Immediately after the unanimous points win that saw him become the genuine heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury credited his promoter and manager Mick Hennessy as being the ‘Jerry Maguire of boxing’.
It may have seemed a sentimental comment, but Fury’s victory over Wladimir Klitscho at the 55,000-capacity Esprit Arena largely appeared to be built on a team effort.
The fingerprints of his uncle and trainer Peter Fury were obvious to see in the new champion’s performance, which was disciplined throughout and against all the antics he had produced in the build-up, but Hennessy played a key role in bringing the 27-year-old challenger towards his title tilt in Dusseldorf.
Promoter Hennessy claimed he was left ‘in no man’s land’ after his TV deal with UK broadcaster ITV collapsed — a disaster for him which happened prior to Fury becoming a name on the world stage — and he was full of praise for his fighter after victory which saw the pair turn full circle as Fury claimed the most prestigious prize in boxing.
“It’s been a long, hard road and I’ve had a lot of disappointment and a lot of people who I thought were genuine who turned out to be disgraceful with their behaviour,” said Hennessy. “To have someone like Tyson, when the craic went sour he put his arm around me and said ‘you believed in me when I needed it, and whatever it takes and whatever rollercoaster we get on, I’ll be on it with you and if it means me fighting for nothing I’ll do it.’” Hennessy’s future as a ‘big-time’ promoter was questioned after his split with his former fighter Carl Froch, but he was visibly delighted to see his heavyweight star finally climb to the mantle of heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’d go through brick walls for this kid,” said Hennessy. “Anyone who shows me they’re a proper human being, a loyal human being, that’s what I am. I’m a loyal person and if I’m with you I’m with you a hundred per cent. I won’t let anything go wrong with this kid.”
Hennessy was also quick to defend Fury over an apparently-disputed choice of anthem heading into the bout with Klitschko.
‘God Save the Queen’ was played for the challenger’s introduction, while a Union Jack was paraded in his corner. Hennessy (who is also of Irish heritage) claimed that the Fury camp wanted a ‘neutral’ anthem to be played in recognition of his Irish family links but said the promoters failed to follow their requests.
“They weren’t supposed to play a national anthem because he considers himself British and Irish, they were supposed to play ‘We are the World’ but they played one national anthem. He’s born in England but he’s of Irish heritage,” said Hennessy.
Although Fury can often be paradoxical or contradictory in many statements, he does appear to place some value on his Irish heritage, with the newly-crowned world champion proclaiming himself as the ‘first Irish heavyweight champion of the world’ after his dominant points win over Klitschko — a claim that could be disputed on many levels considering other heavyweight champions with similar Irish links — but the Manchester-born fighter was keen to make a point of his background at the post-fight press conference.
“Everything is destined to be in life, every turn we take is planned,” said a humble Fury after his win, abandoning the vocal approach he had adopted in the build-up.
“From the first moment I laced on a pair of boxing gloves, there wasn’t one person in my family who didn’t believe I wasn’t going to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” added the new champion, a proud Traveller, who recalled his first sparring sessions with his brother Seán in the childhood kitchen.
“From the beginning I aimed for the stars and anything less was a failure. Tonight I hit a shooting star.
“And I’m the first Irish heavyweight champion of the world,” added Fury.
The defending champion was clearly disappointed but seemed eager to exert a right to a rematch clause in the fight contract.
“I couldn’t find the right distance to win this fight,” said Klitschko, whose efforts were comprehensively nullified by Fury.
“Tyson was quick with his body shots and his head movement,” continued Klitschko, who added: “This is to be continued.” The defeated champion was adamant that he will look to fight Fury again, but neither promotional team from either side was willing to suggest a venue for a rematch.
“We’ll look at how quickly the rematch can be done, I can’t go into details but it will be done in a certain period,” said Hennessy. “As long as we’re happy, the rematch will happen. We want the rematch because it’s the biggest fight out there for him.
“We wanted a rematch clause because what other fight is out there? It’s the biggest fight out there, we want to go again,” continued Hennessy. “It’s going to be more clinical next time, I think Tyson knocks him out. He’s just going to get better and better. He [Klitschko] had no answer for Tyson tonight but that was only 75 per cent of Tyson.”
Two of the ringside judges called the fight 115-112 and the remaining official scored it 116-111.
This reporter scored the fight 116-112.
In summary, the fight was not an explosive affair, but Fury produced a disciplined display to become the first man to defeat Klitschko (whose record is now 64-4) since 2004.
The defending champion, who is 39, looked short on ideas against the 27-year-old challenger, who has extended his record to 25-0 after claiming the universally-recognised WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles.
The only legitimate title Fury does not hold is the WBC belt that is carried by American Deontay Wilder, but when asked about unifying all of the heavyweight titles, Fury said: “Why would I be bothered about a novice basketball player?
“If Deontay Wilder wants a unification fight he’s going to have to wait because Wladimir Klitschko has a round two coming up — ding, ding, ding, ding.”
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