Any budding world heavyweight champion would have been pleased when his defining victory meant the media were hanging on his every word…but not Tyson Fury.
The 27-year-old defeated Wladimir Klitschko in the greatest away performance by a British fighter in recent times – by some distance. Still, it was only negativity that was seized upon by plenty in the mainstream UK media.
By all accounts, those reporting on Fury daily since his professional debut in 2008 are quite used to his highly controversial and offensive outbursts, which have been a regular occurrence since his very first social media post in 2010.
A lot has been focused on and scrutinized from a few words said by Fury in an interview last November, which the three-belt world titleholder wore his heart on his sleeve for and was definitely way too honest for his own good.
Fury is a ‘Man of the Lord’ as he continually professes, so to take things he says directed from his faith, traveling culture, or teachings from The Bible, can’t really be seized up as anything but ‘his belief’ alone.
Anyone who wants to put forth their own message, no matter how controversial – within reason – even on the streets of London or any other major city, would have the right to do should they feel the urge, and most would be able to gain the council’s blessing beforehand.
Now, whether you listen to that view is entirely down to you, but to vilify a man who has only just fulfilled his lifelong dream is something that should be laid out ahead of time and not resurface once that person becomes a hell of a lot more famous.
Does it seem like journalistic attention-seeking – certainly when put in that context, although the message sent out by Fury is not one that should be aired out in public by a contender who was hoping to become a flagbearer for the UK – and eventually did?
Pedophilia and homophobia are especially touchy subjects and should not be pushed into unsuspecting faces lightly, something Fury in hindsight has no doubt learned the hard way and will keep to himself in the future.
That said, causing a massive uproar over one sportsman’s beliefs is in no way going to go anyway to change that person’s views, so to then slander him with labels is equally not how a fighter at the top of his profession should be welcomed home from his most glorious night.
Upon making his Bolton homecoming two days after defeating his generation’s best heavyweight, Fury walked into a press minefield and spent the first week. A half of his reign defending comments made weeks before his victory.
Add to it the fact that interviews from 2013 were then brought up in an attempt to drag his name through the mud further, and it all adds up to what could be construed as some reputational damage campaign against Fury since his triumph.
Twitter rants in similar ilk have happened many times before and will not shock most who are amongst the new heavyweight king’s followers. However, the nature of the most recent headlines means those who are not accustomed to Fury got a first-hand crash course in his ways.
But if you ask 99% of boxing people who have known Fury over the years, and you would be hard-pushed to find many who say a bad word about him – even those who have felt the wrath of his considerably vicious tongue, which at times can be unforgiving.
The fact that Fury is so open with all media should really be applauded – even though we don’t agree with everything he says, but staining his greatest moment of celebration is not something that can now be undone and could have easily backfired if the new top division king had decided to withdraw himself from interviews in future.
The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. WBN celebrated its 10th Anniversary on August 1st, 2020, and is the top-visited independent boxing news website in the world.
Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay