Boxing's New Tyson: Meet Tyson Fury

George KotschyCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2009

It has been almost four years since Mike Tyson suffered the ignominy of a defeat to the Irish journeyman, Kevin McBride.

The "baddest man on the planet" had finally hit rock bottom, having stumbled around the heavyweight division like a confused drunk since his loss to Evander Holyfield in 1997.

Following his defeat to McBride, he retired and, despite numerous rumours of a highly inadvisable return, he has stayed away from the ring since (excluding his Las Vegas public sparring circus act.)

Now the name of Tyson is once again being mentioned in connection with the painfully dull heavyweight division of the present day.

This particular Tyson could hardly be more different to "Iron Mike" though. Tyson Fury is a 20-year-old, white, British, 6" 8' prodigy from Manchester.

His dad, "Gypsy" John Fury was a professional boxer himself, engaging in 14 bouts in the 1980s. With that boxing heritage in mind, it is easy to understand how Tyson Fury was so named.

When he was born in 1988, perilously premature at six and a half months old and weighing only one pound, Mike Tyson was at his terrifying best.

As John Fury held his newly born son in his arms, he told the doctor he wanted him to be named after the heavyweight champion of the world. From that point on, it was almost inevitable that Tyson Fury would take the path that he has.

Whatever size he grew to be, he was going to be a fighter. It just helps that he has grown, like a magic beanstalk, into the behemoth he is today.

Fury had a successful career as an amateur boxer, racking up 34 fights, with 30 wins, 26 knockouts, and four defeats.

He became the Amateur Boxing Association super-heavyweight champion last year, and then promptly announced his decision to enter the professional ranks. Since then, Fury has fought four times, stopping each one of his opponents.

Of course, any fight fan will tell you that little or nothing can be surmised from watching a boxer in their first few fights.

Their first opponents are journeymen, willing to take a beating off the future star but able to give them an idea of what the professional game is all about. It is usually a matter of when, not if, these first barriers are knocked over.

Such has been the case with Fury, who has been presented with tubby, aging brawlers that you would expect to see working at nightclub doors, rather than competing in the ring.

But as the mantra goes, you can only beat what's in front of you, and beat them he has. There is no doubt Fury has potential, but just how much remains to be seen.

His sheer bulk makes him an awkward opponent for anybody and he mixes his shots well, planting accurate, thudding jabs, alongside arrowed body shots.

One thing he must work on is his conditioning. He has conceded this already in his first few post-fight interviews, but he is visibly chubby.

He has love handles and lacks any muscle definition. His midriff in particular will become a bulls-eye to any opponents of real quality if it is not toughened up. 

The current heavyweight division is one of the weakest and most uninspiring of all-time, and it is crying out for a new face.

Fury is nowhere near being ready to challenge any of the champions, but he could be in two or three years time.

By that time, it is likely that Vitali Klitschko will have retired once more and Wladimir could be on his way out. If Fury is handled correctly and trained by a world-class coach, he could be there to pick up the pieces.

For the first time since 1997, the heavyweight champion could once again be called Tyson. Though this time, he's a softly spoken, awkward man more likely to eat your pork pie than your children.