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Tyson Fury: The Return Of The Gypsy King?

Is Tyson Fury the master boxer his backers have him pegged as or did he get lucky in Dusseldorf just over two years ago? Will he make novices of the pretenders keeping his seat at the head of the heavyweight boxing table warm?
We might soon be in a position to finally get the answer to some of those questions, given news that UKAD (UK Anti-Doping), Tyson Fury and his cousin Hughie Fury have agreed to resolve proceedings, a result that was as predictable as it was overdue.

Whilst all parties involved will claim some form of victory, the truth of the matter is that the UKAD V Fury merry-go-round has reached an impasse.

The formalities of the resolution are as follows: UKAD, Tyson and Hughie agree to a resolution on the grounds that UKAD uphold their findings in respect of the failed tests in February of 2015.

No action is to be taken against Tyson in respect of a refusal to provide a sample in Sept 2016. Tyson and Hughie both accept a retrospective 'period of ineligibility', backdated to 13 December 2015, which therefore expires at midnight on 12 December 2017.

Results from their respective fights in February 2015 are disqualified (Tyson's bout with Christian Hammer, Hughie’s bout with Andriy Rudenko). Tyson and Hughie maintain their position that they have never knowingly or deliberately committed any anti-doping rule violation.

In short, UKAD get their guys, Tyson and Hughie walk away with some form of plausible deniability and are free to resume their boxing careers with the shadow of UKAD no longer looming over them.

It's worth pointing out that UKAD never stopped Tyson or Hughie from competing or earning a living.

Hughie challenged for the WBO heavyweight title in his most recent bout whilst under investigation. Tyson is another story. His much documented struggles with mental health and substance abuse meant that his British Boxing Board of Control license was suspended and it was this, and this only, that kept him from the ring, not UKAD.

The BBBoC have announced that Tyson's suspension will be considered by Stewards of the board when they meet in January 2018.

Tyson Fury’s position at the helm of heavyweight boxing has been something of a mystery to me. With all due credit given for his win over Wladimir Klitschko, a win that means he is still the man who beat the man and Ring Championship holder, his reign was as brief as it was unspectacular.

Whilst he never lost his titles in the ring, he did voluntarily hand them over one by one through a series of poor decisions, whether they be contractual or lifestyle.

For his staunch supporters, and for some members of the boxing fraternity who really ought to ask of more, those thirty-six minutes in Dusseldorf, when Tyson nullified what looked like a disinterested Klitschko, was all the evidence needed to proclaim Tyson Fury a great fighter.

His supporters maintain that victory proved that Tyson is a pugilist specialist of the highest order, a man who even now with two years of ‘ineligibility' and several stone overweight, would dance rings around your Deontay Wilders and Anthony Joshuas of this world. It’s not even up for debate with some people.

It’s not quite that straight forward for me, and neither should it be. Up until the Klitschko fight, Tyson had a good career: winning English, British, European and International titles, but there was never anything to set the World alight.

Some people still remember the Tyson Fury that needed two bites of the cherry to get past John McDermott at English title level, and many observers felt Fury lost the first bout.

Two cracks were needed to establish superiority over Derrick Chisora for the British title. There were multiple trips to the canvass by Fury against one nondescript opponent, Canadian-Serbian boxer Nevan Pajkic, and one victory over a Cruiserweight, albeit a World class one, in Steve "USS" Cunningham.

All these factors it would appear have been washed away by the pro Fury crowd. He made a mug of Klitschko and he’d make a mug of anyone else you care to mention, end of analysis.

For those not happy to immediately pin their colours to the Fury mast however, a little more than 36 minutes at the top is required to declare the second coming.

So now we wait.

Tyson continues to flood social media with workout/dancercise videos telling us how the weight is melting off; good on him.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry will continue to stick a camera in his mush so he can tell us how much of a wanker Eddie Hearn is and how Antony Joshua is a body builder.

January comes around, his license hearing, you would expect, will be a formality after providing some evidence that he’s no longer caning the coke (not the stuff that made Santa’s suit red) and that he’s undergone some form of therapy for mental health issues.

With a bit of luck and no further obstacles, we should indeed see the return of the Mack in the first half of 2018.
Then and only then will we find out for sure if Tyson Fury is the Real Deal, or if he’s James Douglas.

About Matt Cotterell

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