Is Tyson Fury Bonkers?

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Before this kicks off, I’d like to make it clear that I’m just asking the question. I’m not saying he’s off his rocker. And I certainly wouldn’t say it to his face. I’d have to be mad myself to do so.

However, over the last few days the Irish Mancunian has said some pretty bizarre things – even for him. First of all he equated homosexuality with paedophilia in a rant to The Mail On Sunday about the impending end of the world.

“There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one’s paedophilia. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?

When I say paedophiles can be made legal, that sounds like crazy talk doesn’t it? But back in the 50s and early 60s, for them first two to be made legal would have been looked on as a crazy man again.”

Hmmm. I don’t expect Fury is going to win too many friends with these remarks. He’s demonstrably anti-gay, something of an anathema in our modern society, and he seems to see the world quite an antiquated prism. He quotes the Old Testament a lot anyway.

Yet despite his old fashioned outlook on morality, he’s amazingly open minded and, dare I say it, forward thinking when it comes to other issues. For example, he admitted this week that drugs in sport should be legal. Well, that’s one way to ensure a level playing field I suppose.

“The old-fashioned ways ain’t the ways so I’m all open for drugs because, if we want to go forward in life and be in a democratic world, as they say, then I think being in a democratic world means that we have to be open to different things. Does it or does it not? …

Why don’t they just make drugs totally legal in sports, then everybody would be taking drugs, then it would be fully fair then, wouldn’t it?”

Tyson Fury’s mind must be a fascinating place. He’s a promoters dream, although he must give his team the odd nightmare too, because he speaks his mind so forthrightly. He can also be quite articulate at times, even if his mind wanders off on strange tangents.

I find his self-confidence both nauseating yet weirdly appealing – mainly because I don’t think it’s a sham. All boxers talk themselves up before big fights, as that’s exactly what the marketing men want, but their eyes often portray their true feelings. Fury’s self-belief, on the other hand, seems totally unshakable.

Despite having faced very few top quality opponents in his career, Fury genuinely seems to think that he’s the best in the business. He really seems to think it’s his destiny to be world champion. His faith in God is only matched by his faith in himself.

Yesterday’s press conference ahead of his big showdown with Wladimir Klitschko was a case in point. Fury completely stole the show by expressing every single emotion, and every single thought, running through his head.

At the very beginning, Fury admitted he was ‘nervous’ and ‘anxious’. Normally a professional boxer would never admit to any sign of human frailty. But then he very casually, and very convincingly in my opinion, claimed that he was going to win the fight at a canter.

Fury even claimed that Klitschko, who has been world champion for donkey’s years, would be one of his ‘easiest fights’ – even though he’s never fought anyone remotely in Wladimir’s class before. Most experts see things completely differently. Most bookies make Klitschko a 1-4 favourite.

I’m no expert when it comes to the finer points of boxing – mostly because Sky always put the big fights on their pay-per-view channel (even though Sky is already pay TV) and ask for an absurd and insulting price. However, I’ve seen enough of Fury to know that he’s slow and not particularly dynamic. My best guess is that Klitschko’s the one who will win easily – although I’ve read that Fury is bigger than most of the opponents the champion has fought before.

Having said that, it strikes me that you need two specific qualities (in addition to natural talent) to be a world-class boxer: you need to be incredibly self-confident and just a little bit insane. Can the oddball who once turned up to a press conference dressed as Batman get Klitschko in a flap?

James Morgan

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