Tyson Fury: Sport’s Greatest Ever Comeback

By Sonny Turner

December 1 2018, Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, Round 12. Fury needs to survive just this last round to complete the greatest sporting comeback of all time, just this three minutes and he’ll become the Heavyweight Champion of The World. Again.

Wilder has other ideas.

A man who leading into the fight had knocked out every opponent he’d ever faced in the professional ranks, the WBC Heavyweight Champion of The World, Deontay Wilder, would not go quietly.

A right hand to the temple of Fury, a heavy left hook on the way down. Wilder blowing kisses to the crowd, Fury flat out on his back. Commentary says it’s over. One, two, three. No movement. Four, five. Nothing. Six. Fury begins to rise. Punches which surely would have knocked out any man on the planet, cannot keep ‘The Gypsy King’ down. He somehow clambers to his feet, disbelief etched on the faces of all who bear witness, none more so than Wilder, who’s sensational last round knockout victory is being stolen from him.

Wilder tries again to close the show. He lands another huge left hook, but Fury holds on. Then in a display of pure crazy bravado, Fury puts his hands behind his back to taunt Wilder. They both throw right hands. Both miss, but Fury follows his up with a sweet left which lands flush on the defending champion. Now it’s Wilder holding on. The final bell sounds with both men still standing. Fury runs to the corner to celebrate. Wilder, despite achieving two knockdowns, trudges back to his corner with the look of a man who knows he’s defeated.

Draw.

Fury has been robbed. “I believe every man in here thought I won that fight,” he says in the ring afterwards. He doesn’t seem to let it get to him. He bellows in celebratory style: “The Gypsy King has returned!”

After two and a half years out of the ring suffering with depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and ballooning up to almost 30 stone, Fury has done the impossible. Having admitted to attempting suicide by driving his Ferrari at 190mph and heading towards a bridge (stopping and changing his mind before reaching his target), he has fought against all odds to just fight competitively again, let alone regain, in many fan’s eyes, his number one spot at the top of the heavyweight division.

What can compare to Fury’s feat of resurrection?

The ‘Miracle of Istanbul’?

Liverpool’s famous comeback in the Champions League final is truly one of sport’s best, but it is not the first, and definitely will not be the last time that a team comes from three goals down to win the game. It cannot be compared to coming from the brink of suicide in life, and then from the canvas in the ring, to get up and regain the position of number one heavyweight in the world.

What about Ben Stokes’ Headingly heroics, or ‘Botham’s Ashes’?

Both of these cricketing examples contain every ingredient of a great comeback, seemingly unbeatable odds, sporting prowess and best of all, heroes. Ben Stokes and Jack Leach, Sir Ian Botham and Bob Willis. But. What was done with bat and ball simply cannot outweigh Fury’s rags to riches story in which he then loses the riches, fights against death himself, and goes on to sit at the top once again.

Can even Muhammad Ali challenge Fury’s claim to greatest comeback?

An undoubtably inspiring comeback, Ali was stripped of the heavyweight world title and banned from boxing for refusing to take part in America’s war against Vietnam. After his monumental stand against the US government, Ali returned to the ring over three years later and went on to regain his title. However, what many forget is that Ali actually lost his first bout against Joe Frazier, and so his challenge to Fury’s comeback throne falls short.

After having just two warm up fights against journeymen, Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta, Fury dared to take on the most feared fighter on the planet, just six months after stepping into the ring again. Most believe him to have won the fight.

“The world knows,” says Fury. Yes. We do.

Sub-edited by Sam Brady

Image: By Flickruser – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75421525

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