LONDON — Tyson Fury remained atop the heavyweight division, if not the sport, with a perfect right uppercut that sent Dillian Whyte crashing to the mat for a sixth-round TKO victory on Saturday in front of more than 94,000 at the stadium. of Wembley.
The next obvious fight for Fury is a clash with the winner of the July 23 rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua. A Fury fight against the winner would crown boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era.
Instead, Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) swears he’ll hang up his gloves and sidestep whatever riches such a fight promises to hold a wish.
“I promised my lovely wife, Paris, of 14 years that after the Wilder 3 fight, that would be it. And I meant it,” ESPN’s No. 1 heavyweight Fury said. “We had a war. It was a great trilogy. And I meant it. But I was offered to fight at Wembley at home, and I think I deserved it – that I owed it to the fans, I owed it to everyone in the UK to come here and fight at Wembley.
“Now it’s all done. And I have to be a man of my word. And I think that’s it. This could be the last curtain for ‘The Gypsy King’. And what a way out!”
And with that apparent farewell message, Fury burst into one of his favorite songs, and the song that first sounded before he stepped into the ring – Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
But it’s hard to believe Fury last fought at 33. His dad doesn’t even believe that’s it. Fury left the door open for another fight – or five – when he said, “I think That’s it.” Almost assuredly, he’ll be back. He’s longed to go undisputed, and a fight against Usyk or Joshua could earn him a near nine-figure purse.
Also, one possibility is a mega-fight with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in 2023 when the Octagon star is a free agent. Fury even asked Ngannou to join him inside the ring during his post-fight interview to discuss a potential fight between the two. Ngannou is currently out of action, recovering from knee surgery.
Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou are both teasing a potential crossover fight between the two in the future.
That’s why it’s so hard to believe that Fury will retire – or stay retired.
Fury is right in his prime, a big bulldozer man – all 6ft 9in and 264+ pounds – capable of steamrolling his enemy with brute force or elegantly dispatching an opponent with quickness and an educated, powerful and effective blow.
He did both against Whyte, using a brilliant jab from both positions to the outbox from range until the crushing right uppercut ended the fight.
When asked at Friday’s weigh-in what his boxing legacy would be, Fury told ESPN, “Like Clark Gable said, ‘I don’t care!’ Who cares, we’re not here for inheritances. We’re here to fuck and get paid!”
Of course, Fury’s legacy right now is clear: he’s the greatest heavyweight of his generation. And he has a chance to accomplish much more. Sure, he’s already a Hall of Famer, but if he can keep racking up the wins, he has a chance to really break into the annals of boxing’s glamorous division.
Still, Fury insists it’s this. That he threw his last punch, dodged his last jab, and sang his last post-fight celebratory tune.
He insists he will forfeit the fight that has long eluded Fury since winning three of four belts from Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. One he was seemingly close to grabbing on multiple occasions. The ultimate fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Fury told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel that he’s held each of the four titles at some point, so he’s happy. But it’s hard to buy from someone who aspires to accomplish so much.
Fury has never held all four titles at the same time, but the opportunity is closer than ever now that Usyk-Joshua 2 is set, and a winner-takes-all fight is all but set for Fury – if he wants it.
The win over Whyte was the final fight of Fury’s five-fight deal with Top Rank, a promoter who helped him become a superstar. There are no promotional or network hurdles that could stop a fight against Joshua or Usyk – as is often the case when it comes to boxing’s biggest potential business events – nor any obligation to former opponents who persist (an arbitration decision that Fury owed Deontay Wilder a third fight dropped plans for an Aug. 14, 2021 fight with Joshua for the undisputed title).
If Fury does fight for the undisputed championship it would be a great fight, but especially if it’s against Joshua, who remains one of UK boxing’s biggest stars The chance to beat Joshua and surpass him in terms of British fame outside the ring might be too much for Fury to pass up.
There are plenty of reasons why Fury should – and probably will be — Boxing at least once more, but standing above the rest: it’s a boxing rite of passage to retire, to return soon after. Several times in some cases.
Fury is something of a heavyweight boxing historian, so he knows full well that James J. Jeffries retired as a champion in 1905, but he was back in the ring five years later against the man who was then champion, Jack Johnson.
The fourth heavyweight champion in boxing history was the first to come out of retirement, but many followed. Muhammad Ali retired in 1979, nearly a year after reclaiming the title from Leon Spinks, but ‘The Greatest’ was back in the ring less than 13 months later.
And then there’s George Foreman, who retired for 10 years before making a historic comeback that culminated in a second reign at 45.
Outside of the heavyweight division, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have both retired and not retired too many times to count.
But there are exceptions to the rule. Lennox Lewis retired as heavyweight champion in 2004 and never looked back. Fellow British star and super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe has also retired with no return.
Don’t bet on this being this for Fury. But if this is somehow the end and Fury surprises us all once again – just like he did with his remarkable comeback to win back the heavyweight championship – Fury will be remembered as one of the greatest men of all time.
Fury wasn’t destined for stardom as he rose through the ranks, nor did he seem destined for the heavyweight crown in 2013 when he survived a knockdown against Steve Cunningham in his United States debut. United.
He was a nearly 4-1 underdog when he challenged Klitschko, but he ended the Hall of Fame title’s nearly 10-year reign. Before Fury could defend the title in a rematch, his life spiraled out of control. In those two and a half years away from boxing, he said he contemplated suicide and he ballooned to over 400 pounds.
Fury has often spoken of his addiction to cocaine and alcohol, as well as his depression. Eventually, Fury was stripped of his titles without a single defense, and it looked like he would never reach those heights again. But he beat the odds again when, after two tune-up fights, he challenged Wilder for the heavyweight championship in 2018 and survived two late knockdowns. It was a fight that Fury clearly won, but he settled for a contentious draw.
He left no doubt in the 2020 rematch with a seventh-round TKO. The third encounter with Wilder was Fury’s most dramatic, ESPN’s 2021 Fight of the Year. Fury couldn’t be called boring anymore, as he was in the aftermath of his tactical decision win over Klitschko.
Fury couldn’t be called a pillow fist either, after back-to-back finishes from Wilder, one of boxing’s top heavyweights, who boasts one of the best right hands in the sport. And now you can also add Whyte to that list with the brutal right uppercut that sent him stumbling into the ropes after getting up from the canvas.
“Once upon a time in this country the fans booed me, believe it or not,” Fury told ESPN on Friday. “Now they’re embracing me and they’re loving me, and it’s an overwhelming feeling. I’m thrilled about it all.”
Fury’s departure at the height of his powers would rob boxing of one of its biggest stars – and best fighters – but it would ensure he leaves the sport with his health intact, which few greats can claim. . Whatever Fury chooses to do next – even if it’s a WWE in-ring return – we’ll all be watching.
“I’ll tell you why they’ll remember Tyson Fury,” Fury told ESPN. “Being a crazy mother—-uh!”