By John “Gutterdandy” Walker
“Tyson Fury’s afraid to fight Joshua, Tyson Fury’s afraid to fight Usyk….
“This is why boxing is dying, because these fights aren’t mandatory.
“Knocking out a Fury and fucking up their whole boxing legacy would be fun for me.”
—Jake Paul, “YouTube boxer”
If Gypsy John Fury was humiliated after being called out by Mickey Theo over his offer to fight and destroy any man in his 50s, that was nothing compared to what light-heavyweight “YouTube boxer” Jake Paul was preparing to do to the Fury family.
Tommy Fury, a cruiserweight fighter trained by none other than his father “Gypsy John,” became famous in the UK not for his fighting prowess, but for his appearances on reality shows. Unlike both his world champion heavyweight brother Tyson and his father, who are possessed of rather doughy, lumpy physiques, Tommy Fury at least appears to be very physically fit, with tanned, rippling muscles and the kind of looks more akin to a male model than a boxer.
As the Furys’ rose to fame during Tyson’s wins over Deontay Wilder, and the family became ever more confident of their place at the top of the boxing game, Tommy and Gypsy John made a decision that would come back to haunt them: they would get involved with rising American “YouTube boxer” Jake Paul and agree to a fight with him.
Tommy, after all, had been boxing since he was a young lad, and this American interloper, who was already making a fortune knocking out MMA stars and even ex-NBA basketball players on USA pay-per-views, offended the Furys’ boxing purist sensibilities. But while Tommy (and even more so Gypsy John) began to loudly and profanely boast about the damage they intended to inflict on Paul in the boxing ring and elsewhere, the American was busy in the gym, honing his craft.
Truth be told, Jake Paul wasn’t a fake boxer who could be taken lightly: he was actually serious about this boxing thing, and was learning quickly. He also saw the Furys as cherry pickers and duckers, people who did far more talking than fighting, and thus a big part of the problem with current professional boxing. He wanted to do damage to their reputations, take them down from the lofty perch from which they threw stones at others. And he wanted Tommy Fury, who to this point had fought very carefully selected opponents, to be his first test against an actual professional boxer.
After an initial ring meeting between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul in 2021 fell through due to an injury to Fury (Paul doubted the story), things got even more heated between the two men. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Tyson Fury, fresh off his second WBC world heavyweight title defense with a TKO stoppage of a curiously lethargic Dillian Whyte and now supposedly “retired from boxing,” also became embroiled in a war of words with Jake Paul.
What ended up taking place was a disastrous defeat for the Fury boxing brand.
First, John Fury, looking worn and haggard, issued a statement on YouTube now saying he wanted nothing to do with any Jake Paul fight — an amazing reversal of his earlier threats. He didn’t really explain why, instead just heaping scorn on the whole idea of “Jake Paul.” Paul immediately upped the pressure, saying Tommy was ducking him, and renaming him “Tommy Fumbles” (alternately “Timmy Fumbles”), a moniker which quickly started trending on Twitter. Tommy then took the bait, agreeing to fight Jake Paul at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on August 6. Tommy would reportedly make a career-high $2 million for this bout.
Jake Paul even managed to rope in the supposed master of boxing mind games, Tyson Fury, prodding him to agree to bet a million dollars on his brother. By doing so, of course, Tyson was–purposely perhaps–heaping even more pressure on his half-brother to live up to his vow to destroy the upstart American. And given Tommy’s mediocre recent performances in the ring, many boxing fans were now starting to favor Jake Paul to prevail in their bout.
The rest is history: the pressure mounting, with a press conference for the fight in NYC now ready to proceed, Tommy Fury, who had been in the USA recently on holiday, suddenly found that he couldn’t get on a plane bound for the USA. No specific reason for this was given, and social media “influencer” Tommy then went AWOL for a week (in social media circles, a seeming eternity). A career-high, $2 million payday for Tommy was now quickly slipping away.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren then gave some ill-advised, sheepish interviews, his eyes darting all over the place as he found himself unable to explain exactly why his charge Tommy couldn’t fight Jake Paul. “He needs to get to the Embassy and sort things out,” an uncomfortable Warren explained, seemingly trying to get a message to his missing fighter via the media. But this only further muddied the waters. Tommy Fury remained silent.
The fight of course fell through, with an exasperated Jake Paul, the historic MSG venue booked, turning to Hasim Rahman Jr., arguably a tougher challenge than Tommy Fury, as his next opponent. Paul revealed that Tyson Fury had refused to put the money for their million dollar bet in escrow, the WBC heavyweight world champion perhaps already knowing that this fight was never going to happen anyway.
To top things off, Gypsy John Fury then blurted out a message saying that his son hadn’t been training and was overweight: Tommy was then forced to come out and strongly imply that his own father was a liar. “If it’s not coming from me, don’t believe it,” Tommy said. The implosion of the Furys was complete — they were now turning on each other.
As it turned out, Jake Paul didn’t even need to get in the ring to defeat the Furys.
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