After what seems like an eternity of retirements and comebacks, uncountable numbers of goading tweets on social media and an infuriating amount of rescheduled meetings, Tyson Fury is finally returning to boxing! An announcement that I personally have been waiting on for months, but truthfully one I did not expect to ever materialise…
”Following an interview with Tyson Fury at the British Boxing Board of Control offices earlier today, the suspension of his British Boxing Board of Control boxer’s licence will be lifted subject to receipt and clearance of all medical requirements.”
The statement was short. The statement gave very little away. But, the statement released this morning by the British Board of Boxing Control regarding the status of former unified Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, could well be the most important announcement of 2018 thus far.
The saga of Tyson Fury since his unforgettable performance in Dusseldorf has had more twists and turns than the most Hollywood films. Cancelled rematches with Klitschko, depression and drug abuse have shrouded the life of Fury and his family for the past two years. Whilst it may be easy for the armchair analyst to cast judgement and criticism, the intricacies and pains of mental health in elite sport must not be underestimated. Team Fury called it a ‘witchhunt’, as the mainstream media began to systematically pull apart any comment or action made by the charismatic 6’9 giant. Whether you call it unfair treatment or not, it cannot be denied that the bar definitely was set differently for Fury and the ‘Golden Goose’ of Sky Sports and the BBC, Anthony Joshua.
A war of words currently. But will 2018 be the year we see Fury vs AJ?
The rivalry is slowly marinating. Fury vs Joshua is the Superfight on the lips of every casual sports fan in the UK and globe alike. I like to measure the size of a fight by how much it gets discussed at the pub. In recent months, as the Fury comeback train gathered ever-growing momentum, I have not been able to escape the constant argument of who comes out on top. Whilst the opinion of fans seem to side with Joshua, almost any Heavyweight (or any fighter for that matter) picks Fury as the favourite in a bout which is dividing opinion everywhere. Fury vs Joshua presents more than a slight likeness to the great rivalry of George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, and there is little doubt in my mind that the fight will materialise at some point. It is too big not to.
But how do we get to this stage?
Fury has highlighted April as a return date. By this point he would have been out of the ring for up to 30 months. AJ has fought four times since then. So who will Fury’s grand return be against? The tongue-in-cheek insults and offers sent from Fury to the Twitter account of Anthony Joshua cannot be considered as ones of serious intent. Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that Fury would jump at the opportunity to fight Joshua in his comeback fight, I feel the economic potential of such a bout suggests that patience is the key.
I would’ve liked to see David Price vs Tyson Fury as a return bout. The pair have a historic beef, are both giants in the division and present a good all-English affair between two well known names. Far from a straightforward option after a two year lay off, despite his well documented flaws, the power and one punch knockout capability of Price has never been in doubt. It may still be an option, but developments in recent weeks suggest that former world champion, Alexander Povetkin, may be facing the Liverpudlian on the AJ-Parker undercard.
The enigma that is the ‘The Cannon’, Shannon Briggs, has thrown his name into the hat for the Fury bout. In typical Briggs style, a relentless and humorous social media enslaught has been mounted. Both men have served bans in recent months and for pure entertainment value, I would have to say I really like the idea of this bout. Just imagine the press conference…
The King is back.
The likes of Dereck Chisora and Christian Hammer have also been circulated as potential opponents. Both men have shared the ring with ‘The Gypsy King’ in the past, and have been on film agreeing with Fury to fight once more in the future. Of course, this is all speculation until we find out more details. Who will promote Fury? Who will be his full time trainer? Can he stick on the straight and narrow? Regardless, whoever is chosen as a comeback opponent, I am happy. I am ecstatic to see Tyson back, seemingly in a recovered state of mental health. My only wish now, is that the people around him are good to him and serve his best interests, and that we can finally nail down a date where we can expect to see the lineal King of the Heavyweight division.
The true champion and the true King(?).
Written by Tom Humber