Sports

Tyson Fury: WWE venture carries risk but huge reward in strange boxing times


Fury follows a handful of big-name boxers into WWE

When Tyson Fury rose from the canvas in Los Angeles, the promoter of the man who put him there turned to the British media and privately said: “The guy must be The Undertaker to get up from that.”

Perhaps Lou DiBella, the man behind Deontay Wilder on that chaotic night, was on to something. Not even a year on, we now know Fury will make an official foray into the organisation that made The Undertaker famous – WWE.

His 31 October bout with Braun Strowman will take place nine days before two YouTube stars engage in a professional boxing match and 23 days before a 55-year-old Nigel Benn returns to the ring. These are strange times.

Some will shake their heads at Fury’s move. Others will point a finger at the fact his WWE contest will be in Saudi Arabia, where not one of the organisation’s female superstars have been allowed to compete at high-profile shows.

But on the flip side, this decorated boxer and incredible salesman has been sought out to again entertain. He will, unquestionably, set tongues wagging, just as he always does.

‘His heart was set on it’

Former boxers Mike Tyson (left) and Floyd Mayweather (right) have made high-profile WWE appearances, while Muhammad Ali was a referee at the first WrestleMania in 1985

Make no mistake, this is not a case of anyone pushing Fury into an unexpected career move. His UK promoter Frank Warren said: “In an ideal world he’d be wrapped in cotton wool between fights, but it’s not an ideal world. We’re just happy he’s getting out there, growing his profile and having a good time.”

And, sat in a car wearing a Hulk Hogan T-shirt, Fury looked the epitome of a man having a good time as he delivered a World Mental Health Day message to his social media followers which he ended by saying: “Do what makes you very, very happy.”

It seems he is indeed doing what brings a smile.

“Tyson and his kids are huge fans, and how do you say ‘no’ when he’s got his heart set on it?” added Warren.

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“The timing might not be optimal, but Tyson needs to be ready to fight Deontay in February so he couldn’t afford to wait around, and it is going to bring huge exposure to himself and to WWE.”

Fury will be paid handsomely, with online reports claiming WWE’s revenues have grown