It seems strange to say that Tyson Fury, a man at the top of the boxing world, with the skills both inside and outside the ring to make us delight in his every appearance, has a problem.
But boxing isn’t easy, is it? It doesn’t make it easy for itself. Boxing isn’t easy to defend, or easy to like, it hurts itself regularly and last year was no different.
You see, boxing is constantly changing, endlessly finding ways to get eyes on their product and bums on their seats. And so now we have several types of boxing;
The title defence, perhaps the purest of the boxing competitions, boxers who have fought themselves, dragged themselves with skill and will, into the title picture. And then the champs, desperate to stay on top, so much at stake.
The non title tasty treat. Boxers we want to see fight, that just have to fight, the unfinished business of a Kell Brook v Amir Khan, but also sometimes part of the ‘roll up, roll up’ hoopla that often throws up some fiscally fabulous possibilities, like Chris Eubank Jr v Conor Benn.
Credit; 02 Arena
The celebrity exhibition. YouTubers v MMAers, very much like the Blue Collar boxing when a banker with abs boxed a banker without abs; the exhibition surely grabs us because someone could be knocked out, TKO’d with a vengeance. Boxing in which the boxers didn’t come the gym, haven’t been boxing since they were 6 and fancied having a go.
You might say that boxing is in a mess.
Where Does Tyson Fury Fit In?
In the middle of that mess, he thrives. He doesn’t do what we expect, he says things that surprise and delight, he says he’ll retire and we bite, he unretires and we gasp, he says he’ll fight 3 times this year and we coo, he mentioned Joe Joyce and we raise our eyebrows.
Fury controls the narrative. He is at the centre of the chaos, sometimes causing it and enjoying it, it is his to use.
Credit; The New York Times
The Fight Is On
In the social media world, that is. Why? Oleksandr Usyk has been asking where Tyson is. It’s almost a Twitter series and it’s fun, it also takes the battle to Fury. And Fury won’t be used to that, he’s usually tue one asking the questions, prompting the answers, controlling things. Fury hasn’t tweeted anything original for weeks.
Why Does Fury Care About Usyk?
Fighters are defined by their opponents. And generally, that’s the series they had; Ali v Frazier. Canelo v GGG. The list goes on. Few remember Ali v Chuck Wepner or Ron Lyle, the series he had, the Frazier and Foreman fights are what is remembered.
Credit; The Guardian
Tyson Fury is not there yet. He’ll be remembered as one of the best heavyweights of all time, he’s one of the best right now.
And that’s the rub. There’s another champ who can make that claim too, the Usyk gent van make that claim too.
I’m a big Tyson Fury fan, he has a self-belief, a resilience I have seldom seen, he has a fantastic engine, uses his physical attributes to a wonderful advantage and is so unpredictable – as I’ve said before, if he doesn’t know what he’s going to do, how can his opponents.
He is amazing at boxing.
There’s the Purity Problem. Fury has his trilogy, against Deontay Wilder and his fights against the Bronze Bomber were extraordinary, amazing, memorable. It defined both of them.
That was a piece of boxing Purity. Belts were at stake. Reputations hung in the balance. It had a finality.
But the fights against Dillian Whyte (even if he was no1 contender) and Derek Chisora have sullied that Purity and the retire, fight Francis Ngannou, all the rest of the fun of the fair just sullies the pristine nature of the Wilder trilogy.
Bring On Usyk
And this is the irony. Usyk is a small Heavyweight, very small and remarkably mobile. He is a better boxer than Tyson Fury, but is he better all round?
Some think Fury never wanted to find out. But he might have no choice he needs his Boxing Purity back. And soon a date might be announced; as The Mirror recently said;
‘Tyson Fury has Ricky Hatton’s backing to beat Oleksandr Usyk if the pair manage to agree terms on a heavyweight unification fight, with ‘The Hitman’ suggesting his countryman is “better in every area.’
I can’t wait.