Tyson Fury has stunned some pretty fearsome adversaries in the past, but perhaps none quite as tough to overcome as the COVID-19 lockdown.
But ‘The Gypsy King’ appears to have chalked up yet another W to add to his perfect record as his popularity has soared during the five-month-and-counting hiatus from normal life.
Fury was already on the crest of a wave as the UK shut down to tackle the brutal pandemic after that epic destruction of Deontay Wilder in their rematch in Las Vegas in February, but the lockdown has done nothing to slow the increase in his popularity – in fact just the opposite.
Figures show that going into lockdown that on average around 550,000 people per month in the UK made internet searches for ‘Tyson Fury’, but now that figure has almost doubled to a cool 1million.
Fury’s huge rival Anthony Joshua meanhwhile has also grown in popularity – but by nothing like as much. His increase is from 550,000 to 673,000 as the ‘Gypsy King’ leaves him trailing in his wake.
There are probably a couple of primary reasons for the difference in spikes – first of all those daily Instagram workouts Fury performed with wife Paris. As well as helping the public cope with the ‘the new normal’, they clearly kept Tyson in the spotlight.
The other major reason would be the announcement on June 10 from Fury that he and Joshua have agreed in principle the financial terms for a two-fight deal to unify the heavyweight titles.
That announcement brought a frenzy of publicity and even two weeks ago their ‘chance meeting’ in the Spanish coastal resort of Marbella made huge waves in the global media.
There is no doubt that Fury, a natural showman, made much more mileage out of that June 10 announcement, while Joshua remained pretty quiet on the topic until he took part in a Q and A with Sky Sports users on July 23, admitting that he and Fury “will bump heads soon”.
As well as those workouts and that Joshua announcement, Fury has also scooped two major literary prizes during the lockdown for his autobiography, ‘Tyson Fury: Behind The Mask’. It claimed the prestigious award for Telegraph Sports Book Of The Year, and was also Telegraph Sport Autobiography Of The Year.
The book among other things charts Fury’s battles with mental health issues that led to his near three-year absence from the ring, and his incredible comeback to world title glory once again.
Fury is currently hoping to return to the ring with a trilogy fight against Wilder on Saturday December 19, though there are fears it may have to be further delayed to February 2021 with the pandemic showing no signs of abating.