Tyson Fury, the six foot nine inch Gypsy giant from Manchester is walking even taller tonight as the new heavyweight champion on the world.
In one of the most astonishing upsets boxing has known, 27-year-old Fury dethroned the long reigning Wladimir Klitschko in Düsseldorft, winning a unanimous points decision with the most memorable performance of his career.
“You’re a great champion Vlad, thanks very much for having me,” said Fury, moments after his win was announced.
“It was all fun and games in the build-up, I just wanted to be confident, young and brash.”
The build-up to the fight had been colourful and controversial, and the controversy continued right until the first bell as Klitschko apparently had his hands wrapped without a member of Fury’s team watching, as is custom. They demanded the champion cut them off and start again, delaying the start.
Fury came into the ring unfancied, if not unsung but managed to confuse, cut and in the end outclass the champion whose last defeat was 11 years ago.
Fury managed to nullify Klitschko’s renowned jab from the start. He had warned Klitschko that he had never faced anyone like him before and he was exactly right.
In a scrappy fight that was far from a classic contest with most of the action reserved for a frenetic last round, Fury, the first Romany ever to win a world title, taunted Klitschko on an incredible night, talking to him and dancing to a victory which few had believed possible.
Inevitably after the announcement of the scoring of the three ringside judges, from America, Argentina and Puerto Rico by markings of 115-112, (twice) and 115-111 – this despite the deduction of a point by American referee Tony Weeks for clumping Klitschko on the back of the head, Fury as promised burst into song.
But the music that mattered came during the 12 rounds in which the 39-year-old Klitschko suddenly began to show his age as Fury had always indicated he would.
Fury said: “People can say what they like about me, that I’m clumsy and awkward but now Ii am the heavyweight champion of the world. This is the start of a new era. I am the most charismatic heavyweight champion since Muhammad Ali.”
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect was that Fury managed to get the decision in Germany, Klitschko’s adopted homeland where judges rarely favour visiting fighters.
In a contest that was more miss than hit, Fury never allowed Klitschko to exert his usual dom ination. The 50,000 crowd at the Esprit Arena were virtually dumbstruck as their hero never managed to fathom the British challenger. He struggled to work him out, suffered damage around both eyes and at the end accepted the loss of his WBA, IBF and WBO titles with dignity.
Fury had one a minor battle before the fight, insisting that a thick underlay of foam was removed from the ring which he felt would have restricted his speed.
“It was like walking on a beach,” he said. Instead, he is walking on air.
Not a single British critic had predicted his victory and Fury said before the contest: “I will either wake up I the morning as World Champion or I will have egg on my face.”
You might say the Yoke is on us.
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