With the first press conference for Tyson Fury’s rematch with Wladimir Klitschko still fresh in the mind, one thing has been made immediately clear, the Fury circus has rolled back into town. Brash statements, bold claims, a personal troop of cheerleaders and even the now infamous shirt stripping, Fury is possibly boxing’s greatest self-promoter since Muhammed Ali.
Fury the man and Fury the boxer couldn’t be more different. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of boxing. Fury the man often speaks without thinking, he’s extroverted, loud and immediately in your face but when the Batman costume comes off and the boxing gloves go on, a transformation is seen.
In many ways, Klitschko is the antithesis of Fury. He has a clean image, carries himself professionally and rarely lets emotion get the better of him. If the press conference showed us one thing about Klitschko, it’s that Fury has riled him.
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The champion is not the first man to talk a big game against Klitschko, he’s not the first to insult him or even to accuse Klitschko of making the division boring, what he is however, is the first to draw a response.
Klitschko prides himself on professionalism and restraint, when Dereck Chisora spat in Wladimir’s face, no reaction, yet at the Fury press conference a rare show of emotion as he told Fury to “f**k off!”. Tyson evokes as his name suggests, Fury.
This ability often means Fury can beat an opponent without even stepping into the ring. He’s under your skin, in your head and makes sure that anger clouds an opponent’s judgement. As Klitschko said himself of his first encounter with Fury “my body was present in ring, but mentally I was not there”. Fury is good enough to win fights through skill alone, but to drain his competitors mentally gives him an even greater edge.
For all the talk about Anthony Joshua, the previous dominance of Klitschko, the knockout power of Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury the boxer is still some way ahead of the rest. Slow, methodical, always thinking and keeping his opponents on their toes, Fury has shown himself to be the most awkward fighter in heavyweight boxing.
To face the man who had dominated the division for over a decade in Klitschko, and to only take 52 hits in 12 rounds is one of the greatest achievements of the modern boxing era. Fury is capable of fighting in both orthodox and southpaw styles, stands at 6’ 9” using his height and range advantage well, and moves both his head and feet.
For all the bravado, the less than athletic lifestyle, the abrasive comments, Tyson Fury doesn’t get the credit his in ring performance merits. As he said himself: “I’m just a performing monkey aren’t I”, but get caught up in the pantomime and risk overlooking the biggest talent in heavyweight boxing.