November 30th 2015. Its two days after Tyson Fury shocked the world and became the undisputed Heavyweight Champion beating Vladimir Klitscho in Dussledorf. He made his way to Bolton for a press conference with the British Media before heading home to his family. He was kind enough to answer my phone call around 6pm.
My first encounter with Tyson came in 2012, I sat alone in a room with him and spoke about every topic under the sun. At the core, obviously boxing, but it stretched from family through to religion. He wasn’t what I expected. He wasn’t the show man, who provides the controversial soundbite. Dominating the conversation was a deep thinker. Maybe an over thinker.
In the conversation on the phone post Klitscho win, we spoke about his amazing sporting achievement, his dulcet tones singing Aerosmith and his delight at being an expectant father once again. One thing did stick with me though. When I asked him “what’s next?” he said he may retire. His explanation though was profound. “What else is there for me now?”
He’s right. What else is there for him?
When you achieve the greatest possible achievement in what ever you do, the next step is the hardest. Everything is a come down. The buzz has gone. It doesn’t get your juices flowing. Maintaining what you have, is boring. The thrill is achieving what people say you cant. What does Tyson Fury really achieve by defending against Klitscho? If he wins, nothing. If he loses, even less.
Add into the mix, the way he has been welcomed by society since becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. How many newspaper stories have there been about his controversial Gypsy views rather than his great sporting achievement? Fellow athletes threatening to boycott award ceremonies if he is celebrated as Sports Personality of the Year. The IBF stripping him of the title he had just won knowing full well he couldn’t adhere to their demands to face a mandatory due to a contractual rematch agreement with Klitscho. This isn’t what he signed up for. The way this man has been treated over the last year is disgusting and no wonder he’s struggling.
Being the heavyweight champion of the world for Tyson Fury, isn’t all its cracked up to be.
There’s talk that Tyson my be stripped of his titles due to inactivity. Talk about kicking a man whilst he is down!
Even though I agree that Boxing must move on, and we must consider the careers of other fighters who dream of being the champion of various sanctioning bodies, we have a duty of care to the current champ. This MUST come from him. HE must make the decision. Stripping him, belittling him further is uncalled for.