Tyson Fury insists he has retired from boxing and is only interested in exhibition bouts against Mike Tyson and UFC champ Francis Ngannou, but will he really pass up the chance to make history by becoming the first four-belt undisputed heavyweight champion of the world?
Tyson Fury is at it again.
After saying he would be interested in taking part in WWE in Cardiff in September or an exhibition bout with UFC heavyweight champ, Francis Ngannou, he’s now talking about Mike Tyson and the Klitschko brothers. All good fun and no doubt Fury would entertain the fans in these exhibitions because of the natural showman he is. But for someone who constantly refers to himself as a fighting man, it all seems irrelevant.
For every boxing, and sports fan, the only fight relevant to Fury is for the undisputed world heavyweight title. And now he has opened the door slightly to his shot at history by declaring to Mirror Sport: “Never say never.”
Fury has softened his oft-repeated stance that he will not be tempted out of retirement and at 33, he is still in his prime. Boxing insiders have never fully been convinced by Fury’s repeated declarations that he has hung up his gloves for good and he has quit more times than Harry Kane has scored goals for England. The feeling was always that Fury would go off and enjoy the summer with his wife Paris and their children from him and wait to see the outcome of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk for the WBA Super, IBF and WBO crowns.
That is due to be confirmed this week for August 20 in Jeddah and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has already floated the idea of WBC champ facing the winner for the undisputed title in December. The Saudis are excited about the possibility of staging that mega-fight and it could be this era’s Rumble in the Jungle.
For someone steeped in the history of boxing, it’s hard to see Fury not being drawn to that fight. As a student of the sweet science he will know that no-one has held the undisputed world heavyweight title since Lennox Lewis over 20 years ago.
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Even more alluring, no fighter has reigned as undisputed champion, holding all four major belts. Fury would have the opportunity to write his name on him in the history books in indelible ink if he did that. That is the sort of legacy any fighter would crave and it’s hard to see him rejecting that chance when it is put to him once Joshua and Usyk fight. Of course, if he fought Joshua, it would be one of the biggest British sporting events ever to rival the 1966 World Cups.
The two stand-out British heavyweights of their time, both two-time world champions and both global names. It does not get much bigger than that and the world would tune in to see the outcome of that showdown. Cynics may say Fury will simply wait for the mountain of cash he will be offered to grow to Everest-sized proportions and this is an old Floyd Mayweather Junior trick each time he retired.
And while money is not Fury’s main motivation, he does enjoy the finer things in life. Looking in from the outside, it seems a no-brainer for Fury to go for the undisputed title. Not least because I would back him to beat Joshua or Usyk, he’s too smart for the former and too big for the latter. Could the fighting man that Fury is look himself in the mirror if he turned that down? I think not, so watch this space.