On December 1 2018, Tyson Fury rose from a punch he had no business surviving.
By that point though, he had made defying the odds his thing – beginning in 2015 by toppling the long-reigning ruler of the division, Wladimir Klitschko, in Düsseldorf.
Almost immediately following that career-defining victory, Fury was grasped by depression and addiction, and they took him – all 28 stone of him – about as far away from the ring as one might get.
‘The Gypsy King’ wasn’t done with boxing though, even though it seemed to be done with him. He returned, taking just two warm-up fights before diving in with Deontay Wilder – the man many call the hardest puncher in the sport’s history.
The Alabama slammer had been champ for five years, and likely thought he was picking a good name at a bad time to add to an undefeated record that had just touched 40. How wrong he was.
Fury reminded every boxing fan in the world what he had been known for. A heavyweight enigma, he moved around the ring and avoided the power that no other fighter could stand up to. His southpaw switch bamboozled the champion, but he was eventually caught and dropped in the ninth.
He fought on, winning rounds until the final three minutes arrived. A right followed by a left put him down and shut his lights out – at least for a second or two. The people who had picked Wilder were vindicated. Of course he would catch him at one point.
What happened next was the embodiment of Tyson Fury’s rise from the bottom. A statement of resilience in the face of incredible odds.
OTD, 2018:@Tyson_Fury took Deontay Wilder's best shot in the 12th and rose from the canvas 🤯
An ICONIC moment 🙌pic.twitter.com/mChVyEKb2x
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) December 1, 2019
The fight was scored a draw. With two knockdowns, the home fighter claimed he had done enough for the victory, but most in the boxing world gave it to Fury.
Regardless of the numbers on paper, it would mark the return of the king, only he had to wait two years before his official coronation – knocking out Wilder and then doing it once more to slip more comfortably into the throne.