MUCH of what makes Tyson Fury such an engaging and compelling character is that he says either what other people are thinking or what other people – most people – wouldn’t so much as dare to think. He will, from time to time, speak out of turn, say things he shouldn’t say, and present to the world a version of events most know is anything but the truth or even grounded in any kind of reality.
For years now Fury has adopted this approach to the sport, retiring on a whim, only to unretire days later, or calling out opponents from other sports he knows he has little to no chance of ever actually fighting. He has also commented on subjects outside his area of expertise – that is, punching people – and found himself under fire as a result, more than once.
Sometimes, even when discussing subjects in which he is well-versed, Fury finds himself caught out or dancing off beat. Sometimes, too, even when issuing the kind of callouts only Tyson Fury can produce, he finds himself vulnerable to counter shots he never saw coming.
This scenario occurred yesterday, of course, when Fury felt motivated to mock British rival Anthony Joshua for surrendering to Oleksandr Usyk the same belts he, Fury, had won from another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in 2015. What started as a bit fun, nothing more than Fury being Fury, then took a turn for the ugly when Fury began accusing Usyk, one of the two best heavyweights in the world, of being enhanced by drugs.
“You know what I can’t believe?” Fury asked in a social media video filmed during a workout. “AJ (anthony Joshua) has gone and given Ukraine all the heavyweight belts back after all my hard work in stealing them, you big useless dosser.
“You let a little steroid man come up from middleweight and set about you and take all your belts.
“Now it is going to take a real British Lancaster Bomber like me to go and relieve the little ‘sted head’ of the belts and bring them back to Britain!
“You are useless dossers. Honestly, bring them to me. I am the ‘Gypsy King’. Bring them to me and I will put them in their place. I’ll relieve them of the belts again.”
Had he not mentioned PEDs, it would have made for a nice little story, a reminder that Fury, in one day fighting Usyk, would be looking to reclaim all he had won over six years ago now – against another Ukrainian, no less. However, because, Fury being Fury, he had to go that step further, it wasn’t long before one of Usyk’s compatriots, a certain Wladimir Klitschko, jumped to Usyk’s defence.
“Tyson Fury you live in a glass house, and someone needs to take away your stones,” Klitschko tweeted. “Wasn’t long ago before our fight where you actually tested positive (for performance-enhancing drugs). Anyone can Google it. Keep it classy!!! #usykchampion #ukraine #hypocrite.”
For the sake of clarity, Usyk, the man accused by Fury, has so far never tested positive for any banned substance during his professional or amateur career, whereas Fury did unfortunately fail a test for nandrolone, a banned anabolic steroid, in 2015, for which he served a two-year retrospective ban in December 2017. (At the time the positive test was revealed, Fury denied knowingly taking the drug, claiming it got into his system because he ate uncastrated wild boar.)
Klitschko was in a sense right, then, to give Fury a taste of his own medicine, even if nothing is whiter than white in a sport like boxing and nobody really knows what goes on behind the closed doors of glass houses. Indeed nowadays, with so much colluding and so much cover up, it is hard to know who is clean and who isn’t, who has been clean and who hasn’t, and, moreover, which fights were fair and which ones weren’t.
Regardless, Tyson Fury has his version of events and, as usual, is sticking to it.
“Pity that someone can’t be you as you couldn’t even land a shot in 12 rounds, bum,” he spat back at Klitschko via social media. “Now grandad, time has taken you away! You and Usyk together could never beat a man like me! #GypsyKing.”
He then added: “Wladimir, you’ve got some cheek to come back after all these years and open your big mouth.
“You never landed a punch; I took all your belts off you. These used to belong to you, now they belong to me, you useless dosser… keep on dreaming.”