Is Tyson Fury the Best British Heavyweight Boxer of All Time?

There have been undisputed heavyweight champions before but no boxer has ever held all titles since the division moved to four organizations in 2004. Now Fury could be the first.

The small matter of beating Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk stands in the way of that happening, of course. In fact, Tyson Fury only holds one of those belts at the moment – the WBC version – so it might be something of a stretch to anoint him as a champion in waiting.

The online boxing betting markets have gone into a frenzy, as they do before every Tyson Fury fight, at the thought of him proving himself as one of the greatest fighters of all time. But, whatever the result in Riyadh in the middle of May, can Tyson Fury already claim to be the finest heavyweight boxer Britain has ever produced?

Fury’s Career

It is fair to say that Tyson Fury’s professional career has been a rollercoaster. There is definitely never a dull moment when it comes to this fighter and he has repeatedly come back from the brink to prove himself in the ring. His perseverance alone puts him right up there with some of the best the sport has ever seen.

Fury has won countless titles on a regional and global level and has not lost one of his 35 bouts before facing Usyk this year. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect record is the drawn fight against Deontay Wilder in 2018 – a fight that many thought he should have been awarded.

Fury the Entertainer

Although all boxing fans want to see the best fighters in the world, it is also a fact that we want to be entertained. There is a huge element of show business to boxing and the greatest ever have also tended to be the ones we remember for everything they do outside the ring, as well as inside.

If anything, Fury has succeeded in this respect more than most. He has come back from his own personal issues, as well as some very public controversies, and has been able to win over the boxing – and wider – public. He is one of the sport’s greatest entertainers and personalities and would probably rank higher in this regard than any of the other boxers we are about to mention.

British Boxers

Tyson Fury may well claim to be the greatest entertainer British boxing has ever seen, but what about his record and accomplishments in the ring? Well, for our money, he does pretty well in that category too. There are not many that can compare to his sheer power and determination.

Older boxing fans will look to the greats, such as Henry Cooper and Tommy Farr as rivals for the best-ever ranking. In more recent times, the likes of David Haye, Frank Bruno, and even Anthony Joshua have been put forward as beacons of British heavyweight boxing.

Some of those boxers may have been more universally loved than Tyson Fury, fought some of the best heavyweights of all time, and many have won world titles along the way. But it is fair to say that Tyson Fury can probably stand up to all of them and put a good case forward as to why he is the best. But there is one British heavyweight boxer that still probably outranks him.

The Best Ever?

Lennox Lewis may not have sounded particularly British but he was born in the East End of London and held dual citizenship. He was 12 when he moved with his mother to Canada and it was there that he excelled in a number of sports before deciding that boxing was the one for him.

Lewis won Olympic gold at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul in the super heavyweight division, before turning professional and returning to the UK. He had always considered himself as British and he would go on to win over a somewhat skeptical general public as well as win just about everything in the heavyweight division.

Lewis was actually the last fighter to be the undisputed champion, back in 1999, and finished his career with a 42-2-1 record. In his time he beat the likes of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield and will go down as one of the greatest ever – let alone the best from Britain.

The Future for Fury

So what would Tyson Fury have to do to usurp Lennox Lewis as the best British heavyweight of all time? Becoming the undisputed champion of the world would be a start. But there is an argument that if the two boxers met each other in their primes, it would still be Lennox Lewis who came away victorious.

Obviously, we will never know conclusively but Lewis showed that he was able to adapt to different fighters and it could be said that his core skillsets would be enough to overcome the ferocity and power of Fury’s punching. That being said, Fury has proved that he can come back from just about anything and would not have been afraid of entering a ring with Lewis at the height of the former champion’s powers.

Tyson Fury has shown that he is the British heavyweight boxer to beat in recent years and is undoubtedly up there with the greatest in history. Comparing fighters from different eras is always difficult and maybe we should just be grateful that we are able to watch such a proficient fighter now – and enjoy what might still be to come for the Gypsy King.

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