Fury wants to conquer foes in the ring, hearts outside it
Tyson Fury, the new British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion, wants to be loved and respected both in and outside the ring.
Certainly, beating Dereck Chisora comfortably on points and going the full distance for the first time in his career to pick up those belts on Saturday did the reputation of the undefeated 23-year-old from Manchester no harm at all.
As did UK television figures of 2.3 million for the fight, which was shown live by terrestrial Channel 5.
The verdict on Fury (15-0, 10 knockouts) is that he has potential. Plenty of it. And, if you forgive some of that ugly pre-fight ranting, for which he had apologized even before arriving at London’s Wembley Arena on Saturday night, he seems to be a pretty decent, refreshing character too.
“I just want to say to all the American, all the Canadian, Russian and South African people, there is more to come from Tyson Fury,” he said after his one-sided unanimous decision over Chisora (15-1, 9 KOS). “It’s a dream come true. This precious Lonsdale Belt means the world to me. And I want to say that I am not the cocky, arrogant person everyone thinks I am to be. I am quite a humble and nice guy when you get to know me.
“I just hope the British, the Irish, the American and everyone in the world will get behind this new heavyweight. I am 23 … and Klitschko is a 40-year-old …”
Good, sincere words from Fury, who having paid homage to the Lord also promised to visit his dad and former trainer, John, now serving an 11-year prison sentence, first thing Monday to show him the pair of recently-acquired straps.
The mention of a Klitschko, however, was cause for concern. The one thing nobody in the sport is calling for just now is to see Fury thrown in against either of the Ukrainian titleholders. He may be a 6-foot-9 (206cm) giant of a man, but he is a relative kid in terms of heavyweight boxing.
Fortunately, members of the Fury camp, led by promoter Mick Hennessey, recognize this fact and, a further 24 hours on, were quick to dismiss any talk of a pointless match-up against an all-conquering Klitshcko brother.
“When I’m ready for him to take on the Klitschkos, he will, but that is on our time schedule,” said Hennessey, who guided Carl Froch and Junior Witter to world titles. “He has won the British and Commonwealth, and we wouldn’t mind winning the Irish and then the European – to get the full collection before he wins the world title.”
Calling out the 40-year-old Belfast fighter Martin Rogan (14-2, 7 KOS), who was ringside Saturday, was an unexpected curveball. But Fury, of Romany descent, did just that.
“I’m only just starting up and there’s a lot I want to do before fighting the Klitschkos,” said Fury, whose ability to smile and showboat during what was a fearsome scrap at times with Chisora highlighted an entertaining streak in the make-up.
“The Irish title is next,” he said, “and I’m going to take on big Martin in Belfast. I just want to do it nice and steady."
Onwards and upwards, one step at a time. Sounds promising.