Their heavyweight stories have been shaped very differently thus far.
It was a cold Winter’s night at the Nottingham Trent FM Arena on December 6, 2008. Carl Froch cemented his legacy by defeating Jean Pascal in his first world title defence, in a highly competitive bout.
Also on the bill was a strange looking individual from Cheshire. Standing at 6 ft 9 was a mountain of a man. Spectators assembled with curiosity, never before had they seen a phenomenon such as he.
Tyson Fury proceeded to demolish his unfortunate opponent of Hungarian origin with ease. To those in attendance it was evident that this braggadocios young chap had massive potential; the movement was smooth and his jab was solid.
And he was still just a boy in boxing terms. Yet, he was a national secret, all the same.
Fast forward five years to an Autumn evening in London. Three days before this writer’s twenty second birthday. Thousands were in attendance, the main event saw the Mancunian Scott Quigg face Yoandris Salinas of Cuba for the WBA regular world title.
However, Scott Quigg was not the main draw. There was a good reason for staging the fight in the 02 Arena. It was close to the location of the Summer Olympics, where team GB flourished.
One man in particular stood out among the pack. He oozed confidence and charisma, he embodied strength and above all he commanded respect.
Anthony Joshua, Olympic gold medallist fought Emanuelle Leo on the bill’s under-card, however, everybody knew who he was unlike in Tyson Fury’s case. Prior to AJ’s fight, pundits on Sky were dishing out praise, touting him as the future of boxing.
Note, I did not merely say ‘heavyweight’ boxing. But boxing altogether.
I had no issue with the pundits making these claims because having studied the heavyweight scene, I could see no real obstacles standing in Joshua’s way.
He was always special, you don’t have to be Angelo Dundee to see that. For a man who only took the sport up at 17 years old, his rise has been incredible.
Yet, it hasn’t been without feelings of envy.
Tyson Fury had an uninspiring amateur career in contrast to Joshua. But he had scoured around Europe nonetheless. In contrast to Joshua, he did not simply take up boxing.
He is a bona fide fighting man, yet still doesn’t get the respect he deserves from parts of mainstream media.
Mike Tyson said and did crazy things, yet the British press idolised him. Our Tyson though is not so lucky, he seems to be the victim of a prolonged media campaign, bent on tarnishing his image.
(Flashback: One of Mike Tyson’s early visits to the UK via the Associated Press):
Fury has committed zero crimes unlike other high-profile fighters out there. And I can’t help but feel that there is a sense of ‘we don’t want this guy to be the guy.’
It’s nothing new in sport or entertainment, the artists we see on billboards look a certain way, they are not amazing musicians yet they appeal to the vain, corporate world in which we inhabit.
Living in China, I can tell you that Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are widely revered where I live. Beyonce and Kanye West on the other hand are heard occasionally but never seen.
Elvis Presley was a poor musician, yet he made millions for essentially being a good dancer and okay singer. He never wrote a song or mastered the art of playing an instrument in his life.
He benefited from technological advancements, radio was out and TV was in, hence image was everything and talent, not so much. Make of this, what you will.
Anthony Joshua is the ‘golden boy’ of British Boxing. Not only does he have a gold medal but he is seen as a ‘role model.’ He says the right things, looks good and draws money.
The fact he has never defeated a genuine contender is irrelevant if people are willing to fork out money to see him win against no-hopers.
He may be the IBF champion on paper, however it is a travesty that Charles Martin was even given the opportunity in the circumstances. Had Klitschko won, you can bet your last £10 note he would have maintained it.
Politics is ruining this great sport and nobody seems to be revolting at the fact. Joshua’s next opponent struggled to defeat a man who has been knocked out by Chris Arreola.
That should tell you all you need to know about the June 25 bout. Joshua is being given these low-calibre foes thanks to an outdated ranking system. Tyson Fury should still be in possession of the IBF belt, that way future bouts would actually mean something.
Joshua will destroy Dominic Breazeale, this man was ranked lower than Charles Martin for crying out loud. I can hardly blame Joshua or Hearn for the IBF’s policies, that said, mocking the guy who beat the guy is downright disrespectful.
Fury has had to work ten times harder than Joshua with less resources at his disposal. Ultimately, everything Anthony Joshua is, Tyson Fury is not and vice versa.
Joshua fits the bill commercially and his fighting style is aggressive for now; conversely Fury is too crude and outspoken for the politically correct world and is too good technically for his own good.
(Image via Twitter / Instagram)
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