Is Tyson Fury Declining?

December 4, 2023
7 months

Tyson Fury redefined British boxing success. Where Anthony Joshua lost fights to Andy Ruiz and Oleksandr Usyk, Fury kept his belts and has remained undefeated throughout his career. The Morecambe-born boxer is set to defend his titles against the same Ukrainian, but after his unconvincing win against Francis Ngannou, some pundits think that Fury’s abilities are waning.

Fury Couldn’t Finish Non-Boxer

Boxing news latest headlines got to fever pitch ahead of Tyson Fury’s match against Francis Ngannou earlier in 2023. Trending boxing news only spread like wildfire when Ngannou scored a knockdown in the fight, and for some boxing pundits, won the fight. Fury was officially given the win, but the official ruling has since been up for debate. In black-and-white terms, he still got his hand raised, yet given he was supposed to be a world champion, and his opponent was making his boxing debut, he was expected to do much better. Either finish the fight or at least outclass him in the majority of rounds.

Has Fury been Declining Since 2021?

Tyson Fury has flirted with retirement for an extended period. Whether he’s ever wanted to step away from boxing is often discussed and waved away as a marketing strategy. In October 2021, Tyson completed his trilogy series with Deontay Wilder successfully by recording a second straight win against the Bronze Bomber.

Yet after that fight, who has he fought? While it’s not respectful to say nobody, it’s kind of fitting. Dillian Whyte isn’t a fight that anyone necessarily wanted, but Fury still got it. In turn, however, that still seemed like more of a legitimate heavyweight title fight than his bout against 38-year-old Derek Chisora, who was 33-12 at the time.

After that, of course, he didn’t even defend the WBC heavyweight title against Francis Ngannou. Was he potentially fearful that he could have returned from Saudi Arabia without his championship belt?

Between fights two and three with Wilder, there was speculation of a Battle of Britain between Anthony Joshua and Fury. While that fight didn’t materialize, mostly due to Wilder forcing the boxing authorities to invoke a third match – there are question marks as to why the plans weren’t resurrected after the Fury-Wilder III. Potentially, Tyson Fury knew that his best days were behind him after that fight and tried to duck the biggest fights to keep his championship belts.

Maybe Ngannou was a Blip

Tyson Fury himself and his most ardent supporters would be hard pushed to say that he impressed against Francis Ngannou. However, it could have been an incredibly hot night in Riyadh or another factor that led Fury to just have a bit of an off-night and appear to be below-par against a non-boxer. Looking at his prior four fights, he finished them all by KO or TKO. Given he’s continued to stop matches, that would hardly suggest he’s declining in quality.

Will Usyk Take Advantage of Fury’s Waning Performances?

The negotiations for the fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk were long and drawn out – with Fury’s fight with Francis Ngannou coming amid all the speculation. As such, Usyk had to keep busy with his title defense against Daniel Dubois.

The undisputed heavyweight clash is penciled in for February 17th, 2024, in Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The match will ensure that there will be an undisputed heavyweight champion for the first time since 2000 when Lennox Lewis held all the silverware available at the time.

Boxing news websites will host all sorts of conjecture and discussion on who the favorite is going into the match, but the recent opponents on their respective resumes tell the story. While Fury has been fighting lesser-ranked challengers, Usyk’s fight record has been swelling in quality. Two consecutive wins over Anthony Joshua were followed by a KO win over Daniel Dubois.

Who Has Fury Beaten Anyway?

Tyson Fury might be undefeated and come out as the victor of the aforementioned trilogy series with Deontay Wilder but when those three fights are excluded from his record, who else of note is there? Wladimir Klitschko jumps off the page initially, but after that, the names aren’t blockbuster. Otto Wallin, Tom Schwarz, and Francesco Pianeta are far from memorable fights. When he squares off against Oleksandr Usyk, that will go some distance to hush naysayers about his resume.

Should Fury Just Retire?

Boxing news sites fell over themselves to cover the news that Tyson Fury was retiring. It even led Netflix to make a documentary about the man and his daily life away from the boxing ring. What was evident from the very first episode was that he wasn’t ready to step away from the boxing ring despite his wife, Paris Fury, constantly asking him to do so.

That documentary series followed his return to the ring when he defended his belts (as he never vacated them) against Derek Chisora. Ten months later, he had that infamous bout against Ngannou, which has given him more questions than answers. As he wasn’t quite at the races, he would need to find another level to beat Usyk, that’s for sure.

Or he could just pack it all in and explore some of the other countless options available to him. He’s a massive professional wrestling fan, having claimed to have a personal and working relationship with Vince McMahon, the eternal overlord of WWE. Having already appeared and participated with the company, surely this would be an avenue he’d like to explore, given he could make good money and be in less physical harm. Ronda Rousey made the switch to pro wrestling and seems to be enjoying herself.

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