What an incredible 2018 Tyson Fury has had. Rewind to January of this year, and Fury was in a bad place. Much overweight, inactive for getting on for two-and-half-years, drinking heavily (some reports say 18 pints of lager/beer a night), taking drugs and battling severe depression, the 30 year old was pretty much written off by many people. No way will Fury fight again, they said, let along regain the heavyweight championship belts he never actually lost in the ring.
But then in June, still overweight but clean and sober and having regained his mojo, his demons smashed, Fury did return. His first fight back, really a veritable sparring session with the dwarfed Sefer Seferi, did little to convince the sceptics that the self-styled “Gypsy King” would make good on his goal to become the heavyweight ruler all over again. Fury’s second fight back, against another “safe” foe in Francesco Pianeta also failed to win over these people.
But then Fury announced how he had agreed to fight none other than the feared, the avoided, the lethal Deontay Wilder. Still the critics sneered: the fight would not actually happen, they said, or if it did Fury would get obliterated. Some people, one man in particular, also said the fight would, A: be a stinker, and, B: a flop at the Box-Office.
Together, Fury and Wilder proved a whole lot of people wrong on all counts. It was Fury’s incredible return to glory, though, that really earned the praise – and how rightly so. Fury worked his ass off in the gym, he formulated a new team (including new head trainer Ben Davison and wise old head Freddie Roach), and he came within a whisker of beating the reigning and defending WBC champ.
It was a great fight, one that played out in front of a massive audience at The Staples Centre (and likely pulled in good to great numbers on Pay-Per-View, we will have to wait and see for sure) and Fury did something truly awe-inspiring in the 12th and final round in somehow getting back up from a brutal right/left hand bomb combo that landed flush on his jaw. Fans, experts, fellow fighters, are all still shaking their heads in wonderment. How did Fury do it?
The decision that went against him in as much as it was a draw, not a win, might have taken some of the lustre from Fury’s comeback, but in other ways, no, it hasn’t – he is arguably even bigger, even more celebrated, even more respected today. Having come back from what he came back from, Fury did himself proud, also, no way can anyone call Fury a boring fighter ever again.
2018: three fights, two wins, one draw – but a heck of an enormous moral victory the likes of which many a fighter could only dream of picking up. And how many other fighters, today or throughout boxing history, would have been able to pick themselves up in that 12th round the way Fury did?
The lineal heavyweight champ simply has to win 2018’s Comeback Fighter Of The Year Award.