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The Rise and Fall and Rise of Tyson Fury

By Christina Newland, Deadspin

Two mighty men in a boxing ring were girded by 60,000 screaming onlookers. The men had little in common. One was a Ukrainian national hero who had gone undefeated for a decade and had won more heavyweight title bouts than anyone in history. The other was a twenty-something Englishman with an unbeaten professional record but poor odds; his look is beer-bellied and bushy-bearded and bald-pated, with the red-faced complexion of a born and bred Anglo-Saxon raised on beer and potato. He is remarkably light on his feet and notoriously slippery in the ring. If the English interloper could beat the Ukrainian, he would win three of the four major titles and become the heavyweight champion of the world.

Three years ago, Tyson Fury did just that, triumphing by unanimous decision over champion Wladimir Klitschko. Fury was only the eighth of his countrymen in boxing history to claim the title, and like Jack Johnson a century before him, the first of his ethnicity to ever achieve it: Fury became the first ever Romany Gypsy heavyweight champion, part of a community that values pugilism like few others. His father had been a bare-knuckle boxer who fought under the nickname “Gypsy”; Tyson Fury wanted an even greater nickname to honor his heritage yet reflect his accomplishments, so he chose one himself. He is the Gypsy King.


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