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Is Tyson Fury the Real Deal?

Tyson Fury - Getty Imags
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Standing an imposing 6’9″ and boasting as tough a name as a Hollywood film-making wizard could conjure, it is impossible to overlook Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) as a character, if not a player, in today’s heavyweight division.

Fury possesses an impressive record and a colorful, charismatic personality with a display of antics as diverse as his intriguing background. While these components make Fury a certified attraction, one has to question if that is enough to ordain the likable Brit as the genuine article.

Fury certainly has a boxing lineage that would suggest that the fighting strand has firmly infused itself to his DNA. His father, “Gypsy” John Fury (so named for his Irish Traveler heritage) fought professionally as a heavyweight in the 80’s, initially as a bare-knuckle fighter. His cousin Hughie Fury is likewise a towering, undefeated professional standing 6’6″ and working his way up the heavyweight ladder. Only time will tell if Tyson will be furious enough to match the status of his smaller cousin, WBO Middleweight world champion, Andy Lee.

In contrast to his father’s moniker Fury has fought almost exclusively in the United Kingdom with only two bouts contended elsewhere. The first took place in Quebec City, Canada with Fury winning an eight-round unanimous decision over deceptively tough gatekeeper, Zack Page (21-32-2, 5 KOs).

His 2013 venture from the UK found him across the pond at Madison Square Garden in New York City and nearly ended in disaster against Steve U.S.S. Cunningham. Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) was a recent addition to the heavyweight division and had dropped 3 of his last 4 bouts including one for IBF Cruiserweight belt.

Despite a six inch height differential and 45 pound disadvantage, 5-1 underdog Cunningham dropped Fury heavily with a right hand in Round 2. Fury beat the count and survived the round to take over the rest of the contest and eventually overpower Cunningham in the seventh. The conclusion of the fight left Fury with the look of a fighter either overcoming adversity or being exposed.

Fury has fared much better on his home turf. In 2011 Fury battled Dereck Chisora, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision and claimed the British Heavyweight and Commonwealth (British Empire) Heavyweight championships. He would relinquish both of those titles in lieu of facing David Price, a fledgling contender who had defeated Fury in the amateur ranks.

Following several more wins Fury, now the mandatory WBC contender, granted Chisora a rematch in 2014. The fireworks started early at the press conference as Fury blasted Chisora with a colorful display of obscenity laced verbal abuse that amused many and offended a few. His penalty of £15000 was just his latest reprimand by the BBoC who promised more astringent penalties should his behavior, with an emphasis on his vocabulary, not improve drastically. The fight itself held less hijinks as Fury forced Chisora to retire in his corner in 10.

Fury has made a case deemed sufficient by the sanctioning bodies that places him in the on deck circle to challenge the dominant, long reigning heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) is the first opponent to nearly rival Fury in size; one whose resume is a laundry list of vanquished one time hopefuls and big talking adversaries.

Fury will surely garner a career high payday and place himself squarely in the spotlight against the most dangerous heavyweight walking upright in the world. Given the disparity of their respective pedigrees it is very difficult to envision Fury wresting the crown from Klitscho’s grip. Those sort of endings only happen in Hollywood.

 

 

 

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