Tyson Fury may be something of a marmite figure in the boxing world, but love him or hate him, you cannot deny he is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport.
Early Promise Went Under the Radar
Fury turned professional in 2008 on the back of winning the ABA super-heavyweight title earlier that same year and he quickly made light work of his early opponents, winning his first seven fights via knockout inside the opening four rounds.
The now 32-year-old continued his flawless record and twice won the English heavyweight title, beating John McDermott on both occasions, before going on to claim the British and Commonwealth belts with a unanimous decision victory over Derek Chisora in July 2011.
However, the big title fights still eluded Fury at this stage and it wasn’t until he beat Chisora again in 2014 that people started to sit up and take notice.
Another victory over Romanian Christian Hammer in February 2015 took Fury’s professional record to 24-0 and he was then finally handed a world title shot against WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring title holder Wladimir Klitschko – a showdown that would propel the Gypsy King to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division.
It’s Not Always Easy at the Top
Nobody really gave Fury a chance of beating Klitschko, who had been undefeated for over 11 years, particularly as the fight was taking place on the champion’s turf in Dusseldorf.
It was even harder for people to take Fury seriously in the build-up to the bout, especially when he turned up to his pre-fight press conference in a batman costume, but the Briton ultimately proved he could back-up his bravado as he claimed a victory via unanimous decision.
Fury was now a heavyweight world champion for the first time, but struggles were to follow for the Gypsy King, as failed drugs tests, mass weight game and battles with depression saw him stripped of his titles and he did not appear in the ring again for almost three years.
Comeback Shows Fury Is One of the Greats
Nobody gave Fury much of a chance of returning to the top of the heavyweight division, particularly as he produced low-key performances in his first two fights back against little-known opponents.
Despite this, within six months of his comeback, Fury opted to fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder in the United States in December 2018.
Like Fury, Wilder was also unbeaten heading into the fight and nobody believed, given his long absence from the sport, that the Brit would be able to avoid the notorious big punching of the Bronze Bomber.
However, the fight ultimately ended in a controversial draw, with many people believing Fury, who once again defied the odds, should have won.
After lengthy negotiations, a rematch took place earlier this year and this time Fury did emerge victorious, stopping Wilder for the first time in his career in the seventh round to become a heavyweight world champion for the second time.
Fury confirmed earlier this month that talks regarding a third fight with Wilder are now over and it is looking more and more likely there will instead be an all-British showdown with WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Anthony Joshua next year.
If he were to defeat Joshua, then Fury would no doubt have to go down as one of the all-time great heavyweights, but regardless of what happens, the 32-year-old has already proven he is a top fighter in all senses of the word.