There was a big shock in Dusseldorf last night when challenger Tyson Fury beat reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko on a unanimous points decision to take the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles. Klitschko hadn’t been beaten in eleven years and was second only to Joe Louis in the list of all time longest ever reigning world heavyweight champions.
Fury, 27, is the son of Irish traveller emigrants who settled in Manchester, England, and he claims both Irish and British nationality. His father John Fury is from Galway and his mother is from Belfast. He also comes form great boxing stock; John was a bare knuckle fighter and unlicensed boxer before becoming professional and he is a cousin of WBO Middleweight World Champion Andy Lee and heavyweight Hughie Fury.
Two years ago he spoke with Irish Boxing magazine of his pride in his Irish heritage.
“I think I have showed my true colours over the years. I vacated the British and Commonwealth titles, which some people say are more prestigious than the Irish title, but not to me. I vacated those belts for an Irish title shot because it meant more to me,” he said.
“All my people are from Ireland. I was born in Manchester but I am Irish. I have lived in Ireland, visited all my life and when I fight I represent Ireland. It means a lot to me as does the support I get when I fight in Belfast.”
It was in his mothers home town Belfast in 2012 where Fury proudly captured the Irish title in a TKO victory over Martin Rogan.
Last nights fight was no classic and won’t go down in the annals as one for the purists with too much clinching and not enough good boxing. Most of the rounds were tight and were scored accordingly but Fury was the better fighter on the night and the judges deservedly gave him victory via a unanimous decision of 115-112, 115-112, 116‑111.
Six foot night inch Fury, known as the “Gypsy King,” spoke to TV reporters after his victory about his supreme confidence going into the contest.
“I always said what I’d do and I’ve delivered tonight. I didn’t have this confidence for nothing. I knew I could come here and upset the apple cart,” he said.
“I knew all along I could win the fight. Wladimir knew, his full team knew tonight. I saw in his eyes tonight he was going to lose the fight and he saw the new, hungry champion in me.”
Fury also thanked his Irish and British fans and called Klitschko “a great champion.” He also apologised for the pre fight antics in the weeks leading up to the bout and said he was just trying to show he was younger and more hungry than the Ukrainian.
As an amateur, Fury fought for both Ireland and England. He represented Ireland three times at international level and he initially fought out of the Holy Family Boxing Club in Belfast, Northern Ireland before making the switch to the Smithboro Club in Monaghan.
He made his professional debut in July 2011 when he fought and beat then undefeated heavyweight Dereck Chisora via a unanimous decision.
A clause in Fury’s contract means there will definitely be a rematch but going on last nights evidence you would wonder whether Klitschko’s heart will be in it. By the time that fight comes around the Ukrainian will be 40. However he may not want his limp, half hearted showing last night to be his last experience in the ring and might have one final performance in him.