By: Kevin Dyson
It is one of the many contradictions that surround Tyson Fury.
Over the course of his career, big Traveller’s personality has arguably become ever more unconventional and entertaining.
At the same time, at least until the Wilder fight, his bouts have been getting somewhat dull. Much of this has been the way he has consolidated his most effective attributes, his speed and awkward movement.
I first noticed this direction of travel in his second fight against Dereck Chisora in 2014.
The first fight, in 2011, was a belter of a fight. The second was a stroll for Fury, exemplifying the improvements he had made. Unfortunately, the entertainment was lacking.
That carried through to Fury’s crowning moment against Wlad Klitschko the following year. The tepid nature of the fight was largely overlooked given the significance of the Ukranian’s decade long tenure coming to an end.
The build up to the fight was also far from bland, no more than that moment when Fury arrived in a Lamborghini dressed in Adam West era Batman gear and, with the help of cousin Hughie, created one of the most WTF moments in boxing history.
This is just one example of the big man’s complex nature, something that attracts and repels in equal measure.
When he is in good form, there are few boxers who exude the sort of charisma, humour and self deprecation that Fury has in abundance. These are the moments that show exactly why he has been dubbed the people’s champion.
Odd moments were endearing. When the UK’s Channel 5 bought up rights for his fights, they seemingly had little idea of how to do a conventional broadcast, which was perfect for Fury. Weird extended interviews showed him in a good light, even with strange vignettes like chatting over a table stacked with a mountain of crap food he had cut from his diet.
There has always been a dark side, though. His vicious homophobic tinged abuse of rival David Price, himself one of the soundest in the sport, was unpleasant.
His relentless dissing of Anthony Joshua has also been a sticking point. All of the slagging of Joshua “the bodybuilder” was a bit sad (and somewhat hypocritical when you see the physique of brother Tommy).
It looked as though the beef may have cooled after he tweeted a fairly conciliatory message in the wake of Joshua’s loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Unfortunately, his dual personality didn’t take long to return to aggro setting, claiming AJ is ‘finished’.
I have changed my mind several times about whether all of this is just Tyson Fury or simply mind games. His battle with himself post-Wlad points towards it just his nature.
Having gone back down in my estimation after the AJ grief, I was glad to see the good guy back in the Tom Schwarz build up, including vomit inducing suit, comedy catalogue posing and that magnetic charisma.
I have decided that my support for Fury will be just as contrary. Either he puts on a performance and ensures that the rebirth of the division remains, or faces a similar humbling to that of AJ. Either will do…