JEFF POWELL: Tyson Fury needs one more win to join the IMMORTALS

JEFF POWELL: Tyson Fury needs one more win to join the heavyweight IMMORTALS… Gypsy King insists he’s retiring after demolishing Whyte at Wembley, but knows he must beat Joshua or Usyk for his legend to be complete

  • Tyson Fury knocked out Dillian Whyte with a huge uppercut on Saturday night
  • He hinted that the fight will be his last after promising his wife he would retire
  • But to become undisputed world champion he must next beat Usyk or Joshua 

The siren lure of immortality was pulling at Tyson Fury before he left the building which he had rocked to its foundations.

Come the witching hour, the call rang louder in his ears than the tumultuous acclaim with which a host of 94,000 believers had just signalled the Gypsy King’s medieval slaying of the latest pretender to his throne.

As the hands of the Wembley Stadium clock folded over midnight his answer to the oil-burning question flickered from ‘what a perfect moment on which to retire’ to ‘this might be my last fight’.

Immortality calling?

Tyson Fury can become Britain’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis

On the weekend after Easter this profoundly Catholic man invoked ‘my Lord Jesus Christ’ for his safe deliverance.

On this St George’s Day this English patriot wore a satin flag of white with red trim as he joined triumphant battle with Dillian Whyte upon his homecoming from America. Immortality achieved?

Well, not yet. Not quite. Aye, there’s the rub.

One final task remains. To become the undisputed Lord of the Ring he must defeat the bearer of those other heavyweight baubles. Be he Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua after their midsummer rematch.

That is a challenge he dare not refuse, in his quest for recognition in full measure. One he cannot resist, not least because he knows in his fighting heart it is one over which he is most likely to prevail.

Fury had retained his WBC heavyweight belt against Dillian Whyte at a sold out Wembley

Fury appears impregnable after toying with Whyte — more a stuffed bear than a deadly menace as it transpired — and then despatching him to implant dentistry with a near-decapitating uppercut.

That he is the supreme heavyweight of this era few, if any, can deny. Yet he craves more. He let slip as much as he revelled in this most recent triumph of his still unbeaten career.

Fury hurriedly checked himself from claiming to be the greatest heavyweight of all time and settled for being ‘one of the greatest’. The latter, bringing with it a berth in the top 10, is beyond sensible argument now.

The unique agility and athleticism for a man of such towering height and awesome bulk, the genius of his ring craft and now the punching power unchained authenticate his place in the pantheon.

The Gypsy King ranked the decisive uppercut as the finest punch of his professional career

Exactly where, ultimately, his place will be set in the stones of that ranking awaits ratification by his becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion of all the alpha-belts since his fellow countryman Lennox Lewis.

Where the Gypsy King sits now among such legends as Rocky Marciano — whom he is on course to join as the only two champions to hang up the gloves undefeated — can be hotly debated via reference to the list published in these pages adjacent to this tribute to his handiwork.

Having teased Whyte with a trailer of himself training as a southpaw, Fury came out from the first bell behind an orthodox left jab. When he reverted to southpaw in the second round, Whyte switched, also.

Left right, left right. All that mattered to Whyte was that he was being hit by both hands while he was mostly punching thin air. The Body Snatcher resorted to his nickname with the brawling, the butting, the belligerent. Referee Mark Lyson kept warning him for those infractions but in harsh reality he had nowhere else to go.

Fury was admonished, too, for holding.

But he reiterated his intention to retire from boxing after he stopped Whyte in the sixth round

But for the most part the Gypsy King treated the mandatory challenger for his WBC title to a painful boxing mas terclass, which would be terminated by that exclamatory uppercut. He set up Whyte for the finish by laughing as he spun him face first into the ropes, like a rag doll.

During the interval before the sixth round trainer SugarHill Steward told him: ‘Get ready, Tyson. After that Dillian will lose the plot and come charging in, open for the KO.’

Duly noted. Promptly executed, which is the appropriate word. Somehow, Whyte lurched to his feet but as he reeled into the ropes from a delayed second effect of the detonation Mr Lyson leapt between them.

‘Correct stoppage,’ said Fury. ‘Had the referee let it go on I would have been obliged to inflict potentially serious health damage to a warrior. There was no shame for him losing to a legend.’

After-timers questioned Whyte’s capabilities, even though a cluster of former champions such as David Haye had predicted a giant upset. Other naysayers cast aspersions on Fury having a selfie taken with an alleged criminal, claiming that he had never addressed the issue despite him saying ‘there is zero relationship.’

Fury said he had promised his wife Paris that he would step away and was sticking to his word

Not the People’s Champion. Really? Were they not listening to the exultation of the record crowd for boxing in the UK and Europe? Since when did the English public fall out of love with eccentrics?

Fury is as madcap an entertainer from leftfield as he is a dynamic force in the prize-ring.

He says: ‘I don’t need mansions and limousines, although I have them.’ More revealingly he says: ‘I don’t need more money, although I do want to be paid for the dangerous job I love.’

He does suggest he might be able to satisfy that sense of fun by restricting his need for combat to exhibition fights against the big-money attractions in the UFC and WWE.

Paris, the Gypsy King’s serenely beautiful Queen, says otherwise. When asked if her husband would honour his promise to her to retire from boxing now, she mouthed: ‘No chance.’

Immortally beckons? 

All the more tempting because, unlike the siren voices of mythology luring seamen to their deaths on the rocks, greater glory in Fury’s case is just one surmountable victory away.

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