Tyson Fury: will he retire from boxing or become the undisputed ‘Lord of the Ring’?
Pundits look at what the Gypsy King will do next after his masterclass against Dillian Whyte
In the aftermath of his thrilling knockout victory over Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury reiterated what he’s said all along in the build-up to the fight – that he is ready to retire from boxing.
Speaking in front of a 94,000-capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, Fury insisted that it “might be the final curtain” for the Gypsy King. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the road,” he said. “I’ve been away for a long time. I fulfilled everything I’ve ever wanted to fulfil. I will retire as only the second heavyweight in history, after Rocky Marciano, to retire undefeated. I was unbeatable at this game.”
Now unbeaten in 33 fights, Fury dominated what was a “scrappy bout”, said Kal Sajad on BBC Sport. Then in the sixth round he produced a stunning one-punch stoppage, a “vicious” right uppercut, to floor his rival.
The uppercut will be “replayed again and again as a highlight reel stoppage”, said Gareth A Davies in The Telegraph. And if it is to be the last punch of the prizefighter’s career, “it was without doubt a timeless piece of brutal artistry”.
“I will not be totally surprised” if Fury does walk away from boxing, said Steve Bunce on BBC Radio 5 Live. But the situation is “complicated”.
WWE, exhibitions or films?
Just minutes after suggesting plans to retire, Fury and UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou appeared to verbally agree to a “hybrid” fight, the Manchester Evening News reported. Ngannou, who is months away from the end of his UFC contract, said: “It’s gonna be a hybrid fight with different kind of rules... MMA gloves, in the ring, kinda mix it up. A little different.”
A fight with Ngannou is not the only thing on Fury’s wish list – WWE, exhibitions and even films could feature in his post-boxing career plans, BloodyElbow.com reported. “There’s plenty of good heavyweights coming up and time for them to have their time in the sun,” the 33-year-old said. “And me, this old, bald, fat guy – we’re out. I’ve done enough, I’m very happy with who I am, where I am, what I’ve done. Very, very happy with my career.
“You’re gonna see me in exhibitions, WWE, movies. Ngannou’s on that list. If I fight again it’ll be exhibition fights only, wrestling matches, stuff like that. Fun and entertaining, stuff that isn’t nerve wracking, stuff that doesn’t keep you up at night, stuff that’s not gonna get you severe injuries.”
Will Fury join the immortals?
Whatever Fury plans to do next, he will go down as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He is though “a fighting man”, as he “constantly reminds us”, said Ron Lewis on Boxing Scene. So, “don’t read this as the end”.
When Fury told fans at Wembley that he would quit professional boxing, his wife Paris appeared to mouth “no chance”, The Sun reported. “However, she may have been saying that there is ‘no chance’ he fights again.”
But in an interview with BT Sport, Paris Fury said the only reason her husband would return to boxing is the unification of the heavyweight division. “I know that in my heart the only reason Tyson would come back is for a unification fight,” she said. “That would be the only reason Tyson Fury would come back in the ring as he has nothing left to prove. To keep boxing on, there’s nothing there for him.”
Oleksandr Usyk is set to defend the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles in a rematch with Britain’s Anthony Joshua this summer – and the winner could face WBC champion Fury.
Despite insisting he’ll retire, Fury knows that he needs one more win against Usyk or Joshua to “join the immortals”, said Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail. One “final task” remains: to become the “undisputed Lord of the Ring” he must “defeat the bearer of those other heavyweight baubles”.