It’s been a long-running trend in boxing and more recently MMA – a young fighter making bold proclamations about what they will or will not do to anyone and everyone in the future, only to mellow out later down the line when they have sufficiently talked about their ability enough that said ability can now do said talking for them.
With this precedent in mind, the already peculiar case of Tyson Fury is made all the more peculiar. It was only a week and a half ago that the “Gypsy King” achieved the seemingly impossible and usurped the heavyweight championship of the world from the imperious Wladimir Klitschko on away soil in Dusseldorf, such a feat that upon the announcement of his victory he transcended beyond the relative niche following boxing now wields and immediately launched himself into the consciousness of the wider public.
Full of character and devoid of any kind of filter, Fury’s personality had made him a divisive yet captivating figure in the boxing world prior to his conquering of Klitschko. In fact it could be argued he had become more known for antics in and around the sport as opposed to any specific victories of his, despite his obvious talent. Accidentally delivering an uppercut to his own face, press conference clashes with The Joker, occasional singing and a resolute belief in his own capabilities were what got people taking notice, and what had them hoping for his success and failure in equal measure.
However in the immediate aftermath of his championship win he appeared to have won everyone over: Klitschko had reigned undefeated for over a decade and Fury defeated him at his own game. Like him or loathe him, people could no longer doubt his talent and already talk had begun on who next he would fight on the way to building his budding legacy. A Klitschko rematch was the obvious conclusion, but so too are the lucrative possibilities of a unification bout with Deontay Wilder, or a grudge match with the returning David Haye.
Or so this was the topic of conversation for a brief period of time, until Fury took it upon himself to take on his biggest opponent yet: the world. Standard post-fight media obligations that go hand-in-hand with such an immense win have proved to be a PR disaster for the newly crowned champion, who has almost impressively upset the most amount of people in the smallest timeframe possible.
An interview conducted before the fight actually took place began to circulate, in which the boxer discussed his religious beliefs, and how Armageddon is upon us due to the legalisation of homosexuality, abortion, and – in his opinion what is to follow them – paedophilia.
This in itself caused a frenzy, which was only to be exasperated further when in an interview where the subject of women in boxing was brought up, he opined: “I believe a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That’s my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe.”
Fury is no stranger to a controversial outburst, having previously been fined for perceived homophobic remarks in 2013, but with the mainstream media now focusing on him; such indiscretions are no longer as easy to sweep under the rug.
(video from: CheebaTimeTv)
The backlash has been colossal, best summarised by a petition that has amassed over one hundred thousand signatures to have Fury removed from the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015. Not that this has done much to waver Fury’s stance:
(video from: iFL TV)
Despite this Fury feels as though his views have been misrepresented and distorted by the press, and today has made appearances on several outlets as a means of clearing his name.
(video from: MMAFightingonSBN)
As much as anything else, there’s a certain intrigue to the double-edged sword Fury’s outlandishness has proved to be. It was oft-debated that his behaviour was what elevated his career to an unwarranted level in terms of hype and ultimately competition with Klitschko, yet when he proved that to not be the case; it’s that very same behaviour that has overshadowed his actual accomplishments and made people’s first thought of him be that he is public enemy number one as opposed to the number one heavyweight fighter on the planet.