Fury’s emphatic win against dangerous American leaves world in no doubt he is dominant force of current heavyweight crop
Tyson Fury claimed he had nothing more to prove after making himself the unquestionable dominant force of the current heavyweight era with an emphatic triumph against Deontay Wilder.
Barely an hour after his defence of the World Boxing Council heavyweight title in Las Vegas and Fury was already enjoying his deserved celebrations with family and friends at his after-party at the Hakkasan nightclub at the MGM Grand.
Apart from the dark marks under his eyes, it was barely noticeable that he had just been through a see-sawing, brutal battle of heart, guts and stamina, against an opponent who was not finished until he was rendered unconscious on the canvas from a massive right hand in the 11th round.
Immediately after the fight Fury had been asked whether he might consider retiring from this inherently dangerous sport, having etched himself further into history.
The fight fallout had seemingly already begun from the opposite camp with Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott saying the Bronze Bomber, who had snubbed Fury after their fight, had suffered a broken hand, finger and knuckle during the fight.
But Fury, breaking off from his celebrations to speak exclusively to Telegraph Sport, was determined to continue his own storyline. “You asked me something earlier. About retirement. What more have I got to prove?” said Fury, sitting shirtless on a corner sofa alongside wife Paris. “My biggest rival got beaten two weeks ago [Anthony Joshua] and I have just beaten the biggest puncher on the planet, I believe, three times.”
Fury is not, however, a man to follow anyone else’s road or rather more specifically, anyone else’s nudge into retirement. Six years ago, then 27-year-old Fury dethroned Wladimir Klitschko, in Germany, winning the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. Few had expected the 6ft 9ins tall boxer from the traveller race to do it.
Apart from those close to him, who knew his abilities, and what exists deep inside the man. But having outpointed Klitschko, Fury fell into a wilderness thereafter, ballooned to 27st in weight, fell into a depression, and has even admitted since that he had had suicidal thoughts while driving a sports car one day.
But the journey back, and the transformational narrative – losing the weight, becoming an advocate for mental health awareness, claiming back the world title 20 months ago, then re-affirming it in a spellbinding heavyweight classic here – while still undefeated, does afford Fury the choice to walk away with the legacy of being an undefeated two-time heavyweight champion. But he runs to his own rhythm.
His brother Tommy Fury, a boxer and reality TV star had his shirt off too at the after party, as brothers Shane and Hughie, ever present, watched over at the nightclub.
“We are a family who will do anything for each other,” Shane, the boxer’s younger brother, told me. “I have no actual role in the camp, but I am here for him. As all the family is. We breathe together, we die together. And it will never be any different.”
As one of the world’s most renowned DJ’s – Steve Aoki – played a version of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ specifically for Fury and the gathered revellers sang loud and long, “don’t worry about a thing”, Paris Fury said she was “very proud” of her man, explaining that as the mother of his six children, she is “always nervous for him,” when he fights, and would be “happy when it’s all over”.
There is little doubt, and Fury has admitted it, that Paris is his rock. You could see that union as they sat together in the raucous throng.
At the post-fight press conference, Fury suggested there was no doubt he was the best of his generation, saying: “When it comes down to it, when I have to pull the chips out, every time I’ve delivered. I can only be the best of my day, I’ve done that: I’m the best fighter in my era.
“I actually feel sorry for all these guys who have had to fight me because I go in the dressing room and I’m not nervous, it’s a boxing fight to me, but they’re fighting the fighter of the generation, that’s for sure.
“Without sounding too sharp and clever, I believe that I could beat any man in history, any man born I believe I’ve got a really good chance of beating him.
“There’s always a way of beating Tyson Fury and I’ve always said it very, very clearly: you’ve just got to knock me spark out, and if you can’t do that I’ll win. I can only be the best of my era and I’m definitely that.”
This was by no means the best boxing performance from Fury, not in terms of his skillset at least, and he will be honest enough to admit that. Was this trilogy as fascinating as the most celebrated in boxing history, between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, between 1971 and 1975?
The third fight in the Fury-Wilder series will go down as a classic because of the drama, the knockdowns of both prizefighters, and the brutal highlight-reel finish.
Bob Arum, Fury’s Hall of Fame promoter, did not hold back on US President Joe Biden refusing to open the borders for general travel for UK citizens until November 1.
“It sucks that the Brits could not travel to this incredible night. Imagine what it would have been like with 8000 Fury fans from the UK,” Arum told Telegraph Sport. “We missed them. The roof would have come off this place.”
Will Fury retire now? Who knows? There are still huge fights out there with Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Dillian Whyte or others emerging, but the fighter, and gentle giant away from the ring, laid undeniable claim to an overarching title here.
It would be surprising if the boxer from ten generations of bareknuckle fighters did end his career in pugilism, unbeaten in 32 contests, and having claimed all the belts. Fury has conquered Wilder. He has conquered America. And continues to conquer his own demons, as an inspirational figure for many who suffer from mental health issues.
What Fury and his folk did say was that in a few days, he will be back in the gym, his place of regulation and solace. But make no mistake about one thing. This is his era. The heavyweight era of the ‘Gypsy King’.