“Clash of the Ages”: “Gypsy King” Fury is After Money, Fame and Legacy - Latest Global News

“Clash of the Ages”: “Gypsy King” Fury is After Money, Fame and Legacy

While the rest of the boxing world salivates in anticipation of a real world heavyweight title fight that will unify the division for the first time in more than 20 years, Tyson Fury insists his fight with Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh is all about the money .

“The truth is that it’s exciting and attractive for me because I’m getting paid so much money,” he said this week.

“Not because of the belts that are at stake.”

It’s true that the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” – Fury is the son of Irish Travelers – will make more than $100 million, perhaps even far north, from the fight, but there is a feeling he may just be one little covered up.

Fury, now 35, knows exactly what this fight means: a place among the greats in boxing history.

Going back to Jack Dempsey in the 1920s, only 23 fighters can claim this place in the pantheon: these are big names, including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

However, no one has done it since another British boxer, Lennox Lewis, defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999.

Usyk holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts, while Fury has held the WBC title since 2020.

So is it just the gold, as pleasant as that may be?

“There are so many belts at stake and nothing can compete with that,” Fury said last month, in direct contradiction to this week’s soundbite.

“This is the fight of eternity, nothing compares to it. No exhibition fight, no crossover fight, no YouTube boxing, nothing.

“That’s two undefeated world heavyweight championships fighting for all the belts and that hasn’t happened since.”

“My time, my fate, my era”

Fury’s boxing career began when he was born in Manchester, England. Two months early and weighing just 450 grams (1 pound) – he will tip the scales at about 125 kilograms (20 stone) for Saturday’s fight – Fury had an early fight to hold on to.

Fury’s father, also a boxer, liked his fighting instincts and named him Tyson. Yes, according to Mike Tyson.

He shot up – he is now 2.06 meters (six feet nine inches) tall – left school at 11 and concentrated on the ring.

In 2008, at the age of 20, he made his professional debut by stopping Hungarian fighter Bela Gyongyosi in the first round.

His record 16 years later is an impressive 34 wins, 24 by knockout and no defeats. The only blemish was the draw against Deontay Wilder in January 2018.

It was the first of three fights between the pair, with Fury sending the American to the canvas in the next two.

The early highlight of his career was a unanimous points victory over Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but the low point soon followed when he tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone and then cocaine.

It triggered a spiral in his mental health and he gave up all his titles: by this point the Fury had become a Whimper.

But it is a testament to his strength and that of his wife Paris that he came back to climb the mountain again.

Fury has the physique, the strength and the presence. He hurts people with his blows, but if there is a spiritual weakness, it can cost him.

In his last appearance in October, also in Riyadh, he faced UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who was making his first boxing match.

An overweight, sluggish Fury struggled. He was knocked down in the third round before winning via a controversial split decision.

This performance has not swayed Lennox Lewis, who believes Fury has what it takes to succeed him as undisputed heavyweight champion.

“I’ve watched him for a long time and he’s a good boxer,” Lewis told The Guardian.

“Tyson Fury has many different weapons in his arsenal. He showed in the fights with Deontay Wilder that he is aggressive and progresses well.

“These fights really showed his skill, his talent and his ring general qualities.

“I would bet on Fury – as long as it’s the 100 percent focused Fury.”

The Gypsy King himself has no doubt that this is the moment he will join the other boxing legends.

“If Tyson can’t beat Fury Usyk, Tyson is useless in the end,” he said.

“This is my time, my destiny, my era and my generation. Fact.”

Tyson Fury during open training sessions ahead of Saturday’s fight [Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters]

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