Irish boxing plays its part in making Tyson Fury the 'Gypsy King' of world boxing

Irish boxing plays its part in making Tyson Fury the 'Gypsy King' of world boxing
Tyson Fury, of England, celebrates after defeating Deontay Wilder in a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

TYSON FURY made his first impression in an Irish vest away to Poland in November 2007.

The Gypsy King, who TKO'd Alabama's Deontay Wilder in the seventh round in Las Vegas on Saturday night to claim the WBC heavyweight title, stopped Poland's Michal Jablonski in the third round in Rzeszow 13 years ago.

Manchester-born Fury, London 2012 finalist John Joe Nevin and Michael Mullaney also recorded wins for Ireland, but the Poles won the 10-bout meeting 7-3.

Ireland met the Poles against in Bialystok two days later but the results are incomplete. 

However, it's agreed that Fury, who beat Maurice Byarm in an Ireland versus USA meeting in Philadelphia, fought on the Bialystok card and won.

Tyson Fury, of England, celebrates after defeating Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Tyson Fury, of England, celebrates after defeating Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Limerick light-flyweight Jimmy Moore, the only Irishman to beat three-time Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes (twice), also fought for Ireland against Poland.

Fury, who is of Irish Traveller stock, also boxed for England in the amateurs. 

In 2008, he had to withdraw from the Irish Elite Championships after an objection was lodged regarding his eligibility as he not born in Ireland.

The 31-year-old orthodox turned pro in December 2008. 

But doubts about his eligibility to fight for an Irish belt arose again in 2012 when he was slated to meet Martin Rogan for the Boxing Union of Ireland title in Belfast.

However, Fury was helped by Tom Lee, father of Limerick southpaw Andy Lee, Ireland's only boxer at the 2004 Olympics and a former WBO World champion who is related to Fury.

"Andy's father went to the Boxing Union of Ireland and signed an affidavit that my grandmother was Irish, so all the talk about me being Irish or not has been put to bed," said Fury, who beat Rogan to claim the vacant Irish title.

Describing Tom Lee as an "absolute gentleman," Mel Christle of the Boxing Union of Ireland said that Lee senior was an enormous help.

Andy Lee was part of Fury's coaching staff for the Wilder fight in Las Vegas. 

The Gypsy King has won 30 (20 KO) and drawn one of his 31 bouts in the paid ranks.

The former Irish and English international has fought 193 rounds of prizefighting since 2008.

Meanwhile, Katie Taylor's promoter, Eddie Hearn, has admitted that Anthony Joshua would be the underdog if he met Fury in a unification bout.

Tyson Fury during the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 23, 2020. See PA story BOXING Las Vegas. Photo credit should read: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.
Tyson Fury during the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 23, 2020. See PA story BOXING Las Vegas. Photo credit should read: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

Joshua regained the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles in December after avenging the sole loss of his professional career by defeating Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia.

And Fury won a rematch against Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday to become WBC heavyweight champion, having fought to a controversial draw with Wilder in the pair's first bout in December 2018.

Most pundits believed Fury had done enough to dethrone Wilder at the first time of asking despite the 'Gypsy King' being floored twice in the fight, but there was no controversy on Saturday.

Fury earned a seventh-round stoppage win over Wilder, handing the American his first career loss when the towel was thrown in.

Joshua and Fury now holding all belts, a showdown for the undisputed champion of the division is on the cards, and Joshua's promoter Hearn believes Fury would be seen as favourite to emerge victorious.

"AJ's the underdog in this fight," Hearn, who promotes London 2012 champion Joshua, told Sky Sports. 

"And I love that. I promise you, this fight will happen. We will do everything that it takes to make this fight. 

"There's some hurdles to overcome on the broadcasting, but nothing too much."

"I don't want [Fury] to take the rematch, but if you're asking me, honestly, you have to take the rematch. 

"We had a similar position with Andy Ruiz against Anthony Joshua.

"We had 28 days to exercise the rematch clause. I went to see Anthony Joshua when he lost to Andy Ruiz the day after. 

"He was only ever taking one fight.

"But I believe Anthony Joshua's made of a different kind of stuff to Deontay Wilder. 

"Wilder had a look in his eye on Saturday to say: 'I don't even want to be here.' He's made his money. What's he got to come back to?

"The problem is, if you don't take the rematch now, do you ever get your shot? 

"Because AJ's going to fight Fury -- they may do it twice, they may do it three times, who knows? 

Tyson Fury (left) and Deontay Wilder during the World Boxing Council World Heavy Title bout at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 22, 2020. See PA story BOXING Las Vegas. Photo credit should read: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.
Tyson Fury (left) and Deontay Wilder during the World Boxing Council World Heavy Title bout at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 22, 2020. See PA story BOXING Las Vegas. Photo credit should read: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

"So right now, my money is actually on Wilder to rematch Fury."

Joshua is expected to fight Kubrat Pulev in June in a mandatory defence of his IBF title at Tottenham Hotspur's ground. 

But Hearn said a fight against Fury instead of Pulev would be the ideal scenario.

"It must happen this year, because both guys want the fight, so there's no reason why not to," he added.

"At the same time, it's the timings. At the end of the day, Joshua's going to fight in June and in November or December. 

"We don't mind waiting for the Fury fight until November or December, but we'd rather it happened.

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