AFTER his triumph over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas earlier this month, Tyson Fury reigns at the top of the heavyweight division. He can now take his time before making his next move.
Frank Warren, his UK promoter tells Boxing News it’s “much too early “ to decide what will come next. “I’m not even going to have the conversations with him about any of that. I wouldn’t even begin to talk to him about that. I’ll let him have his quality time with his family,” he said. “He is the best out of all of them. I could see that from day one. I’m just gutted he never got in the ring with AJ [Anthony Joshua]. I’ll tell you something if he, Deontay Wilder had got in the ring with AJ, he would have knocked him over as well… What a tremendous puncher he is.”
Fury is now the leading heavyweight in boxing. Already a star, he is in a position where his fame can extend beyond sport. Todd DuBoef, president of Top Rank, Fury’s US promoter said, “I think there’s no limit to Tyson because he has this cavalier ease and nature to himself and personality that, I mean, I wish there were more of him. I wish he could teach seminars. He should be the Tony Robbins of boxing. I really believe that.
“Teaching people how to be yourself, to get out of your shell, to have a personality, to communicate with people, to communicate with the press, to understand what it is to self-deprecate, to understand what it is to open yourself up, he does all of those things beautifully and that connects us to him.”
“He makes it real. Real is what works,” DuBoef continued. “Teach them how to have the confidence, the swagger, the ability to be real and raw and not be reticent and apprehensive. He’s brilliant. Brilliant.”
Boxing is seeing celebrities from other fields, Youtubers like Jake Paul for instance, trying their hand at the sport. DuBoef doesn’t necessarily see this as a threat but there is a lesson for boxing to learn. “I say I’m going to reverse engineer it. A Youtuber can become a boxer. Why can’t a boxer become a Youtuber? That to me is unlocking the value. That to me is the sweet sauce,” he said. “It says something for the power of influencers and connectivity to fanbases. We need more of that in our sport.”
“He’s not my fighter but one athlete who has done a brilliant job is Ryan Garcia,” he added. “Kudos to the kid, he knows how to play with the social platforms and create a following. That to me is well done. I think the UFC, the MMA category is way better on the social platforms than the boxing category. I think the way the athletes of the UFC are trained, how they share content on their social platforms is far superior to any strategy the boxing community has. You just look a mid level UFC fighter and you look at a high level boxer, a mid level UFC fighter has more followers, has more engagement, everything, than a high level boxer. It shouldn’t be that way. I think it’s education, I think them being committed to it, them understanding the culture they’re in. I think the UFC culture was one of social behaviour right because they had no conventional coverage. They could only get coverage on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It was forced because conventional media thought they were rogue.”
Top Rank have a major television deal with ESPN in the US. They worked with Fox in a joint broadcast of Fury-Wilder and now also screen their bills on Sky in the UK. But DuBoef still sees the major potential growth of boxing on other platforms.
“More megaphones, more awareness. My personal feeling is that the power of those platforms over time are going to be less relevant and the power of Youtube, Snapchat, Tiktok, Instagram are the more powerful platforms. The growth of those platforms and the reach there is unlimited. And I think those platforms changing the dynamic of the demographic also that’s viewing the content,” he said. “Combat sport is the number two sport in the world on Youtube. Soccer’s number one, combat sport is number two. Why is it? Because of the nature of it. It’s the high impact, short content form.
“You have technology media companies coming into the sport space, it gives opportunity for fragmentation, it feeds fragmentation, there’s going to be a lot more players.”
In a changing landscape, with funding and attention flowing into the sport from new sources, Tyson Fury couldn’t have found a better time to conquer the boxing world.