“Boxing needs Tyson Fury.”
Those are the impassioned words of Kathy Duva, a Hall of Fame promoter who has worked with Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, as she tried to convince HBO television executives that Fury was the next big thing in boxing.
In 2013, Fury was unveiled to an American audience at Madison Square Garden against Steve Cunningham on a show promoted by Duva.
It played out almost the same way as Fury’s fellow Brit Anthony Joshua was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr in the same spot on his US debut as ‘The Gypsy King’ went down. is found on the canvas in the second round, but he recovered to score a knockout in the 7th round.
In preparation for the show, Duva and Fury went on a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl in New York City in an effort to promote the fight.
“It was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” Duva recalled to talkSPORT. “Going from Irish pub to Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day in New York and him walking in, grabbing the mic and singing and pissing off the crowd, it was so much fun.
“I loved him and I loved working with him.”
It was enough to sell Duva on Fury and now she wanted to sign him more permanently.
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“I went to meet the HBO execs and said, ‘Boxing needs Tyson Fury, so I have to bring him to you,’ but they just pooped him and said he was ‘crazy. “.” Duva said.
“So, I said let’s go through all the crazy people you’ve promoted, there’s nothing wrong with being crazy, it’s boxing, we have a lot of crazy fighters. It’s my thing, I’m dealing with crazy people, we’ll get through this.
“They didn’t think he was very good and didn’t believe me when I told them he was. So, I said, let’s just put it this way, Mike Tyson was clearly the most marketable fighter in boxing history, but he wasn’t the best fighter…
“Either Michael Spinks, a light heavyweight who was terrified, or an old Larry Holmes, those are the biggest fights he’s ever won…
“So I said, ‘The point is, I’m not going to try to convince you that Tyson Fury is the best fighter in boxing, but I’m going to convince you that right now he’s the most marketable’
“Like Mike Tyson, it didn’t matter that he lost his biggest fights because he was so marketable, so I said ‘please believe me when I tell you that Tyson Fury is just as marketable. than Mike Tyson, because I saw him. , I worked with him, I know what he can do”.
“But they told me I was wrong.”
As we now know, Duva wasn’t wrong, as Fury went on to become one of, if not arguably, the biggest names in boxing.
Just two years after Duva worked with Fury he won the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles beating Wladimir Klitschko and he has since added the WBC and Ring Magazine belts to his collection. When he retired, he joined Rocky Marciano as the only heavyweight champion to hang up the gloves undefeated.
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