Tyson Fury: a legacy not yet complete

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In the early hours of Sunday 10th October, Tyson Fury cemented his place as the best heavyweight boxer in the world after defeating challenger Deontay Wilder in the third fight of an enthralling trilogy. Fury secured victory with an 11th round knockout.

The fight was one for the history books, with Fury’s promoter Bob Arum claiming, “I’ve been in this business 57 years promoting fights and I truly have to say I have never seen a heavyweight fight as magnificent as this.”

Fury showed once again that he is a natural born fighter, standing at six feet nine inches and weighing just under 126kg. Despite his size, Fury moves like the best of them, drawing comparisons to greats like Muhammad Ali.

Fury’s boxing ability can be seen in the statistics from the fight. Wilder threw 355 punches only landing 72, or 20.3 per cent of them. Contrastingly, Fury landed more than double the number of shots, connecting with Wilder 150 times over the 11 rounds.

The fight was an exhibition of raw power against fighting savvy and skill. At any time, a right hook from Wilder could have stopped the fight – in the fourth round it nearly did as Fury was knocked down twice.

Fury’s next steps could position him as the best boxer of all time.

In response to being knocked down, Fury said, “This was one of my greatest wins. I got off the floor to do it. I am the big dog in the division.”

By being the “big dog” at the moment, Fury is now no longer competing only with those who he meets in the ring. Rather, Fury is in a battle with the former greats of the sport, building a legacy to compete with any fighter who has gone before.

Fury is looking to move up into the ranks of Ali, Tyson and Sugar Ray Robinson, and an undefeated record puts him some way into the conversation. However, his legacy is not yet complete.

Fury’s next steps could position him as the best boxer of all time by collecting all four of the heavyweight belts and becoming the first unified heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000.

The future is complicated. Fury may be ordered by the WBC to fight the winner of the match between Dillian Whyte and Otto Wallin on the 30th of October unless a unification fight can be arranged.

The difficulty with a unification fight is that Anthony Joshua has triggered a rematch clause following his loss to Oleksander Usyk in an attempt to regain the belts which were once his.

Fury, therefore, is likely to be forced into a fight with either Whyte or Wallin as Joshua is unlikely to step away from his bout with Usyk, and it may be a long time before Fury is granted a shot at unification.

The future of one of the best fighters is uncertain.

If Fury is to become a unified heavyweight champion before he retires, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest boxers ever. But, as potential opponent Whyte has suggested, “Fury is an unpredictable man who might say: “I am done!”

Fury has been aloof about his future following the fight, stating, “Before I start thinking about other men I am going to bask in my victory.” It would be impossible for Fury to have not considered the ramifications of his victory over Wilder. Avoiding questions regarding his next move is not a signal of indifference or thoughtlessness, but one of uncertainty. 

Many factors out of the control of Fury’s team must fall neatly into place if a unification bout is to go ahead, and it seems unlikely to happen in the next year or two. Fury could realise this and go out on a high, retiring as a victor who could have had more.

While the boxing world hopes that retirement is not on the table, the future of one of the best fighters ever is uncertain. The only man who can dictate how Fury’s legacy will be remembered is ‘The Gypsy King’ himself.

Image: Paul62_17 via flickr

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