Tyson Fury’s name now boldly engraved in boxing history
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Cape Town - Tyson Fury is the greatest of his generation – and among the elite who have worn the heavyweight champion crown.
In his emphatic bossing of Deontay Wilder, Fury did it all, and he never has to throw another punch to determine a legacy that is now engraved in boxing history.
Wilder, pre the Fury trilogy, fought 41 times and won 41 times by knockout. In the 30 rounds that he has boxed against Fury (12, 7 and 11), he has knocked down the Gypsy King four times, but could never knock him out. Fury, in contrast, knocked Wilder down seven times in the last two fights, with the seventh time ending Wilder’s night and possibly his career.
Fury took the punches of a man rated the hardest puncher in boxing history, with Wilder’s one-punch power described by boxing promoter Lou DiBella as even more destructive than Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Ernie Shavers.
Fury, in all three fights, displayed every quality of a great in how he boxed, how he fought and how he survived.
He drew the first fight, but many felt the knockdown (of Fury) in the 12th round cost him victory. In the second fight, a heavier and more conditioned Fury battered Wilder into submission, stunning the boxing community with his punching power in dismantling and dethroning him.
Few expected Fury to deliver on his promise that he would knock out Wilder. The boxing experts always gave him a chance of winning a points decision, but said he lacked the punching power to switch off Wilder’s lights.
Fury made a mockery of his doubters in the second fight and made an even more damning statement in the way he won the third and final one. Wilder took more punches from Fury in those 11 rounds than he had taken in his entire professional career.
Fury landed 150 out of the 385 punches he threw (39%), and in the 10th round threw 55 punches, and landed 22 blows in the ninth.
Fury landed 36 out of 117 jabs (30.8%) while Wilder landed just nine out of 102 jab attempts, and didn’t succeed with a single jab in the last three rounds of the fight.
“I will always have been the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring magazine champion,” Fury told the media in describing himself as the greatest heavyweight of his generation.
“I can only be the best of my day, and I’ve done that. I am the greatest heavyweight of my era, without a doubt.”
Fury refused to look beyond his own career and said it was not his style to compare champions from different eras. He felt it was improper.
“I can never fight people from the past, so I won’t disrespect anyone.”
He said he could only be judged on who he fought and how he performed, and reminded everyone that no fighter had beaten him and that he had destroyed Wilder, a boxer many felt could never be beaten.
He also emphasised the point that he beat the count four times from the hardest puncher in boxing, which no other boxer had managed in 41 fights against Wilder.
In response to being asked what went through his mind after Wilder knocked him down twice in the fourth round of the third fight, he said “not a great deal”.
“You go swimming and you are going to get wet. You mess with fire long enough, you’ll get burnt. I have had three fights with the biggest puncher in the history of my sport, in my division. And he caught me. He caught me twice in the fourth round. But I was never thinking: ‘Oh this is over’. I was thinking: ‘OK, good shot, but I will get you back in a minute. And I did.
“I was very conscious. I saw the ref go ‘three, four’. I was always there. He shook me. He put me down. But that is boxing and it is life as well. It is not about how many times you get put down or how many times you lose. It is about how you can come back and get up and keep moving forward.”
Fury’s comments echo his life. He continues to fight depression on a daily basis, admitting it is a fight he will never win, but one he is determined not to lose.
He has battled booze and drug addiction and his weight ballooned to 180 kilograms when he was inactive a few years ago.
The demons, he says, will always be there, but so, too, is his appetite to shine light on the darkness.
Fury has always divided opinion and there are many who refuse to acknowledge just how good he is, but each time Fury gets into the ring he makes fools of the non-believers and turns a few more into believers.