Tyson Fury makes mockery of his ‘fighting man’ monicker by ducking Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua

The Tyson Fury façade is gradually eroding as boxing fans are starting to see through the self-proclaimed ‘fighting man'.

Fury's comeback to the peak of heavyweight boxing is truly one of the sport's greatest success stories. 

'The Gypsy King' rightly became a cult hero and an inspiration to many as he got the better of his demons to establish himself as one of the best boxers in the world.

But Fury's reputation has taken a hit in recent months.

Boxing is a sport full of salesman and Fury is among the best of them. To add more interest to his fight against Dillian Whyte in April 2022, the champion proclaimed that he was going to retire and this was the last he'll be seen in the ring.

Most right-minded folk saw through this and Fury started to pipe up again around the time of Oleksandr Usyk's rematch with Anthony Joshua in August.

Fury later proclaimed that he was going to return in November/December. A fight with Usyk was off the table due to the Ukrainian suffering niggling injuries and he also desired to spend some time with family amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

With that fight off the table, Fury instead targeted Joshua, whose career and morale had hit a new low after his second defeat to Usyk.

Optimism built that this fight may finally happen as both men were initially involved in positive talks.

Though before long, Fury started playing silly buggers once again and set Joshua's team unnecessary 24-hour deadlines to get the fight over the line.

This is a fight that should have happened multiple times already. In the past, it was unclear who exactly was to blame for it not being made. But in this case, Fury's petulance clearly played a pivotal role as talks broke down and the situation seemed to present the 'lineal' champion as a man who was looking for a way out.

Instead, Fury opted to give his old pal Derek Chisora a big payday with a third fight. This was more of a one-sided beatdown and the Gypsy King laughed his way to the bank after an easy night's work.

The one positive from that night came with what happened in the aftermath, as Fury faced off with Usyk and Joe Joyce ringside.

Fury finally looked to be getting down to business in 2023 with a fight against Usyk surely in the pipeline.

A date has been pencilled in for April 29 for quite some time, but concerns have been growing in recent weeks as the bout has still not been agreed.

Boxing fans became increasingly infuriated this week when Fury's promoter - Frank Warren - confirmed that talks for the Usyk bout are still not finalised.

"We're still none the wiser, we're still waiting for it to be done, it's all coming to a head now, but it's still not done."

Usyk's promoter - Alex Krassyuk - has since revealed that Fury has rejected an offer that would see the winner being awarded a 60/40 split with the purse.

''We initially agreed for 50/50. But then Tyson was asking for some bigger money,'' Krassyuk told talkSPORT.

"So, we made it clear that we are ready to go 60/40, but the winner takes 60. That was our latest offer."

Asked if Fury turned that down, Krassyuk replied: "Yes, exactly."

The undisputed bout was initially expected to take place in Saudi Arabia, but that is understood to have fallen through after Fury asked for too much money. Before that, Usyk had his financial agreement in place with the nation's officials.

Fury has since been refusing to give Usyk a 50/50 split for a fight at Wembley and his stubbornness and inflated ego will likely be the reason why this bout does not happen next.

From a commercial standpoint, you can understand Fury's argument that he deserves more of the financial pie. He is coming off stadium sell-outs against Whyte and Chisora and he a proven pay-per-view attraction.

But if you believe what comes out of Fury's mouth, he does not care about money. If you remember rightly, he demanded that he fought Joshua for free and that tickets would be given away for free.

Fury has also promised to give past fight purses to charity and this has not happened either.

For a man who does not care about money, he certainly places a lot of importance on finances. He's released two books and has his own energy drink for god's sake!

Now, this is all fine. Fury is within his rights to monetize his image to eke out as much cash during his career as he can.

But it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when his value of himself means the best heavyweight fights out there do not happen.

Fury is obviously a true boxing great and there is a strong argument behind him being the best heavyweight of his era.

But he has to prove that by fighting the likes of Usyk and Joshua. His reputation will not be enhanced by him having knock overs against fighters like Chisora who are well past their peak.

Boxing is in a dire state at the moment. It is no longer going to be part of the Olympics and the Conor Benn saga has dragged the sport through the mud.

Yet it is perhaps just as concerning that some of the best fights out there are not being made and Fury is at the route of the issue.

He is the prime example of a fighter who has bigged up his own wealth so much that he is pricing himself out of clashes people actually want to see.

It is infuriating and even fans of Fury are starting to grow tired of his nonsense.

If he was really the 'fighting man' he says he is, he would give Usyk a 50/50 split - which is deserved given the Ukrainian's own achievements - to get the bout over the line by any means necessary.

But this is boxing so this will obviously not happen. Instead, Fury will find a way - as he did with Joshua - to wriggle himself out of the Usyk fight.

After all that he's achieved, people expect better from Fury and if these bouts do not happen, there will unfortunately always be an Asterix next to his name and he'll be known as a fighter who ducked instead of daring to be great.

READ MORE: Boxing schedule for 2023... Every major fight night, dates, venues and results...

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