthony Joshua to win over the hearts and minds of the British public. Joshua on the other hand, should he continue his winning ways, will have the chance to claim all the belts and turn all of is glory into greatness.
It is a fantastic new era to be a boxing fan. And I, for one, I am loving it.