• Joe Wilhelm

Return of the (Gypsy) King

This past Saturday, the most anticipated heavyweight boxing match of this generation, and most anticipated fight since McGregor vs Mayweather, took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a contest to determine one thing: who is the greatest heavyweight in the world? After months of waiting, the world of boxing has an answer: the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury.

The bout was in the making as soon as Wilder-Fury I ended. Finishing in a draw, the event left many questions, including “Who is the “baddest man on the planet?” Tyson Fury entered the fight with a record of 27-0. Deontay Wilder entered the fight at 40-0, holding the World Boxing Council (WBC) championship. The fight was incredibly entertaining, with a particularly notable moment in Tyson Fury being knocked down by a brutal left hook from Wilder, laying on the canvas while staring at the ceiling, and miraculously “rising from the dead” to finish the round and the fight. Despite the eventful fight, the judges rendered the contest a split decision, resulting in widespread calls for a rematch.

Both men have worked through their trials and tribulations to rise to where they are now. During an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Wilder, a father of eight, told the story of how he got into boxing to financially support his daughter who was born in 2005 with spinal bifida. Wilder also suffered from depression and considered suicide. Fury, no stranger to depression and suicidal thoughts himself, went through bouts of alcoholism and drug use throughout his life and career. Fury has said that he is manic depressive. Examining the personal issues that both men have experienced, it is clear that they have worked hard and gone through their own personal hells on their way to join boxing’s elite.

On Saturday night, the two met for the rematch. Both Fury and Wilder had fought and won twice since their first match, with Wilder defending his WBC belt and Fury winning the WBO Inter-Continental belt. The odds were in Wilder’s favor, as he came in as the favorite. A casual viewer, however, would have never known. After some even and fair exchanges in rounds 1 and 2, Fury’s unrelenting pressure began to benefit him. Wilder seemed to slow down, and was eventually dropped in the third round for a knockdown for Fury. Following the knockdown, it was the Gypsy King’s show. Tyson Fury put on nothing short of a clinical performance, using his weight, reach, power, and stamina to truly annihilate the most feared puncher in boxing. By the seventh round, Wilder’s corner had seen enough, and threw in the towel as their fighter was being battered by punches in the corner of the ring. Tyson Fury was the new and unified heavyweight champion.

In the moments following the stoppage, Wilder shouted “Why did you do that?” at his team as he approached them. The blood pouring from Wilder’s ear, the amount of blows being absorbed and lack of punches being thrown, and the blood slowly seeping out of Wilder’s mouthguard made it evident that the stoppage was well warranted. Wilder had been decimated, but with the heart and effort of a true champion, wanted to stay in the ring until the bitter end. Claiming that he wished his team would have let him “go out on his shield,” Wilder showed the characteristics of a warrior in the post fight interview.

While Wilder was being examined and spoken to by his team, Fury was celebrating with his own team and family on the other side of the ring. A man that has gone through hell and back to regain his crown, Fury seemed truly energized and elated throughout the moments post-fight. Concluding his interview with his own rendition of Don Maclean’s “American Pie,” Fury continued to be one of the most dominating characters and fighters in the sport today.

This fight not only unified the heavyweight championship, but it also seemed to exemplify the newly regained popularity of heavyweight boxing. Garnering massive amounts of public attention and amassing pay-per-view numbers that will surely reach the hundreds of millions, this event was one for the ages. As it stands, Tyson Fury is at the top of the heavyweight division and is the man to beat. All that’s left to do is wait until the next bout, to see how Deontay Wilder will return from his first defeat, and to see how the Gypsy King performs while being back on top.

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