Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and their place in history

IT’S all about history these days. Making it. Going down in it. And whoever wins Saturday’s night’s mouth-watering rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas will take their place in it, we’re told, alongside the greatest fighters in history.

It’s been a long old journey for Fury, the UK’s favourite Traveller. He’s always engrossed us, from his days as an amateur, when his sheer size turned heads, right through a professional career that for many years, don’t forget, struggled to be taken seriously. He punched himself in the face, mid-fight, to become a YouTube sensation. He was gifted a decision against John McDermott. He struggled to get himself in shape. But at some point around 2013 to 2014, when he defeated Steve Cunningham, David Haye gave him the slip and he trounced Dereck Chisora in a truly masterful performance, he exhibited his true championship potential.

Even so, his 2015 victory over long-time heavyweight leader Wladimir Klitschko surprised pretty much everyone. In an alien German land, he boxed the perfect fight to take the world heavyweight crown. It should have been the start of a long reign. Yet his fortunes plummeted. The mainstream press, new to Tyson Fury, took an instant dislike to his obscure charm. News of a failed performance enhancing drug test broke. The Klitschko rematch was aborted and Fury descended into alcohol and cocaine abuse that gave his lifelong enemy, depression, very much the upper hand. They were dark, dark days. Photos of him in a bad way, obese and lost, were everywhere. Irrespective of the mistakes he made, the subsequent turnaround in Fury’s fortunes should only speak exceptionally highly of the man.

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder holds the WBC heavyweight title Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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