Sports

Tyson Fury has stolen Joshua’s crown as world’s No1 heavyweight… now he can fulfil Brit rival’s undisputed destiny too

IT WAS a slogan seized upon by Anthony Joshua’s PR people: The Road To Undisputed. But it is a street which now belongs to Tyson Fury. Fury confirmed his status as the great heavyweight boxer of this era by completing a classic trilogy against Deontay Wilder, which ends with two victories for the Brit after […] ...

IT WAS a slogan seized upon by Anthony Joshua’s PR people: The Road To Undisputed.

But it is a street which now belongs to Tyson Fury.

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Tyson Fury put on a stunning show against Deontay Wilder[/caption]

AFP

Anthony Joshua was humbled by Ukrainian star Oleksandr Usyk[/caption]

Fury confirmed his status as the great heavyweight boxer of this era by completing a classic trilogy against Deontay Wilder, which ends with two victories for the Brit after a controversial draw, which ought to have made it three.

And now the Gypsy King, who is indisputably the No1 fighter in the blue-riband division, deserves the chance to fulfil his destiny of becoming, officially, the undisputed champion, within the next 12 months.

For years we had envisaged an all-British battle between Fury and Joshua to unify those belts.

Yet the dramatic events of the last two weeks now suggest that if the politics and self-interest which so often plague this sport can be overcome then it will be Fury pitted against Oleksandr Usyk.

Ukraine’s former undisputed world cruiserweight king, 34, outclassed Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a fortnight earlier and will be odds-on favourite to win their re-match, expected next spring.

But given that a good big one should always beat a good little one — and that Usyk is four stones lighter and six inches shorter than his fellow master craftsman — it would be difficult to imagine anything other than a Fury victory if that pair get it on.

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Fury currently holds just one of the four major belts, the WBC version, while Usyk possesses the other three, but that is just a historical anomaly.

The 33-year-old Mancunian is likely to fight another Brit, Dillian Whyte, in a mandatory defence, at a similar time to the Usyk-Joshua re-match before he can think about unification.

But for the third time against Wilder, Fury underlined his pre-eminence.

Across the desert from Vegas, in Hollywood, they acknowledge that the third part of a trilogy is usually when the plot lines go to pot and the Ewoks turn up.

Not this glorious three-parter.

And to think, there had been little appetite for a third face-off, so thorough was Fury’s demolition job of Wilder in their second meeting.

Yet the duo served up a magnificent feast in their climactic bout, which gripped so many of us around 5am on Sunday

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Fury, 33, was made to survive adversity by Wilder[/caption]

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Dillian Whyte is likely to be up next for Fury[/caption]

It allowed Fury to show all of his best attributes — his ducking, weaving scheming; the brutality of his shots and the size of his big gypsy balls.

And then, as always, there were the elements of showmanship which could elevate Fury to the status of a genuine national hero, especially if Joshua slips away from elite contention.

We should not forget that before this trilogy began in December 2018, Fury had suffered from depression and addiction issues, had ballooned to almost 30st, making his career resurrection all the more impressive.

But neither should we forget the failed drug test in 2015 for the banned steroid nandrolone, nor the homophobic pseudo-religious rants he unleashed, which have since, thankfully, subsided.

Fury is a complex enigma, with a dark side to his character, but it is impossible to deny that he is a great entertainer too.

Last year, his lawyers demanded — unsuccessfully — that he be removed from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award shortlist in a display of supreme contrariness.

Yet if that episode suggested Fury is disinterested in popularity contests, he remains a crowd-pleaser.

He played air guitar to AC/DC dressed as a Spartan warrior on his ring walk, then came the trademark post-fight karaoke crooning in the ring, when most men would have been too breathless to talk let alone sing.

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Fans were absolutely loving Fury’s ring walk[/caption]

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Wilder and the Gypsy King produced a trilogy for the ages[/caption]

Between rounds Fury sat on a stool emblazoned with a picture of Wilder’s face, replete with the nickname he has long since bestowed on his rival — ‘Big Dosser’.

Yet the Alabama wallop merchant emerged from this with his dignity, if not his title, restored.

Before Fury went out for the seventh, his trainer SugarHill Steward — approximately half the size of the Gypsy King — bellowed in the big man’s face ‘Jab the Motherf****r, Goddammit!’

As we know, everyone has a gameplan until they get punched in the face and Fury’s had appeared to go out of the window after the pummelling he suffered in the fourth round.

Steward — the former Detroit cop, who would have made his late, great uncle Manny proud with that foul-mouthed tirade — got his man fully back in the zone and Fury was brilliant in the seventh.

Finally in the 11th, we saw Wilder, vanquished, face-down. And Fury, the greatest heavyweight of the 21st century, hands-down.

Now he deserves the chance to confirm it with a full set of belts.

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