An eyewitness account of the direct repercussions of Tyson Fury’s historic victory over Wladimir Klitschko. by Elliot Russell
UPON Winning the World Heavyweight Championship on a foreign soil, in the surprise of the ages, all the new champion did was moan. “My feet are killing me,” he said, bare-chested on the changing-room bench. “My feet are killing me with blood.”
Although he managed to avoid the penalty for the 36 minutes he spent in the ring, Tyson Fury was now, less than an hour after receiving confirmation, his dream came true, and he paid the price for everything he had done. After taking off his sock and freeing his sore feet, he shared with those around him the extent of his pain, as most seemed to be more concerned with the straps he snatched from Wladimir Klitschko’s fist than the condition of his soles. Sensing this, Fury said, “Let’s start the tunes.”
Then, Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” started playing from the speakers in the corner of the room and Fury’s friends and family started dancing. One by one, they borrowed Fury’s belts, posed for pictures, and told the new champion what they thought of the fight. Meanwhile, the anger seemed contented only by listening and watching. Too tired to get up, he just sat on the bench in his skin-tight black boxer shorts and moved only to either pick at his feet or brush off a ripple of fat resting completely over his waistband. He joked about Wladimir Klitschko’s loss that night to a fat man, and then frowned when he recalled how he made this joke a reality. “Do we have any plasters?” He said, the request is not aimed at anyone in particular.
Someone told him, “Don’t keep tearing it up, because it’s only going to get worse.”
“He had a face like John Merrick after the fight, right?” said Fury, pointing to Klitschko.
“He definitely did.”
(By contrast, the anger was as flawless as any Klitschko competitor in recent memory. Aside from the foot problems, there was no sign on his face and certainly no cuts or signs of disfigurement.)
“Give us a bandage and some tape, right?” Then said Fury, which, instead of a bandage or tape, led to many David Haye jokes being thrown at him from across the room. (Remember that Haye complained of problems with his foot after a failed title challenge against Klitschko in 2011, although, unlike Fury, he chose to do so in the post-fight press conference.)
“I think you should stand at the table at the press conference and show your toe,” encouraged a Fury family member from the back of the room.
“Yeah, that was a problem with the toes, wasn’t it?” He said angry, smiling. “My feet were killing me the whole time. You know when you move around so much…”
Hay, the last British boxer to challenge Klitschko, moved as did Fury in Düsseldorf. He, like Fury, had also invested heavily in trickery and head movement, and was, to his credit, nailed only sparingly by the timid Klitschko.
However, the difference between Hay and Klitschko that night—and every night—was the size. At 6’3, Haye was able to be light on his feet and bright on his hands but he was still—yes, only—six feet three. This meant that he had great difficulty closing the distance with a champ three inches taller than him, and it also meant that Klitschko remained relatively safe and comfortable in his presence.
Fury, on the other hand, was a shy 6-foot-9, forever at the range of Klitschko’s punches on the night he faced him in Düsseldorf. He was going forward and finding himself in the range and would back out and stay in the range. Always there, where Klitschko did not want him, such close proximity ensured that Klitschko, a dictator who used to gain control and confidence from his bodily advantages, was, for once, the younger man he left hanging on a thread.
“I was moving, I could see the shots coming in, I was very focused,” Fury said. “Peter (his uncle and coach) was asking me to keep my right hand raised because he was looking for the left hook the whole time. I could see every time he put his legs on he would throw the left hook. I would then just hit him with the punch and knock him off the balance.”
Undoubtedly, what Fury vs Klitschko lacked in action more than made up for in multi-layered intrigue. It started early as well, with Fury winning most of the opening rounds, and it went on the whole time, with everyone in the ring expecting Klitschko to realize at some point that the fight was getting away from him and do something about it.
Instead, Fury simply kept his lead by listening to Peter’s corner advice and using his position the same way Klitschko did with 18 consecutive defenses.
“Everyone starts clapping when Peter comes over, right?” In the changing room, Fury said, he was once alerted to the impending arrival of his coach. “one two Three…”
At four, Peter, a quiet man not caring to be the center of attention, entered the room at last to be just that, his loud and warm reception. Then Tyson said to him, “This foot is torn off,” and now Peter beside him was on the bench. “And the other one is worse. It’s about to stop.”
“This is just a sign of the effort you are putting in,” Peter said. “That’s what it means to win a world title. They don’t come easy. Everyone doubted us. They all said we couldn’t do it. Well we took him in Germany – we did what they all couldn’t do. Now they can all be calm. They don’t know boxing. They also think they know it.”
“Amen to that.”
Turning to the rest, those who applauded for him moments ago, Peter continued: “Everyone always said no one could get into Vladimir and no one could stop his game plan. He fought all the comers and different styles and no one could break through. But we worked it out. Tyson went in there and shut him down. He took his palm. He did exactly what we set out to do. We weren’t looking for hard shots. Everyone tries to get to Vladimir’s chin because they think he’s weak. But they make big mistakes in the process. I just said to Tyson, “” Get in there, enjoy it, and totally beat it.”
Outbox him Fury, the intelligence of their game plan was reflected on three scorecards: 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111.
“You can have as many game plans as you want, but Tyson is a very talented athlete and he was the one who was able to implement them,” Peter emphasized. “They might say he looks awkward at six feet nine, but he’s standing in front of people and they can’t put a glove on him. Even sparring partners say, ‘How on earth can we do anything with this?’ He has a very awkward and funky style and knows how to make it work. It’s very hard to win boxing.”
Next, the camera crews began to flood the room, each eager to get a piece of Fury before he was inevitably taken to the post-fight press conference. The new paranoid hero could now be heard suddenly feeling ambush, and strangers crept up on him, warning everyone to hand any water bottles to him, so he was afraid that he would be drugged. Then he told an interviewer: “You worked hard for this.” “To make it even sweeter, no one thought I could do this tonight. There were only a select few who thought I could do it. But from the moment I put on a pair of gloves I said I was going to be the world heavyweight champion. What say ya Shane?”
Shin, his brother, smiled proudly. He said, “I did.” “Signed, sealed and delivered.”
Shane was two years younger than the champ, and was Tyson’s first sparring partner when the brothers wrapped their mother’s tea towels around their fists as gloves. They had to make do with one tea towel and one boxing glove at the time because an old pair of gloves worn by their father, a former heavyweight professional, was split. So each kid agreed to get one each, and then, with that triage, it worked. They designed kits to be worn during the duel and finally took a rug into the kitchen, one spacious, with the goal being to get the other off the rug to announce the winner.
“You grew up with a father as a professional boxer, and being part of a family that is involved in boxing, you don’t know anything else,” Fury recalls. “I remember hitting my dad’s hands—one or two, left hook—as soon as I was old enough to do it.
“I didn’t get into my first amateur fight until I was sixteen, but before I even got into an amateur fight, my dad and I were fighting in the garden. I was 14 at the time, but I was six foot five and 16 stone. Frank [Burton]He said he had never seen anyone move like me before. He thought I would become the world heavyweight champion.”
Thirteen years later, this prophecy has been fulfilled. Tyson Fury, a resident of the coastal town of Morecambe, with a population of 35,000, has already won the world heavyweight championship.
The next day, while still being choked by the British media, he wandered into his hotel in cheap gym stockings – because of the pain in his feet, of course – and admitted the untapped scale of his achievement. “I don’t feel anything different this morning than I did two weeks ago or yesterday or the day before,” he said, scratching a small lump next to his eye. “I’m still the same Tyson Fury and I always will be. I’ve always said winning the World Heavyweight Championship won’t change me, money won’t change me, and being in the spotlight won’t change me. It won’t change who I am. I guess fans and the boxing fraternity expect me to play the acting I’ve always played and now I’m the world heavyweight champion I’ve got the perfect stage, right? “
If the trip, it will definitely be fun. The anger, after all, tends to be far more exciting than he was allowed to be against a reluctant Klitschko while away from the ring full of danger and charisma. He also understands the game and the entertainment elements of the sport, and appreciates the need to sell himself and be something other than just two fists.
Moreover, he is a much better athlete and technician which many detractors give him credit for and he has also persevered, having witnessed several scheduled fights – two with Haye, one with Derek Chisora, one with Klitschko – falling by the side of the road through no fault of his own. spontaneously.
“As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t win another fight – if I get hit in six orbits – I don’t care,” he said that morning in Dusseldorf. “I have achieved what I planned to achieve in life. I am the winner.
“I had a lot of bumps in the road and there were times when I had had enough and thought I wasn’t going to continue. But I stuck with it and it showed that dedication and determination paid off.”
Peter Fury, the coach and uncle who stood to the side, went better that day. “I said before this fight that if he wins the world heavyweight title and I have a heart attack the next morning, that’s fine,” he said. “This kid came to Germany, he won this world title, and it means a lot to the family.”
- This was first published in the 100-page Boxing News Special Fury – Behind The Scenes and In The Ring With The Gypsy King, filled with exclusive interviews and insight about Tyson Fury’s journey and career. Available at: bit.ly/tysonfurymag