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JOHN FURY, Tyson Fury’s father, has carved out a reputation for himself as a man who says it how it is without fear or favour.
His notoriety in this regard has been fed by a small army of fans for whom manners are a vice and boorishness a virtue. A proud and very vocal Traveller, Fury Sr carries his tongue like a sword, unleashing voluminous brickbats against anyone and everyone in boxing who dares raise his hackles, which seems increasingly to be most everyone outside his own family.
That Fury Sr loves an argument is clear. Imprisoned for 11 years in 2011 for gouging a man’s eye out at a car auction over a long-standing grudge, he has become a feature of the boxing media circuit — armed with choice words of criticism and condemnation whenever he feels either he or his family has been disrespected and denied their proper place.
Thus, when BT Sport arranged the recent press conference between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury to promote their upcoming December 18 fight in Tampa, Florida, they should have known that in placing John Fury onstage alongside his two sons, Tyson and the aforementioned Tommy, they were making themselves a hostage to fortune.
Even though your average boxing press conference is not a place where Shakespeare enjoys sway, for most in that particular situation a filter would dictate what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to hurling insults back and forth.
However, for whatever reason, on this occasion Fury Sr decided to unleash a tirade against YouTuber Jake Paul which took things beyond the gutter and down into the sewer.
Perhaps, understandably, Fury Sr’s love of boxing is such that he took especial offence to this YouTube interloper, Paul, being elevated to such a lofty status in the sport on the back of his social media profile and just four fights.
Or perhaps, more prosaically, it was just a case of Fury Sr momentarily forgetting where he was and losing his shit.
Whatever the motivation, when Fury Sr turned to the TV screen upon which Paul’s behatted and sunglassed-covered face stared back at him — Paul appearing at the presser via a very poor quality video link from his training base in Puerto Rico — and opined that “You know, when Tommy knocks you out, don’t you, he’s going to bend your girlfriend over and do her like a dog,” a new low bar had been set when it comes to trash-talking.
BT Sport issued a public apology for the comment, while Fury Sr has remained unapologetic. Somewhere in-between, you get the impression, is where the battle for the soul of boxing will be waged going forward.
Speaking of press conferences, this past week, Kell Brook and Amir Khan sat down together to formerly announce their February 19 clash in Manchester.
It was a predictably fractious affair, leaving little doubt that this is a genuine grudge match between two veteran welterweight former world champions for the title of champion over each other.
Khan claimed that he was coming down a couple of levels to face Brook, who, smarting from the insult, came back with a pledge to knock his rival “spark out.”
Just the usual fare at such events, then.
Things got more interesting when Brook accused Khan of not being a serious fighter anymore, of being more interested in being a celebrity.
During a one-to-one interview afterwards, Khan addressed this charge, revealing that his new reality show, Meet The Khans, was currently airing on the BBC and enjoying a large viewing, going on to claim that it was only because of his success in the ring that he was being handed opportunities to appear on various TV shows such as this, etc.
Intrigued as to the content of Meet The Khans, this writer decided to sacrifice an hour of his life to take a look, so that you don’t have to.
In one episode, we are treated to Khan taking us on a tour of his luxury wedding hall development project in his home town of Bolton, revealing that the project had gone almost £10 million over budget and would need even more cash to complete.
In his luxury mansion, meanwhile, which he shares with his wife Faryal Makhdoom and three children, we are given an insight by said wife into the challenges of parlaying her social media following into a customer base for the new cosmetics range she’s in the process of establishing, lamenting the pressures of being an “influencer,” wife and mother.
In another episode, Khan and his wife rock up outside the Mayfair Hotel in central London in a top of the range Bentley for a scheduled meeting to do with Khan’s foundation — The Amir Khan Foundation — to discuss ways of giving back to those “less fortunate.”
With this in mind, Khan sits down with an artist in a plush hotel room to discuss creating a life-size portrait of himself, made entirely of crystals, preparatory to selling it and donating the fee to charity.
Indeed, Khan is so taken by the idea, he moots the idea of buying the portrait of himself for himself, following which his wife demurs on the basis that she already sees enough of her husband in and around their mansion.
After putting in this service to those “less fortunate,” we follow Khan and one of his mates as they head over to a VIP jewellers in London — Khan revealing that he’s the mood to get himself a new 100 grand watch, as you do.
In the shop, it’s immediately off upstairs to the VIP room we go, where Khan and his mate sit across a plush desk from a salesman to pore over a collection of limited edition timepieces — diamond and jewel encrusted monstrosities all.
While trying on one watch, Khan asks the salesman if any celebrities have bought it. When the salesman reveals that the rap artist Drake has this particular model, Khan’s interest is immediately piqued. “Really?” he says. “Oh yes,” the salesman replies, “really.”
After making his choice, we watch Khan leave the store with his purchases and proceed to skip along the street, presumably on his way to check on the artist’s progress with his life-size crystal-encrusted portrait for those “less fortunate.”
His put-upon wife, meanwhile, is waiting impatiently for him back at the hotel in Mayfair, complaining that at this rate they’ll be late for their scheduled flight to Dubai.
John Fury and Amir Khan: both, for different reasons, poster boys not so much for boxing but for capitalism in this its mad dog days.
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