Against all Odds: How Tyson Fury changed the landscape of heavyweight boxing

A look at Fury's greatest night, beating depression and why Wladimir Klitschko refuses to give him credit

When it comes to talking about Tyson Fury's greatest win, there could be a reason for debate.

The self-proclaimed Gypsy King is back at the top of the mountain after his stunning win over hard-hitting heavyweight Deontay Wilder last year.

And to many, his one-sided victory over the Bronze Bomber is not only his finest hour, but arguably the best performance from a British fighter on foreign soil since Lloyd Honeyghan's welterweight win over Don Curry.

At one point, a return to the sport looked impossible. Struggling to overcome his demons, Fury contemplated a comeback many times whilst high on alcohol and drugs.

However, the 32-year-old, who also tried to kill himself, revealed the moment God helped resurrect his left.

"I was out at Halloween in 2017 dressed as a skeleton but I was 29 and everyone was younger. I thought, 'Is this what I want from my life?'

"I left early and went home into a dark room, took the skeleton suit off and I prayed to God to help me. I'd never begged God to help me. I could feel tears running down my face.

"I almost accepted that being an alcoholic was my fate but after praying for 10 minutes, I got up and felt the weight was lifted off my shoulders.

"For the first time in my life I thought I was going to be OK. I knew I couldn't do it on my own."

Tacking his demons head on, Fury alongside good friend and trainer Ben Davison, shredded over 100-pounds of weight to make his highly-anticipated comeback in 2018 against Sefer Seferi.

The best part of the event was the reception Fury received at the Manchester Arena during his walkout. Strolling out to a remedy of songs, including 'Because I Got High', Fury was back to what he did best - entertaining people.

His opponent would retire on his stool after four rounds. One more tune-up fight would take place in Belfast before Fury accepted an offer to fight Wilder in Los Angeles at the back-end of 2018.

Eddie Hearn and many 'experts' warned fans the fight would not go ahead after previous negotiations between Wilder and Anthony Joshua had fallen through. Hearn and co were made to eat their words as the fight went ahead on December 1, 2018.

Fury, who had lost near enough the body weight of a primed Ricky Hatton, out-boxed Wilder for 10 of 12 rounds, but suffered two dramatic knockdowns along the way.

The second has since become an iconic moment in sporting history with Fury imitating WWE's Undertaker in the final round.

Fury got hit flush on the chin and was clipped with a left hook on his way to the deck. He looked unconscious.

Davison was struggling to keep it together, Freddie Roach was stunned and Wilder was seen kissing his glove and the Staples Center had erupted.

It looked over.

That was until Fury picked himself up after a six-count and then jogged from one side to the other to beat the count and miraculously end the round stronger than the "Bronze Bomber". The contest would end in a controversial split-draw.

It was just the start of his road to redemption for Fury, who inked a lucrative five-fight deal with Top Rank's Bob Arum alongside Frank Warren and MTK Global.

Back-to-back wins over Tom Schwartz and Otto Wallin followed in Las Vegas ahead of his scheduled rematch with Wilder in February 2020. Wilder-Fury 2 was seen as the biggest heavyweight fight of the century with both men undefeated.

Tyson Fury hit the canvas hard in the final round of his first bout against Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury hit the canvas hard in the final round of his first bout against Deontay Wilder

Wilder had the biggest punching record in heavyweight history - above George Foreman and 'Iron' Mike Tyson - with a 95% ratio.

Meanwhile, Fury - who was named Tyson after heavweight legend Mike Tyson - had the conditioning of a European but the ability of an American and possessed the superior boxing IQ.

Fury's switch-up in trainers raised eyebrows with Davison being replaced by Kronk's SugarHill Steward and cousin Andy Lee.

The lineal champion indicated he needed to make a change in order to beat Wilder and promised the world he would 'knock Wilder the f*** out'.

His split with Davison - who is currently training Josh Taylor ahead of his undisputed clash with Jose Ramirez and Devin Haney for his fight against Jorge Linares - was amicable with the door being left open on the two good friends reuniting for future fights.

Fury would cement his name in the history books and won the only title to have eluded him - the WBC heavyweight title - after a vicious seven-round drubbing of Wilder in the boxing capital.

His sporting comeback has been compared to Tiger Woods winning the Masters in 2019, Michael Jordan returning to the NBA in '95 and the Boston Red Sox winning the ALCS in 2004.

Fury, who has attempted suicide on several occassions, admits he still battles with mental health every day but manages to balance his problems through exercise.

He has since become an ambassador for Frank Bruno's Foundation and does a huge amount of charity work, including donations to homeless charities.

While Wilder is seen as his best win, perhaps overcoming bipolar disorder and depression is his biggest victory.

Will Klitschko ever give Fury recognition?

Beating Dr. Steelhammer is Fury's best win inside the ring according to the man himself.

For years, Wladimir Klitschko had it all his own way and manhandled every opponent he faced for over a decade, including a convincing win over Britain's two-division world champion David Haye.

He could not replicate that with Fury, however.

It started with the press conferences. Interrupting the Ukrainian, making bullish claims and sending a room full of journalists into hysterics - Klitschko hated every second of it.

For the first time, he did not know how to deal with an opponent. The most famous moment came when Fury arrived at a UK press conference in a Lamborghini dressed in a batman costume before rugby tackling someone dressed as the Joker in front of Klitschko.

Belts went flying off the table in the process.

The pair were complete opposites in every sense of the word. Klitschko was the ultimate professional; always in shape (and still is); a great role model and spoke with respect and integrity in six or seven different languages.

Meanwhile, Fury was a maverick, an enigma, a proud fighting man who refused to play by the rules. One thing they did have in common, though, was their love and adherence towards the late Emanuel Steward.

Manny is regarded as one of the best coaches of all-time having led Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed, Thomas Hearns and 20+ fighters to world glory.

Kronk's Steward teamed up with Klitschko on the mitts after he got beat up and stopped by Lamon Brewster in 2004. Steward took a liking to Fury too, and invited him to train in Detroit before inviting him to Klitschko's camp later down the line in Austria.

Wlad was expected to fight Derek Chisora at the time but would pull out after pulling a muscle in his abdomen. Fury remembers his time with Klitschko like it was yesterday and told the world about how he won the first battle against the Eastern European.

Tyson Fury ran into the press conference dressed as Batman, with a suited and booted Wladimir Klitschko looking less than impressed
Tyson Fury ran into the press conference dressed as Batman, with a suited and booted Wladimir Klitschko looking less than impressed

"I'm at his [Klitschko] training camp, there's about ten guys in the sauna… It came down to me and Wlad in the sauna. Do you remember," Fury asks Klitschko.

"It gets down to us two and -- I've only had 12 or 13 fights at this point -- but still, in my mind I was mentally in a competition with him.

"I was prepared to die in that sauna before I got out. I stayed in for like 40 minutes. He got out first. I thought 'mental victory.'"

Fury would go on to beat him again - this time in the ring - to become the seventh British heavyweight world champion in 2015.

He barely got hit by the overwhelming favourite as he outpointed him in Germany - a location deemed impossible to record a win over either Klitschko.

It has since had a lasting impact on the state of heavyweight boxing despite Fury being forced to vacate the belts later that year because of illness.

Anthony Joshua now holds three of the four belts whilst Fury has the other. It is the first time all four recognised titles belong to the UK.

Eighteen months on from Fury's historic win, Joshua defeated and retired Klitschko in 2017 in a fight widely seen as the most enthralling heavyweight fight of the 21 Century at Wembley Stadium.

While Klitschko continues to laud praise on his 'little brother' AJ, he has bizarrely never given Fury the credit he deserved for his performance in Dusseldorf. He has even clarified Fury's 'sauna story' on social media.

He said: "I keep reading these disturbing stories about Fury´s recollections of a sauna: 1) Apparently I was in some contest, in his head. 2) How creepy this man keeps having thoughts/dreams of me in a sauna."

The question is, why can't Wladimir give Fury credit for his performance? Perhaps he is p***** off about never having the chance to avenge his defeat?

Maybe he got played at his own game and holds a grudge at Team Fury for threatening to pull out from their bout on the day of the fight?

Either way, one thing is clear - Klitschko just does not like Fury. Not that the Gypsy King cares but the rest of the boxing fraternity appreciates what he has done for heavyweight boxing as it enters its most exciting phase in more than 25 years.


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