In November 2015 Tyson Fury shocked the world by unseating Wladimir Klitschko to become the lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World. It was an accomplishment I never expected him to earn–at the time I was officially on record picking Klitschko by KO.
The fight was utter garbage. I won’t say it was as terrible as Nikolai Valuev vs. Evander Holyfield, but it was close. It was certainly the worst fight I have watched in years. Action was at a bare minimum. Klitschko fought like an over-cautious Water Buffalo and Fury had the ring IQ to avoid forcing the champ into a significant exchange.
But make no mistake, Fury deserved to win that fight. He controlled the action and kept Klitschko thoroughly off-balance. It made him the real Heavyweight Champion.
The problem is, once the title was earned, he never defended it. He retired in 2016, citing mental health problems. Only at the end of last year did he start to speak of a comeback.
Last Saturday night he was finally back in action, in Manchester, England. His opponent was Sefer Seferi. If his name sounds unfamiliar, dear reader, do not blush with embarrassment. The Macedonian native and Swiss resident is a complete non-entity. He is a cruiserweight who apparently gets knocked out by giant heavyweights on occasion–his only previous bout of note was a KO loss to Manuel Charr. At 200 pounds he has fought nobody but club-fighter Palookas and hard-travelled journeymen, none of whom would be remotely recognizable to a North American fan.
I am having a hard time understanding how anybody could have thought Seferi was a credible opponent for Charr, let alone Fury.
Fury won by TKO–Seferi quit in his corner after Round 4, although he did not appear to have sustained much in the way of punishment. On the other hand, he had inflicted absolutely none. If ever there was a classic example of a fighter who was “there for the payday” it was Seferi last Saturday night.
During Fury’s hiatus, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder have both done their part to electrify the heavyweight division. Among fans, perhaps no other fight would be more coveted than a showdown between the two.
Given Fury’s historical significance as a true lineal champion, his “successful” return to the ring automatically puts him in the conversation for other potential opponents. I do not think he would be an easy night’s work for either Joshua or Wilder. He is a gigantic human being who has a pretty decent idea of what he needs to do in a boxing ring.
Fury is colorful and entertaining. If he did not so often turn in dreadfully boring performances, fans would be loudly cheering his return. But I have seen little mention of it on social media so far this week. It is almost like boxing fans are in a rare state of unification, all studiously pretending that Fury is still on the shelf.