Boxing & Religion: ‘Three Year Out!’ Tyson Fury & ‘The Road To Redemption’

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JD Morgan reflects on Tyson Fury’s remarkable three-year ‘Road to Redemption’, where the tough grit, will power and dogged determination of this gifted, natural born boxer and ‘fighting man’ brought him back from the brink of oblivion to challenge, once again, for the World Boxing Heavyweight Championship – titles which he had been forced to vacate in 2016. JD follows the religious aspect of the Gypsy King’s ‘redemption’ and compares it to others he’d witnessed in a multi-faith prison environment, where he observed inmates pledge similar ‘leaps of faith’ and attempt to turn their lives around – some being serious and fully committed while others tended towards more frivolous paths, appearing to ‘play the game’, which, on occasions, could result in some bizarre scenarios that, ultimately, offered unexpected, but hilarious results! (1,850 words)

Description

Any follower of world football has heard of Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ and, domestically, from the old League Division One, ‘The Holy Trinity’ of George Best, Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton; so, religious connotations in sport are nothing new, but, even though many boxers possess deeply-held religious beliefs and convictions – they are, after all, putting their very lives on the line – there are few religious terms openly associated with its Heavyweight Division, perhaps with the exception of Muhammad Ali, as a self-proclaimed, ‘Minister in the Nation of Islam’ and George Foreman, an ordained minister also known as, ‘The Punching Preacher’.

So, when Tyson Fury (aka ‘The Gypsy King’) screamed across the ring at the television cameras, ‘Three year out!’, “I’ve had three year out!”, having heard the sound of the final bell for Round Twelve in his first fight against Deontay Wilder (Los Angeles 2018), he was just one short step away from arriving at his final destination on the road to his own, highly publicised, but very personal ‘redemption’. Basically, in returning from the brink of suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction and obesity, Fury had proved his critics wrong and, quite incredibly, was back where he belonged as – irrespective of that contest’s highly-controversial draw, he had guaranteed himself a re-match – be it by pay-per-view demand or open public outcry.

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