Fans were in uproar when it was revealed how Tyson Fury was not even nominated for this year’s Sports Personality Of The Year (Spofty) – this always a big deal here in the UK. Fury deserves better, much better. What an incredible 2018 the big man really did have. Rewind to the start of this year, and Fury was done. As done as can be. Fat, depressed, drinking heavily and in no condition to go anywhere near a boxing ring.
But then in June Fury, though still overweight but clean and sober and having regained his ‘mojo’, his demons thwarted, did indeed return to the ring. 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 in pretty short order.
Instead, 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 generated a solid 300,000 pay-per-view buys) 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?
Indeed, Fury should in all honesty get a reward all of his own for somehow doing what he did in that 12th, The Round Of The Year bar-none!
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 (again, in that 12th round), Fury did himself proud, proud, proud.
And together, Fury and Wilder raised their respective profiles in giving us a truly iconic moment in boxing. The moment of the year. The talking point of the year. Whether you look at it as a rise from the ashes, a brutal KO that was incredulously avoided, or the finest display of the fighting spirit a great man can possess, Fury’s rise from the canvas in that final round can never be forgotten. Nor will it ever be by any true fight fan.