June 27, 2016
June 27, 2016
Tyson Fury

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IT has, to say the least, been an eventful few days for Tyson Fury. He is the world heavyweight champion, holder of the WBA and WBO titles but through misfortune he has been more inactive in recent years than hoped. He missed out on two fights with David Haye with the latter withdrawing. An injury to Wladimir Klitschko postponed their first fight and now, after Tyson sprained his ankle, their rematch will have to be rescheduled again.

Fury is a perplexing character. He was reportedly present at a rave weeks in advance of his heavyweight world title fight, an unorthodox public appearance for a fighter in training camp and this weekend, while his team were forced to deny a drug testing allegation published in the Sunday Mirror, Fury himself surfaced at Euro 2016, buying a substantial round of 200 jaegerbombs for English football fans.

Presumably that kind of largesse will make him something of a cult hero to his supporters. (Who in England indeed doesn’t love a jaegerbomb?) Tyson, I suppose, will always be Tyson. Often he causes great offense, occasionally issues an apology but ultimately he does what he chooses. He is uncontrolled, unrestrained, a man who had no fear of Wladimir Klitschko, who was the dominant champion for the last decade. So many before had been intimidated once they found themselves in the ring with Klitschko. Not so Fury.

Many like their sportspeople to be rolemodels, though this is not an obligation, even for a heavyweight champion of the world. The issue for Fury is these delays, distractions and diversions are happening all at the wrong time. He should be at the height of his powers and the peak of his fame after beating Klitschko in a tremendous upset. If he could just get the rematch out the way, huge fights await. Fury versus Deontay Wilder, the WBC titlist, would be a transatlantic event, the build up alone between those two huge personalities would be unmissable. A world title unification clash with British rival Anthony Joshua would be monumental, one of the biggest fights that could be made in the sport. Yet an uncomfortable drift is setting in. Now the Klitschko rematch has to be remade, probably for October, pushing these unification fights further back to a distant horizon. That’s the problem. Certain fights shouldn’t left too long, if they are, they might just drift away out of reach.