The rollercoaster of life that Tyson Fury has been riding since defeating the all-time great Vladimir Klitschko is something that boxing, or any sport, has never seen before. Fury went from the high of highs to nearly taking his own life, and in the process breaking down his own body to a nearly irreparable point. Day by day, he came back from that and reached the mountaintop of the sport again and he looks to star thereafter Saturday night.
Saturday night will be the third meeting between “The Gypsy King” and the former WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder. Many thought Fury won their first meeting, but the only opinions that mattered that night in 2018 ruled it a majority draw. Then 20 months ago these men met just before COVID struck, and they delivered a classic. Fury broke Wilder’s eardrum, laid down a clinic, and made Wilder’s corner throw in the towel to keep the zero in Fury’s loss column and remove it from Wilder’s.
Before the last 34 months of these two men’s converged paths, there was a longer, more tireless journey for Fury that all started with his lineage. Once that is understood, it is easier to understand why the lineal heavyweight champion of the world seems so confident heading into this weekend’s matchup.
The Name Tyson Is Not By Mistake, It Was an Omen
When Tyson Fury entered the world he was given no chance, quite literally. At least that is what his parents were told by doctors when Fury’s mother delivered him nearly three months premature. Weighing only one pound when he was born and with no guarantee of life, his parents Amber and John Fury held off on naming their son while seeing what would happen. Months later, young Tyson had fought his way back from death to be a healthy baby boy, and winning his first fight, his father named him Tyson.
The Fury fighting background does not end their though. Fury’s father John himself was a bare-knuckle boxer and professional boxer in the 1980s. “Gypsy” John Fury was a well-respected bare-knuckle fighter in the Gypsy community, as were his grandfather and uncles. His dad would go 8-4-1 as a professional boxer as well. Fighting stays in the family, and it molded Fury into the man he would become in life. So much so that at age 10 he started training with his dad, and by age 11 he had dropped out of school to support his family through work and fighting.
His dad would remain his trainer up until he was jailed in 2011, due to John Fury gouging an eye out of a man he had a long-standing feud with, at which point his uncle Hughie took over until his death in 2014. After his untimely passing, his uncle Peter, who spent ten years in jail after being convicted of running a drug empire in England, took up the job of being his head trainer before trying other trainers, even being trained by men like Freddie Roach, Emmanuel Steward, and Ricky Hatton. He has since landed with “Sugarhill” Steward, who will be in his corner this weekend.
History is Made in Dusseldorf, Germany
In 2015, Wladimir Klitschko was running out of title challengers for his WBO, WBA, and Ring Magazine titles after a run that saw him go 22-0 in an 11-year span. In stepped “The Gypsy King” and his measly 24-0 record in a pro career that began seven years prior to their meeting.
Klitschko was working his way towards becoming an undisputed champion after never challenging for the WBC title, due to his brother Vitali Klitschko being its holder. Fury was being overlooked from the minute of its booking. The only person who was not overlooking his shot at history was Tyson Fury, and because of that, he was able to create a history of his own.
The fight isn’t going to be remembered for its chaos, knockdowns, violence, or even suspense, but rather it will be remembered as a true boxing match in every sense, and one where Fury outclassed Klitschko. It would be a unanimous decision by a wide margin for Fury, and to top it all off, after taking Klitschko’s belts he serenaded his wife with some Aerosmith post-fight as well.
🎼ANYONE FOR AEROSMITH?🎤
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) February 24, 2020
Weight Gain, Substance Abuse, and Near Suicide
Tyson Fury was initially thought to be running things back with Klitschko, but Fury lacked the motivation to get in fighting shape again. After over a year of failed negotiations, he was stripped of all his titles, which furthered his downward spiral. They attempted three more times to set up the rematch, but Fury was declared medically unfit due to his tremendous weight gain, going up to 330 pounds, and two failed drug tests due to cocaine use. These things put Fury and his career at the very bottom, and he was set to become a cautionary tale. Sadly though, the cautionary tale was just getting started.
In his interview with Joe Rogan on his podcast, Fury talked about nearly driving his car off a cliff after the insane weight gain and drug problems he was experiencing. He has always been an open book with his mental demons, even this past week with Gareth Davies, and it was expected by many that the career of Tyson Fury was indeed done.
The Climb Back Up The Mountaintop That Brings Us To This Weekend
Tyson Fury survived a stretch that not many humans could have survived between 2015-2016, but announced he was back training and would be making his return in 2017. He would shed all the weight, all the mental baggage, and was ready to take his titles back from the new champion Anthony Joshua.
While he would be warmed back into the sport with some easier matchups, he would eventually earn a title shot. It just wouldn’t be with Joshua, but rather Deontay Wilder.
If you read my Ring Walk piece on Wilder, or if you are following the action, you know the first fight went on to be a split draw, but Fury shocked the world with what he pulled off in the 12th round of that fight.
— MrKnockouts (@MrKnockouts75) December 2, 2018
Fast forward ahead to February 2020, it was one of the last big sporting events, along with UFC 248, before the world and history changed forever due to COVID-19. Fury and Wilder would faceoff in Las Vegas for the rematch, and what would ensue would change Fury and his story forever.
Fury would come out, looking more loose and aggressive than the first fight, and would start to pick apart Wilder. Wilder would eventually get hit by a clubbing hook and when he was staggered, when he went back to the corner between rounds we all saw watching at home his ear was bleeding and he was in trouble. Fury would waste no time the next round when clinched up by being a man of his word with his statement he wanted to taste blood.
Tyson Fury really licked Wilder’s blood. 😳 pic.twitter.com/YjN2v1z2W4
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 23, 2020
Fury would eventually batter Wilder to the point where his corner would be forced to throw in the towel and finally, the comeback was complete.
Weighing 330 pounds and dealing with drugs, near suicides, and mental health declines: none of these things could keep the Gypsy King down and out for long, and now this Saturday he will be coming into the ring as the defending heavyweight champion for the first time in his career after winning the titles for the first time six years ago.
Of course, if he retains his titles, we all will be subject to another concert, because he seems to have made this a trend. Are there any predictions for a song choice?
Tyson Fury really sang ‘American Pie’ after beating Deontay Wilder #WilderFury2 😂👑
— ESPN (@espn) February 23, 2020
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