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Fury vs Usyk: Rematch and retirement questions begin for Tyson Fury after Oleksandr Usyk defeat | Boxing News


To Tyson Fury, comebacks are customary. He does them better than most. The Gypsy King just missed out on the greatest prize in boxing, to a sweet science sorcerer no less, but he will be back. The lure of the fans, the fights and the theatre will see to that. 

The Kingdom Arena erupted on Saturday night as pyrotechnics and Bonnie Tyler vocals serenaded the Fury entourage, spearheaded by their ‘hero’ ahead of the biggest heavyweight bout in 25 years. As Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield – the last two to contest undisputed status – watched on, Fury smiled and danced and thrust his arm forward in Superman style while making his march to the ring.

It was the moment he lives for, all turmoil and all hurdles culminating in the most pressured stage, most anticipated fight of the century, a place in the eyes of the world. That he didn’t prevail on this occasion might yet become another chapter in one of boxing’s great stories of resilience. He doesn’t go down that easily. Oleksandr Usyk can attest to that.

As the night drew in over in Riyadh, where Fury had been on the losing side of a split decision, the questions over what next began. Rematch? Retirement? Questions to be resolved back in Morecombe, in good time, it seems.

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Tyson Fury disagreed with the split decision result and insisted he wants a rematch against champion Oleksandr Usyk

“I ain’t boxing because I’ve got no money, I’m boxing because I love it. I’m 36 in a few months. I’ve been boxing since I was a child,” Fury told reporters.

“Where does it all end? Do I have a hundred fights and break down and end up in a wheelchair?

“While I’m still loving the game – and I was having fun in there – then I will continue to do it. When I can’t do it any more, I’ll pack it up.”

Fury has long been an advocate for the ultimate prize of fighters returning safely to their families, his well-publicised battle with mental health issues perhaps contributing to his value of as much. Amid the pre-fight tirades and verbal volleys prevalent throughout his career, it has emerged as one of his most admired philosophies.

Never too high, never too low has become the Fury approach; boxing means everything to him, without meaning everything. There has been a healthy peace to the feeling he does not need the sport as he might have before his three-year absence, but instead persists to grind away out of his love for it. It’s for that reason you can envision him fighting on, and fighting to avenge his sole career loss.

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Oleksandr Usyk reacts to becoming undisputed world champion in a toughly fought battle with Tyson Fury

When the stakes were highest, Fury retained the trademark showmanship that would inspire him to pull faces and shake his hips in jest at the sight of an early Usyk flurry. Then came the ability to flick the switch as he traded in showboating for slick uppercuts and vicious body shots that had the Ukrainian on the back foot mid-way through the fight. It was Fury at his finest, the great entertainer with the lightning hands and taunting feints that only one Ukrainian master has been able to decipher.

Come the ninth and Fury was in survival mode as he staggered from corner to corner amid a defining Usyk assault, all 6ft 9in and 262lbs of him refusing to hit the canvas for good. By the end of round 10 he had rediscovered that fleet-footed bounce, allowing Usyk no respite in his bid to see out victory.

Usyk had been forced to work harder than ever before in his professional career, forced to concentrate more than ever in his career. The Fury camp were adamant in their belief they did enough to win; for all boxing has come to learn about Fury, it is difficult to see him walking away were that truly the case.

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Oleksandr Usyk got emotional following his victory over Tyson Fury as he spoke about how much he misses having his late father by his side when boxing

“I’m very happy in my mind, I’m happy with the performance. Both men have got paid and both men are going home to their lovely wives and children. And that’s what it’s about. We put on a show for the fans,” said Fury.

“I’m going to be 36, we’re not young kids anymore. We’re at the end of our careers and we’ve got a brilliant fight tonight, so I’m proud of myself.

“In that ninth round I was hurt and I rallied back, that’s what the GK (Gypsy King) does. I was thankful we both got out of the ring, on to the next one.”

He may not have become the ruler of the heavyweight division, but clamour for the presence and participation of Fury in the modern era plot remains as potent as ever. From his blockbuster trilogy against Deontay Wilder to a unique and enthralling duel of technical mastery against Usyk, he has engaged in the best of both worlds as a face for sporting cinema. And there is more left for him.

His next steps could prove selective ones at this later stage in his career. There is a rematch clause to be activated against the only man ever to get the better of him, and a long-coveted all-British mega-fight to be made against Anthony Joshua.

For him to pinpoint where things might have gone wrong was a nod to his intent on putting things right. For now, though, he will rest.

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Take a look back at the moment Oleksandr Usyk knocked down Tyson Fury in the ninth round with the British fighter saved by the the bell

“We’ve just had a fight. If you can see my face I’m pretty busted up and he’s busted too,” added Fury.

“We’ll go home, eat some food, drink some beers, spend some family time, walk my dog, go to the tip and me and Frank (Warren) will talk about what’s going to happen in the future.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think I’d just do a little bit more of the same, keep my defence a little bit tighter, a bit more focused, and not so much messing around because I was having fun in there.

“I was playing around, I was hitting him to the body, uppercuts to the head and I thought I was bossing the fight.”

The two could hardly be split, in the end a ninth-round standing count leaning the fight in Uysk’s favour after Fury had seemingly been in control.

Fury sprinting out to the centre of the ring, Usyk stalking him at the ropes, Fury showboating in the corner, Usyk consistently threatening with his rangy left hook, Fury grappling control with brutal body shots, Usyk one punch and 10 more seconds away from a knockout finish, Fury surviving, Usyk piling on the pressure, Fury fighting back. It was uncomfortably, beautifully tense, sitting on the edge of explosion as the two best heavyweights of their era delivered chaos while the world watched on in awe. The world wouldn’t mind watching it again. The world never minds watching Fury again.



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