It’s safe to say Tyson Fury’s win over the 11-year undefeated WBF, IBF, WBO and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night rocked the world of sport harder than a Zinedine Zidane headbutt.
The ‘Gypsy Warrior’ was a 6/1 long shot to beat one of the great heavyweight champions in the history of the sport and he did so in extraordinary fashion, producing one of the greatest upsets in the sport since Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990.
Hilarious antics ensued leading up to the fight, which in all honesty didn’t seem to faze Klitschko—including Fury turning up to a press conference in a Batman suit and flooring a man dressed up as The Joker. The comic nature of Fury seemed to be in absolute desperation to unnerve Dr Steelhammer.
Perhaps the most cringe worthy yet downright excruciatingly funny was his pre-fight rap to Biggie’s “Juicy” and Krept and Konan’s “Freak of The Week.”
I watched fight in my hometown of Nottingham (situated in the center of Britain) at an Irish pub in the city named Raglan Road. Scenes of jigging Irish hysteria greeted us at the door before me and my mate descended upstairs rather awkwardly to where the big screen was showing the last undercard before the main prizefight.
The place was already jam-packed full like a can of sardines, filled with stereotypical boxing fans: coked up to the eyeballs, pint of Stella in hand and looking for a fight of their own at any given moment. Of course there was a brawl or two, funnily enough with all the hornpipes and jigging going on downstairs as Guinness flew through the air, the bouncers didn’t know a thing or probably just turned a blind eye as if this was the norm. I can soundly say it was.
You can’t help but love the Irish, and it was a fitting place to watch a man from an Irish traveling background being spurred on by jacked up jocks as if he were one of their own (Fury was born in Manchester, but sights himself as Irish and English).
In all honesty no one gave him a chance, the fight had been billed as a pure whitewash for the 39-year old Klitschko, who looked in immense mechanical shape with Fury generally looking like an overweight funny man who was most definitely not of the same class as the Ukrainian.
At times it was an edgy, nervous fight that looked as if as soon as Klitschko turned the screw and moved into second gear, then Fury would be no match for him. That never came, and Fury grew more confident and strangely fitter as the fight wore on, never letting Klitschko execute his famed left hook to devastating effect. The room grew in volume, the majority of punters pretty intoxicated in some way or another by the 8th and 9th round.
Some tough jabs to the seemingly unbreakable Ukrainian were greeted with roars and screams and a slug match in the final few rounds set up a tantalizing verdict that was sure to be contentious whatever the outcome.
As Michael Buffer announced the judges’ decision, the Fury camp celebrated ecstatically. A mad hysteria broke out at the bar with what seemed like hundreds of punters packed into a small room upstairs to witness the new undisputed heavyweight champion of the world serenading his wife (rather wincingly) with a cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.”
I felt drunk on shock, laughter and lager and in truth, I’ve only just got over the hangover. I didn’t really know what had happened; absolutely no one predicted this result or the way Klitschko just didn’t show up.
He looked broken, the end of an era of a heavyweight who many viewed as one of the G.O.A.T. Klitschko’s future seems in doubt whilst the queue to fight Fury is probably already brimming with promoters itching to get their checkbooks and pens to the ready.
For now, let’s revel in this admirable buffoon who’s conquered the world quite literally and made history for all the right reasons—as well as some of the wrong. It’s never dull with the Irish.