By: Sean Crose
Although the official pay per view numbers haven’t come in, Saturday’s heavyweight title throwdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury has at least one fan of note. “Two great fighters,” US President Donald Trump said of the battle, in which Fury essentially mopped the floor with Wilder, who had sent him to the mat twice in a previous battle a year earlier. “It was really very exciting,” Trump continued. “Maybe we have to bring them both to the White House—I don’t know—because that was really a good one. I think we’ll do that.”
Fury and Wilder certainly wouldn’t be the first major fighters to appear at the White House, nor would they likely be the last. Presidents have reportedly had relationships with top boxers since at least the administration of Teddy Roosevelt. What’s more, Wilder has already been to the Oval Office at least once before. He appeared with Trump, Lennox Lewis (who had appeared on Trump’s show “The Apprentice”) and others when Trump posthumously pardoned former heavyweight champ Jack Johnson in 2018. In an age of easy offense, however, fighters who appear with prominent politicians risk turning off at least considerable parts of their fan bases.
One person who would apparently love to have Fury meet the President is none other than Fury’s father, John. He thinks the visit would be a perfect way for Fury to wrap up what’s become quite the illustrious career. “I want my son to retire now,” the elder Fury told “Good Morning Britain” of Tyson. “That’s just my opinion. That’s what I want him to do.” To Fury senior, a meeting with the American President would be icing on the cake. “That’s good for a Fury, isn’t it?” he said of the possibility of a White House visit. “I’m a big fan of Donald Trump,” he added.
One man who is most certainly not a fan of Trump is Fury’s co-promoter, Bob Arum. A former employee of Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, Arum has frequently spoken out against Trump in public. Whether or not Arum would try to convince his fighter not to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, however, is another matter entirely. Neither Fury nor Wilder come across as men who particularly care what other people think of them. It’s hard to imagine either man being influenced, for instance, by a Twitter hashtag.