The Odd Title Reign Of Tyson Fury
By: Sean Crose
Tyson Fury stunned a good part of the boxing world late last year when he captured the heavyweight title – or at least the vast majority of it – from longtime heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. Those who knew of Fury beforehand, those who were familiar with his mouth and antics, knew right off the bat that the fight world would henceforth be in for a wild ride. And, truth be told, Fury hasn’t disappointed. For the Englishman has crashed a post-fight ring party in New York for fellow titlist Deontay Wilder, has offended the cultural sensibilities of his home country and has been stripped of the IBF portion of the heavyweight title pie.
With a rematch with Klitschko on the way, however, some are pointing out that Fury isn’t taking his next fight seriously. If true, this is a big mistake on the part of the new champion. For he himself has recently admitted that Klitschko nearly knocked him out a few times in their first bout – though this might come across as news to anyone who saw the bout. Still, it’s being noted that the man has put on weight, and that he’s appearing nonchalant about his ring future. Whether most – or any of this – is true or not is anyone’s guess.
Nonetheless, it adds to Fury’s reputation for being an outlier and even something as a loose cannon within the sport. Those who are familiar with Fury’s story, of course, are aware of the fact that Fury either accepts his outsider standing or even relishes it outright. As a member of Britain’s Irish Traveller minority, Fury is part of an ethnic subculture that has more than seen its share of discrimination. In other words, Fury’s never been a mainstream guy.
With that in mind, however, there’s no denying that the undefeated champion’s behavior and words are often contradictory and/or erratic. For instance, Fury has recently claimed that Klitschko intentionally lost their first fight. Who in the world says that about the man he’s won a title from unless there was serious evidence to suggest as much?
Then there’s the instance of Fury diminishing rising star Anthony Joshua’s Adonis-like physique while speaking admirably of the man a short time later (or was it before?). The truth is that no one, perhaps this even includes Fury himself, knows what Fury is apt to say or do next. One moment he’s hungry to put down his peers, the next he’s close to dismissing his profession entirely. Needless to say, it’s all quite confusing.
Perhaps, however, that’s all part of the trick. Perhaps Fury wants to confuse people, to have them not know whether he’s coming or going. If one thing was certain at the end of last year, it was that Fury had gotten inside Klitchko’s head. Whether he was dressing up as Batman for a press conference or getting the better of his man, via verbal sparring, it was clear Fury was bullying the Ukranian legend effectively.
What to make of this odd title reign, then? Will it end quickly? Will Klitschko rapidly reestablish himself (at least to a large degree) when the two men meet again this summer (this time in Britain rather than in Germany)? Or will Fury prove himself again? If so, it may be clear to everyone that Tyson Fury won’t be going anywhere. Unless, of course, he himself chooses to. Or unless a talented up and comer gets to him. People would be well advised not to write the man off, though.
For Fury is nothing if not absolutely full of surprises. In fact, that’s arguably part of this weird guy’s charm.