If Tyson Fury sticks to his promise then he will retire as a boxing immortal – but it could have been a very different story for The Gypsy King.
Long before Fury became a two-time heavyweight world champion, he had his first title fight back in September 2009, a bout which ended with mass controversy and a forced rematch. Then 7-0, he had stepped into the ring with John McDermott as a 1/6 favourite.
But Fury was second best against his 25-5 opponent in their clash for the English heavyweight title. Everyone thought he had lost his unbeaten record after the 10 rounds were up – well, everyone but referee Terry O'Connor.
His scorecard read 98-92 in Fury's favour, a decision described as "daylight robbery" by McDermott's promoter Frank Maloney. "Terry O'Connor is a disgrace to British boxing what he done here tonight," he added.
A bemused McDermott said: "Going into the last round my corner told me 'John, you're at least four rounds in front, keep on him'. What have I got to do to win here?"
And even Fury knew he'd been out-boxed. "That wasn't a good performance by me at all. I'd rate that a two out of 10," he told reporters in his locker room post-fight.
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The British Boxing Board of Control had no choice but to respond to the public uproar. They changed the rules to make three judges mandatory for all English titles, and ordered a rematch which took place in June 2010.
It was a different story the second time around, with Fury getting the better of McDermott and winning via TKO. "I was going to retire if I lost the rematch and just forget about boxing," he later said in his 2019 autobiography. "I knew if I was going anywhere, I had to beat him."
Nothing could reverse the damage done for McDermott, who had his last fight in 2013 and now works on the railways. He told Sky Sports in 2020: "Of course it still annoys me.
"I'm not saying I would have gone onto fight for the world title but it would have helped me, at the time. A bit more money when there wasn't much money in boxing. He's a millionaire now and I'm struggling."
McDermott has also admitted: "If I had my life again, I don't think I would be a boxer."
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