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Tyson Fury named the highest paid fighter

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury is in the money according to Forbes in their annual rich list, writes George Gigney

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Perhaps the most interesting piece of news we got this week was the fact that – according to Forbes – Tyson Fury was the highest paid combat sports athlete over the past 12 months, pipping the likes of Conor McGregor, Anthony Joshua and Canelo Alvarez.

Fury came in at 11th on the list, earning a total of $57m, $7m of which came from endorsements. In comparison, McGregor earned $48m, Joshua banked $47m and Deontay Wilder just behind with $46.5m. Canelo earned $37m.

There’s been some confusion around this. Forbes labelled this list as the 2020 one, leading some to understandably think that it just accounts for the 2020 calendar year so far. However, the earnings are gathered from June 1 2019 to June 1 2020, explaining why fighters who are yet to compete this year have earned so much.

In that time, Fury’s fought three times. Wilder fought twice, as did Joshua, while Canelo fought just once in that time.

It marks yet another staggering comeback success for Fury, who just a few years ago considered taking his own life. It’s also testament to the career moves he’s made, from teaming up with Queensbury and Top Rank to taking himself over to America.

Considering that two of Fury’s three fights were against unheralded opposition, it becomes even more impressive. Could the notion that Joshua is the division’s primary money-maker now be outdated? Should he and Fury enter serious negotiations to fight, the purse split will be the defining factor in getting it done.

Tyson Fury
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

During the week, Joshua spoke to SunSport about Fury, throwing out digs and compliments in equal measure. On the one hand, Joshua said: “He says a lot of controversial things and I know if that was me – I just think he gets away with a lot.”

However, he also highlighted Fury’s work around mental health awareness: “The work he’s done around mental health has been very impressive. Fury’s a big guy, a heavyweight champion, people can look and think, ‘I shouldn’t be so scared to talk’… He’s a great person and has done great things in boxing.”

It’s one thing for fighters to hype up a fight with trash talk – which Fury did this week, stating he’d beat Joshua in two or three rounds – but it’s encouraging to see, even at an elite level, they can appreciate when their rivals make positive impacts outside the ring.

Top Rank confirmed that they’ll be staging shows in Las Vegas from this month, signalling positive developments for the sport. The California State Athletic Commission followed in Nevada’s footsteps by also pushing through special measures to allow boxing cards to take place there in the very near future, according to ESPN.

In what was the most inspired piece of content creation this week, Peter Czymbor of Boston Boxing Promotions released a mock press release about Mike Tyson being offered $1.1m to rematch Peter McNeeley, who he beat in 1995.

It reads: “Some have asked if this is a publicity stunt,” noted Czymbor. “And to that I choose to dodge the question.”

“This will be an event like no other when it comes off,” Czymbor continued. “We are offering undercard slots to the entire cast of Tiger King, the girl who got hit in the head with a basketball she threw behind her at a hoop while dancing on TikTok, and Doja Cat because I can’t get that ‘Say So’ song out of my head.”

YouTube

We were supposed to get a virtual press conference between heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte and UFC juggernaut Francis Ngannou, who have been trading barbs on social media recently, on Matchroom’s YouTube channel, however the video was pulled per a request from Ngannou’s team.

This news was followed by video footage from MMAFighting of a media scrum with UFC President Dana White, who addressed the issue by stating that he and his company are focusing on their own business, rather than making crossover fights like this one. Maybe we should just all keep that attitude even after the pandemic has passed.

Whyte remains mandatory challenger for Fury’s WBC title, and the President of that governing body, Mauricio Sulaiman, spoke to Boxing Social about a range of topics, including Whyte’s mandated title shot.

According to my calculations, Whyte’s been mandatory challenger for 32,562 days now and is yet to be granted his crack at the belt. He’s reportedly turned down other title shots – namely against Anthony Joshua – but that doesn’t change the fact he’s earned his chance at the WBC crown and shouldn’t constantly be side-lined.

Sulaiman, in the interview, admitted he’s not even really thinking about the February 2021 deadline for Whyte to have had his title fight – instead, he made it clear that his preferred focus is Fury’s planned trilogy fight with former champion Wilder.

In this instance, Whyte having to wait even longer is more a result of the current global situation, rather than any politricks. Unfortunately for Whyte there are simply bigger fights to be made between the division’s top three, if they choose to face each other. But make no mistake – he is first in line outside of that.

BT Sport launched a new series – What Went Down – wherein they speak to prominent names in the sport to go over famous events from their careers. This week they had David Haye and Dereck Chisora look back on their infamous 2012 grudge match – and their ugly clash at a post-fight press conference that kicked their rivalry into gear.

Host Steve Bunce also speaks to Adam Booth and Don Charles – respective former trainers of Haye and Chisora – and Frank Warren, who promoted the fight.

It’s an interesting discussion of one of the more bizarre stories in British boxing, particularly considering Haye and Chisora are now friends and work together. They also watch the fight back – the first time for Chisora – and talk through it, offering great insights into their tactics and thought processes.

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