IF we know anything about the career of Tyson Fury by now it’s that a high point tends to be followed by a low point and that nothing should be taken for granted.
Not long after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, for example, Fury was plagued by injuries, mental health issues and two failed performance-enhancing drug tests, as per UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). It conspired to make his reign short-lived. It kept him out of the ring for two and a half years.
Now, weeks on from beating Deontay Wilder to win the WBC heavyweight title, Fury is again facing the prospect of old wounds being reopened and a cloud being cast over his future.
The latest drama concerns the same UKAD test Fury failed for the banned steroid nandrolone in February 2015 (for which both Tyson and his cousin, Hughie, tested positive). That case was never presented to the National Anti-Doping Panel, with the adverse findings blamed on the consumption of uncastrated wild boar, and a compromise between Fury and UKAD was reached, leaving Fury to accept a backdated two-year ban.
Almost four years on from that news breaking, however, a fresh report in The Mail on Sunday has claimed that Martin Carefoot, a farmer from Preston, was paid £25,000 in order to provide false statements about supplying the contaminated meat supposedly later consumed by Fury.
According to the report, Carefoot, completed two signed witness statements in 2017 to say he provided wild boar to the Furys which were passed to the boxers’ lawyers, Morgan Sports Law, who gave them to anti-doping investigators. The second statement included a line that read: ‘I supplied a range of animal meats and offal to Team Fury, including wild boar and pigs.’
Carefoot, though, now claims those statements, which are in the possession of The Mail on Sunday, were made up of lies. He said: “I have never kept wild boar. I have never killed a wild boar.
“I just went along with it, and they always dangled this carrot that I was going to get paid. When things got quite serious, they offered me a sum of money before it went to court in London, and a sum of money after. I went along with them because, I suppose, in my own way I was just helping them out.”
When asked if he had been willing to commit perjury for the Furys, Carefoot said: “I suppose if I’d had to. I was in too deep. They were dangling this carrot. I thought, You’re going to get 25 grand for this, it’s not a hanging matter. So I went along with it.”
As it turned out, Carefoot was never paid the money he claims he was promised, which is perhaps why now he wants to make the following clear: “I am sick of the lies and deceit,” he said, “and the public need to know the truth.”
Since Carefoot’s interview with The Mail on Sunday broke, a number of people associated with Fury have unsurprisingly leapt to his defence. Frank Warren, his promoter, was one of the first to shoot down Carefoot’s attempts to disparage the new champion’s name and cause additional damage to his reputation.
“I got a big long letter from this farmer last September [when interviewed previously he stated October but now knows it was September],” Warren told Boxing News. “He even wrote, ‘I’m writing to you sitting here at the table in my kitchen where I met Team Fury for the first time.’ Team Fury? Who’s that then? His bucket carrier? Nobody has met this man.
“I called him back and he asked for 25 grand, so I told him to piss off and take it to UKAD. But he doesn’t. Instead he goes to a national newspaper which should tell us all we need to know about a man who is claiming to have lied under oath. And now we’re to believe he’s telling the truth? Nobody should take anything he says seriously.
“Tyson thinks it’s ridiculous. He thought it was all a joke. He’s never met the man.”
In terms of what happens next, Warren is right. The case will now be left with UKAD, who intend to investigate Carefoot’s allegation. A statement from UKAD to The Mail on Sunday read: “We will always review any potential evidence in relation to any anti-doping offence and take investigatory action where necessary. If anyone has information that could be of interest to UKAD and its investigations on any matter, we urge them to contact us.”
With talk of a potential eight-year ban if Fury is found guilty, there is a need to get to the bottom of this latest drama sooner rather than later. For now, though, Fury will remain WBC heavyweight champion and continue looking ahead to a rematch against Wilder, as confirmed by the sanctioning body’s president Mauricio Sulaiman this week.
“Personally, I prefer to believe Tyson Fury ahead of someone who has already admitted to lying in legal documents for financial gain,” Sulaiman told The Sun.
“The person who has claimed he accepted money to lie should be the one on trial, in my personal opinion, especially when he has waited five years to tell his story.
“Secondly, around this time (of the failed Fury test) Tyson was not involved with the WBC. He did not fight Klitschko for the WBC belt. It was for other titles. So, this issue does not impact on him being our heavyweight world champion.”
Like the fighter never more dangerous than when they seem to be hurt and on the brink of defeat, the career of Tyson Fury is seemingly never more precarious than when it all seems to be going in the right direction. We only hope this latest issue is resolved quicker, and with far greater transparency, than the last one.