How things may have been different if the ‘Gypsy King’s’ battle with 30-fight veteran fighter John McDermott had been scored differently?
Fury was a 21-year-old prospect going into this bout and had won his first seven fights. This fight was meant to be a stepping stone fight for him, and the prize at the time was the English heavyweight championship.
McDermott said in the lead up to the fight: “They thought I would be an easy fight. They didn’t think I could dig deep.”
If Fury thought that going into the fight in Essex, then that was quickly dispelled after 30 seconds when the first of many overhand rights came crashing in, a shot which McDermott kept landing for the majority of the bout.
It was clearly a fight that the man touted as the next WBC champion was not expecting and the man from Essex became the first boxer to take Fury the distance. ‘The Gypsy King’ at the time had never been beyond the fourth round.
Although Fury had his moments in the fight, it was clear that boxing enthusiasts only saw one winner and it was not the future ‘WBC champion.’
The referee at the time Terry O’Connor, however, gave Fury the verdict, which resulted in booing and utter disbelief from the Essex crowd.
McDermott said: “I’m a nice man. What did I do wrong?
“It’s just madness, I don’t know how he can score it 8-2?”
McDermott’s trainer CJ Hussein, meanwhile, said: “It was great to be involved in a pub question, who really beat Tyson Fury? We changed a bit of history on that night however because they bought in judges for every English title fight afterwards.”
Following the bout, even Fury’s dad said to McDermott and his team: “My boy did not deserve that he was very lucky!”
A subsequent rematch took place between the pair that Fury won comprehensively with a ninth-round stoppage in 2010.
McDermott, however, had left his trainer Hussein by then, so would the outcome had been different had the Essex fighter remained with the man who helped him achieve so much success in the first fight?
Both fighters’ careers since that fight could not have been more contrasting with McDermott now working on railways fixing overhead cables.
Fury, meanwhile, as we all know went on to achieve the biggest prizes the sport has to offer, earning millions in the process.
When asked about the fight now 11 years on, McDermott said: “Of course it still annoys me.
“I’m not saying I would have gone on to fight for a world title. He’s a millionaire now and I’m struggling.”
The legacy for McDermott in boxing will ultimately always be the disputed first fight with Fury.
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