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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Bacon’s Bites: Tyson Fury deserves our admiration, not our cynicism

PUBLISHED: 19:24 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:36 07 December 2018

Tongues out! Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in LA. Photo: PA

Tongues out! Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in LA. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

In this week’s column, Mike Bacon looks back at Tyson Fury’s remarkable return to the ring and tells why Harry is king... even if not of the jungle just yet!

Deontay Wilder floors Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. But Fury got back up to tie the fight. Photo: PADeontay Wilder floors Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. But Fury got back up to tie the fight. Photo: PA

He may divide opinion. But Tyson Fury is ‘Box Office’.

The Wythenshawe-born British boxer may just about be the most entertaining sportsman on the planet right now and although he does not endear himself to everyone, I could watch him box and listen to his press conferences all day.

He is not everyone’s cup of tea and many of his homophobic and sexist remarks made in recent years have little place in today’s society.

He once claimed that he would hang his sister if he deemed her to be promiscuous, and has said he believes that “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back”.

Poor form, poor comments that he will rightly never be able to walk away from.

However, after what Fury has been through in the last three years and his new-found mantra, I would suggest it a tad disingenuous to take cheap shots and continue to throw historical comments at him after the way he stormed back to draw with Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Because Fury has been to hell and back, in a well-documented way, ballooning to 28 stone and suffering personal battles with drugs, alcohol and depression.

He’s been to very dark places and even thought of suicide.

“I hit the drugs. I was out with women of the night and not coming home,” he said in a recent interview.

“I didn’t care about boxing or living. I just wanted to die. But I was going to have a good time doing it.”

The ‘Gypsy King’, as he is known, was a mess.

After his momentous victory over Wladimir Klitschko three years ago when he was on top of the world and seemingly invincible, it began spiralling downhill – and rapidly.

Tyson Fury, pictured during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester on Wednesday night. He is a big Man U fan. Photo: PATyson Fury, pictured during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester on Wednesday night. He is a big Man U fan. Photo: PA

So, his draw with Wilder, which many commentators felt he won, was not just a sporting comeback akin to the recent return to form of Tiger Woods, who also had huge issues away from sport, but also a comeback of immense humane proportions.

“After everything I’ve been through: mental health problems; drug addiction; alcohol addiction; I’m back,” he said. “I’ve defeated all the ills.

“For all the people out there with mental health problems,” he added. “I did it for you guys.”

Strong quotes from a man who understands something, fortunately, many don’t, or don’t have to.

For those of us who know or have known people with mental health issues, we understand you don’t just come out with quotes like that.”

For him, it’s personal.

Harry Redknapp attending the 14th BGC Annual Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London, in commemoration of BGC's 658 colleagues and the 61 Eurobrokers employees lost on 9/11. Photo: PAHarry Redknapp attending the 14th BGC Annual Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London, in commemoration of BGC's 658 colleagues and the 61 Eurobrokers employees lost on 9/11. Photo: PA

Yes, he has made mistakes. No, he is not perfect. But he has never claimed to be.

His world is not one of corporate PC back-slapping, saying the right things, crawling your way to the top, feathering your own nest, your status in life judged by money.

His is one where loyalty is king and demons are there to be beaten.

His current thoughts and words won’t wash with those who will not forgive or forget his ill-conceived past comments, those who are ‘whiter than white’ – ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone’.

My abiding memory of last weekend was watching Fury singing ‘American Pie’ at the after-match press conference.

You would not think he had just been involved in the biggest sporting event on the planet that weekend.

The Felixstowe and Walton United 25th Sportsman's Dinner at the Cameo Hotel, Copdock, in 2013, with Harry Redknapp among the guests Photo: PHIL MORLEYThe Felixstowe and Walton United 25th Sportsman's Dinner at the Cameo Hotel, Copdock, in 2013, with Harry Redknapp among the guests Photo: PHIL MORLEY

He looked relaxed and carefree as he belted out the Don McLean classic, a huge bemused press corps looking on... And joining in.

The legend that is Tyson Fury is out the other side – Yep, it’s been complicated.

But I wish him well.

Harry Redknapp is certainly winning friends in ‘I’m A Celeb’.

But who’s surprised? Certainly not me.

I will always remember his appearance at the Felixstowe & Walton Sportsman’s Dinner a few years ago.

A friend of Felixstowe & Walton President, Dave Ashford, Harry turned up to say a few words and answer questions from a floor that already had the excellent Matt Le Tissier, as well as David Sheepshanks on the top-table list.

Harry had driven straight from QPR, where he was then manager, enjoyed a meal and spent an hour telling jokes and stories to the assembled throng, before setting off back home to Sandbacks, in Bournemouth.

He never announced it, but I know he asked for no payment for attending.

For Harry, it was his way of doing a favour for his good friend Dave Ashford.

What a great gesture.

I’m not surprised he is coming over so well in the Jungle.

Let me give you a new definition of desperation. It’s an Ipswich Town fan wanting Norwich City to score a last-minute winner to save his beloved Tractor Boys from falling even further behind in the Championship relegation battle, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.

Ipswich Town are now eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table following yesterday’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke City. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.

Ipswich Town lost 2-0 at Stoke City in a Championship clash yesterday afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.

Trevoh Chalobah insists the confidence boost generated by manager Paul Lambert’s arrival still remains, despite Ipswich Town suffering a fourth successive defeat at Stoke yesterday.

Andy Warren hands out his player ratings following Ipswich Town’s 2-0 loss at Stoke City this afternoon.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert proclaimed ‘we are so, so close to being a top side’ following this afternoon’s spirited 2-0 defeat at promotion hopefuls Stoke City.

Ipswich Town were undone by a goal in either half at Stoke as the gap to safety grew following their fourth-straight defeat.

Paul Lambert has confirmed midfielder Cole Skuse will be out for ‘a couple of months’ after suffering a knee injury in training.

Ipswich Town were beaten 2-0 at Stoke City this afternoon.

In this week’s Ipswich Town nostalgia, we look back to September 14, 2004, when Town twice gave up leads and were replaced at the top of the table by ten-man Stoke City following a dramatic contest at the Britannia Stadium.

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