Tyson Fury: Is he an All Time Great?

Tyson Fury: Is he an All Time Great?

 

When Tyson Fury announced his retirement from professional boxing, few fight fans were convinced by his words. There was just too much in the way of ‘unfinished business’ and several boxers could have tempted the Gypsy King back into the ring.

Potential clashes with Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are still thought to be in the pipeline. For now, Fury is back, and he will face a less obvious opponent.

An Unlikely Trilogy

Tyson Fury will take on fellow British heavyweight Derek Chisora at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3rd. It’s been described in some quarters as the ‘fight that no-one wanted’ and it’s easy to understand why.

This will be the third meeting between the two men and, across the first two bouts, Chisora was simply outclassed. Early betting odds for the trilogy fight show Fury as the red-hot favorite and most boxing pundits expect the contest to be over very quickly.

He could have faced a stronger opponent and, the question has to be asked as to whether an inconsequential bout against Chisora risks tarnishing the Tyson Fury legacy.

Tyson’s Rise

Tyson Fury’s career is well-documented and his rise through the ranks of professional boxing was impressive. After a brief career in the amateur sphere, he turned pro in 2008 and undertook his first fight against Bela Gyongyosi in December of that year.

Within 12 months, Fury had already claimed the English Heavyweight title thanks to a points decision win over John McDermott. In one of his earlier defenses, the Gypsy King took on Derek Chisora for the first time. Fury was the underdog, but he would come through via a unanimous decision.

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The unbeaten run continued, and a fighter of Tyson Fury’s quality wouldn’t need to wait long until a shot at the world crown. His chance came in 2012 when he took on Vinny Maddalone for the vacant WBO title. In a one-sided fight, Fury won via a stoppage in the fifth round.

Fury continued to dominate, but his own personal demons would become his trickiest opponent. Beset by mental health issues, he eventually relinquished his world titles in 2016 and embarked on an extended break from the ring.

The Comeback

When Tyson Fury declared himself ready to return, the boxing world wasn’t sure what to expect. He had been an exceptional boxer, but would those personal issues affect his future performances?

After his boxing license was reinstated in 2018, Fury spent the early part of the year undertaking what were, ostensibly, warm up fights. Two easy wins over Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta followed and they earned the Gypsy King a tilt against World Champion Deontay Wilder.

There followed a trilogy of exceptional fights which will define Tyson Fury’s career. Two wins and a disputed draw ensued as he reclaimed his place at the top table of global heavyweight boxing.

The Tale of the Tape

Derek Chisora isn’t expected to put a dent in Tyson Fury’s near-perfect boxing record. As he approaches the contest on December the 3rd, the Gypsy King is protecting an unbeaten return.

Fury has notched 32 wins from 33 fights and the only blemish on a perfect record is that 2018 draw with Deontay Wilder. Does that record, in isolation, make him an all-time great?

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What Happens Next?

Tyson Fury has made no secret of the fact that he has wanted to take on Anthony Joshua for some time and AJ has always been open to the suggestion.

The schedules of the two fighters have yet to properly coincide. Fury v Joshua was being lined up as a world championship bout before AJ lost his defense to Oleksandr Usyk. A fight with the Gypsy King was shelved as Joshua was tied into a mandatory rematch.

Fury v Joshua would be a true Battle of Britain and a win would probably cement Fury’s place in the UK Hall of Fame.

On a wider, global basis, the only relevant opponent appears to be Oleksandr Usyk. The dangerous Ukrainian has already dispatched one British fighter and is likely to be interested in a defense against Tyson Fury.

Is Tyson Fury an All-Time Great?

The answer to this question may be dependent on what happens next. If Fury were to take on Usyk and win, it would be a remarkable achievement after another break from the ring.

It would be unfair, however, to put his entire reputation on the line on the basis of just one fight. Just by taking his unbeaten record in isolation and by looking at the opponents he has tackled, we should already be saying that Tyson Fury is an all-time great.

Perhaps the Gypsy King would be best advised to finish his grudge match with Derek Chisora before walking away for good.

Ayhan Fletcher

"Subtly charming zombie nerd. Infuriatingly humble thinker. Twitter enthusiast. Hardcore web junkie."

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