I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s hard not to feel bad for Tyson Fury right about now.
The unbeaten heavyweight rarely gets anything but negative feedback from fans, whether it’s because he swears too much, verbally provokes fighters he has no intention of fighting, or unfortunately from some circles, purely because of his ‘traveller’ roots.
The one thing about Tyson Fury that draws the most ire from boxing fans, however, is that a guy with a 22-0 record who is angling for a world title opportunity sooner rather than later has hardly beaten anyone worthwhile.
Well, over the last year, nobody can say it’s been for the want of trying.
On two occasions, Fury’s attempts to battle David Haye – a British former world heavyweight champion, regardless of how unconvincing that reign was – were thwarted by Haye injuries.
‘The Hayemaker’ scuttled back off to television appearances, in between his usual promises to make a return to the ring, while Fury was left fuming and out of pocket.
Now, a rematch of Tyson’s biggest fight (and arguably best performance so far) against Dereck Chisora has also bit the dust thanks to a ‘Del Boy’ hand injury.
It may seem like a horrid coincidence, but some think poor ticket sales are enough reason to scream ‘conspiracy’.
Rival promoter Eddie Hearn’s tweet – quickly deleted but captured below – suggests he is one of those suspicious of the circumstances:
Eddie Hearn deleting his tweet.. pic.twitter.com/PqbjR8Ryxd
— Football Tipster (@Footy_Tipster) July 21, 2014
And yet, nobody can possibly accuse Fury of gaining from a THIRD big fight cancellation in 10 months.
The latest misbehaviour of the occasional Eurosport pundit – a completely unnecessary foul-mouthed rant at a conference to publicise the fight, including extra naughty words for a journalist who had the audacity to ask him to tone it down – will see him dragged before a British Boxing Board of Control hearing shortly.
Expecting to enter the hearing and take his slap on the wrist as a recognised contender to Wladimir Klitschko’s world titles, the disciplinary process is instead set to be Fury’s most significant action since he first fought Chisora.
To compound the frustrations of all the false starts, the money lost from three big training camps for nothing and the impending punishments for actions used to hype a fight that isn’t happening, Fury made a bit of a gaffe on Twitter as he attempted to save face by calling out fellow unbeaten heavy Deontay Wilder of the US instead:
Hahaha the tweets I'm getting because of this.... Sorry to let everyone down, but I'm unavailable for a fight pic.twitter.com/lPCWXQ8Yk5
— Lucy Bronze (@LucyBronze) July 21, 2014
@LucyBronze is no ‘Bronze Bomber’ – that is in fact Liverpool and England Ladies’s own Lucy Bronze. Tyson continued to give the proverbial china shop the proverbial bull treatment in response to the fight’s cancellation:
If any1 feels like a fight I'm in Bolton town centre& I feel like a rumble. See what the BBOC make of this. — Tyson Luke Fury (@Tyson_Fury) July 21, 2014
But the worst part of this all could well be that there didn’t seem to be any cast-iron indication that a win over Chisora at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester would have guaranteed a mandatory crack at Klitschko, anyway.
That’s how boxing promotion works, a lot of the time. Chisora himself had jumped through plenty of hoops, all of them labelled ‘final eliminator’, to finally get a shot at Vitali Klitschko in 2012 – which he lost (not before causing an absolute scene in the process that weekend in Germany).
Fury, too, has been ‘one win away’ from a title shot since late 2012. He at least deserves the chance to prove whether or not he has what it takes, as Chisora and Haye both already have.
Ironically, his decision to skip past David Price two years ago may have cost him most, especially financially.
I’d be curious as to Fury’s thoughts regarding Carl Froch’s rivalry with George Groves, after the super-middleweights did what the heavies usually do and drew the most interest for their sport in their specific region, selling out Wembley Stadium in the process.
Grudges tend to sell tickets, and Price v Fury had the potential to be a much more appealing British heavyweight feud than the circus that was Haye v Chisora.
Instead, Price is now in career rehab and Fury has been stalling for so long, it’s hard to see him pulling out of the skids any time soon.
Perhaps his narrow-sighted quest for the fights that would get him to world level cost Fury in the long run. Instead of being the man to end the aura around Price in a lucrative pair of fights before moving on up, he seemed to lay down with dogs in Haye and Chisora, and woke up with fleas.
That interest was so lacking in Fury v Chisora was a bad sign. Outside of maybe getting that fight with Deontay Wilder (unless Lucy Bronze is available instead…) , it’s going to be a long road back onto the right path for Tyson Luke Fury.
Liam Happe | Follow on Twitter @liamhappe
- Sports & Recreation
- David Haye
- Dereck Chisora