October 18, 2021

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Gypsy King Tyson Fury reigns supreme over heavyweight division

Tyson Fury has hailed his trilogy victory over Deontay Wilder as one of his greatest wins.

History will likely look back on it as one of the all-time great wins by any boxer in history.

Fury-Wilder 3 was rare enough in that it pitched two fighters together in a meaningful fight at the very peak of their powers.

What made it even rarer was the high standard of what turned into a hellacious slugfest, which delivered on all of its promises.

In beating Wilder for the second time after a bloody, brutal, seesawing encounter in Las Vegas, Fury has underlined what many already knew: The Gypsy King is the king of the heavyweights.

And not just in this generation either — arguably since The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

Not since Ali has a heavyweight been able to float around the ring the way Fury does, dancing on his toes while swaying in and out of range of the concussive bombs being flung his way, throwing his own stinging rebukes back with interest.

And never before has that elusive boxing butterfly weighed in excess of 125kg.

Ali, for the record, weighed 107.1kg at his heaviest, but typically fought at under 100kg during his career.

Tyson Fury punches Deyontay WilderTyson Fury punches Deyontay Wilder
Tyson Fury dug deep to beat Deyontay WIlder for the second time.(

Getty: MB Media

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Comparing fighters of different eras is problematic in so many ways, but the case can be made that, of the current crop of maximum-weight fighters, only new unified champ Oleksandr Usyk can hold a candle to Fury’s talent — but we’ll get to him in a bit.

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Fury combines that Ali-like movement with all the pre-fight pizzazz any promoter could ask for, delivering soundbites galore both pre- and post-fight, chipping away at Wilder mentally before carving great lumps out of him in the ring with his exceptional ring craft, then skipping away like a delighted schoolboy having knocked him down for the third and final time of the night.

But Fury had to dig deep, dredging every inch of his supreme talent to overcome the greatest challenger he has ever faced.

They might be ranked one and two, but this fight brings down the curtain on the greatest direct rivalry the heavyweight scene has enjoyed in years.

There should be no more chapters to write in this rivalry. Wilder has been pummelled twice now, and arguably lost to an out-of-shape Fury in their first contest, too.

Deyontay Wilder falls face first to the ground with a man in a blue shirt trying to catch him and Tyson Fury watching onDeyontay Wilder falls face first to the ground with a man in a blue shirt trying to catch him and Tyson Fury watching on
Tyson Fury knocked down Deontay Wilder three times in the contest.(

Getty: Al Bello

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The American knockout specialist has been tarred, some might say unfairly, with the label of simply being a one-trick puncher — but, in linking with Malik Scott, rediscovered some of the boxing skillset that earned him an Olympic bronze medal at Beijing 2008 in this fight.

However, even after a strong start behind his jab and a double knockdown thanks to his impossibly powerful right hand, he still fell apart under the relentless pressure being brought upon him by the British fighter.

Their trilogy will go down alongside those of Ali-Fraser and Bowe-Holyfield as one of the great series of heavyweight fights of all time — this final fight is the crowning glory of their battles.

Fury displayed one of his greatest strengths in the fight, adapting on the fly, countering fire with fire and backing his extraordinary ability to get the job done.

That was in stark contrast to the issues faced by his fellow Brit, Anthony Joshua in his latest contest.

Tyson Fury opens his mouth as he punches Deontay WilderTyson Fury opens his mouth as he punches Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury had to dig deep.(

Getty: Ethan Miller

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Oleksandr Usyk a genuine challenge

Six months is a long time in sport, but it was within that time period that there was still hope of an all-British heavyweight unification fight between Joshua and Fury.

It was a proposed contest that had the British fight press salivating but, on the evidence of their most recent contests, you’d think there would only be one outcome in any potential bout.

Joshua has spoken in the past about being “uncivilised” in the ring, counter to his nice-guy Olympic champion persona away from the squared circle.

Anthony Joshua has water sprayed on him as he leans on the ropes with his eyes closedAnthony Joshua has water sprayed on him as he leans on the ropes with his eyes closed
Is Anthony Joshua’s chance now gone?(

Getty: Julian Finney

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Yet, against Oleksandr Usyk in London last month, he displayed a civility that was just short of him holding up a mirror and asking which of the four championship belts his fellow London 2012 gold medallist wanted to try on first.

Joshua’s rigid adherence to a pre-fight strategy of trying to out-box one of the most talented pound-for-pound pugilists on the circuit played right into the Ukranian’s hands.

If Joshua is to regain his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts, he must either learn to adapt or get back to that uncivilised, violent approach that enables him to use his weight and height advantage.

How would Usyk and Fury match up? Roy Jones Jr, in commentary for DAZN, said they would be too similar and it would result in a cagey, tense fight.

Oleksandr Usyk looks up with his beltsOleksandr Usyk looks up with his belts
Oleksandr Usyk stands between Tyson Fury and undisputed status.(

Getty: Julian Finney

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However, with Usyk a natural cruiserweight and only weighing in at 100.3kg — his career heaviest, against Joshua — you can only see one winner, and should Fury become the first heavyweight since Lennox Lewis to be undisputed, it would only be to further embellish his already impressive standing.

Usyk is a tantalising prospect, but he and his belts will have to wait at least until after the rematch.

Next up for Fury appears to be the long-suffering WBC mandatory challenger, Dillian Whyte.

Another Brit, Whyte (28-2) has held the position of next-in-line for the WBC belt for more than 1,200 days.

Dillian Whyte smiles against a blue backgroundDillian Whyte smiles against a blue background
Dillian Whyte has been as busy as he has been patient while the WBC mandatory challenger.(

Getty: James Chance

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Whyte’s only unavenged defeat came against Joshua in 2015, in a seventh round TKO, but he has since fought every second-string challenger going, recording wins over Lucas Browne, Joe Parker, Dereck Chisora (twice) and Alexander Povetkin in recent years.

True to form, Whyte fights Otto Wallin later this month, a serious test that could scupper his chances of a shot at the major belt. Again. 

Whoever Fury fights next, there’s little doubt he has the ability to beat them and beat them well.

Fury did not comment on his future after the fight other than to say he was due a holiday, but his story is not yet run. 

It’s a story that might yet still turn into a tragedy.

But, for now, the story of this champion is a furious triumph of success against demons both inside and outside the ring in which he is, without doubt, one of the all time greats.

Tyso Fury points and looks up wearing a cap and two boxing beltsTyso Fury points and looks up wearing a cap and two boxing belts
Tyson Fury was knocked down twice, but still prevailed.(

Getty: Al Bello

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