In praise of Tyson Fury, a champion by virtue of making it into the ring

Tyson Fury took Deontay Wilder to the very brink in his heavyweight title bout in Las Vegas. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018

In praise of Tyson Fury, a champion by virtue of making it into the ring

LONDON: It might not have ended exactly how the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” would have wanted, but Tyson Fury has won more fans in drawing with Deontay Wilder than he ever had in all his previous victories.
Like him, or loathe him — and he is a very divisive character — Fury’s story is one of overcoming adversity and personal demons. And tenfold.
He shocked the world in 2015 by beating Vladimir Klitschko to become a world heavyweight champion, but his decline in the aftermath was painful to watch for his fans.
Controversial comments, drug bans, a personal fight with substance abuse and a very public suicidal depression battle saw the charismatic champion fall from grace and seemingly toward oblivion. His destructive lifestyle led to Fury ballooning to 400lbs in weight, and his boxing career looked over.

So, his performance in Las Vegas this weekend against a formidable opponent in Deontay Wilder makes his story all the more incredible.
In beating his demons, getting back into top physical shape and even entering the ring again against Wilder, he had already won a monumental battle.
Once in the ring, Fury out-boxed his much-favored opponent for large parts of the fight and even picked himself up off the canvass twice — the second time when he it looked he had been knocked out cold — and went the distance with a man who had only once before been in a fight that had gone the distance.
Whether he gets a rematch with Wilder remains to be seen. But, in the eyes of boxing fans around the world, Fury etched his name into the pantheon of greats simply by entering the ring this weekend, an inspiration to millions.

FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

Updated 13 min 34 sec ago

FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

  • Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded Qatar's bid

LONDON: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has become the focus of fresh FIFA corruption allegations after the release of a new US Department of Justice indictment which says bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes for hosting rights.

Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded both the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. But on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations down in print.

According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial decision of world football’s governing body.

FIFA and the Qatar World Cup organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Qatar and Russia’s World Cup bids have always denied paying bribes.

Although FIFA has reacted to previous media allegations about the Qatar bid process by insisting the tournament will be unaffected, the USallegations will lead to further questions over the hosting of the tournament, which is scheduled for November and December of 2022.

The indictment states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive — Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, the late Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay and an unnamed co-conspirator — took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.

“Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and co-conspirator #1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup,” reads the indictment.

Teixeira, the former son-in-law of long-time FIFA boss Joao Havelange and ex-head of the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF), was not immediately reachable for comment.

The DOJ also alleges that then FIFA vice president Jack Warner was paid $5 million through various shell companies to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

Warner has been accused of a number of crimes in the long-running USprobe and is fighting extradition from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Warner, who was not immediately reachable for comment, has always denied any wrongdoing.

Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the local organizing committee for Russia’s 2018 World Cup, told the Interfax news agency: “This is only the opinion of lawyers. We have repeatedly said that our bid was transparent.

“At the time we answered all questions, including from the investigation branch of FIFA and from the media, we handed over all needed documents. We have nothing to add to this and we will not respond to attempts to cast a shadow on our bid.”

Asked if the Kremlin was aware of the US indictment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We read the media reports. We don’t understand what they refer to.

“Russia received the right to host the World Cup completely legally. It is in no way linked to any bribes. We reject this. And Russia hosted the best soccer World Cup in history, which we are proud of.”

The Qatar World Cup organizers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the tiny Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament.

In 2014, FIFA, then under the control of former President Sepp Blatter, cleared Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing in their bids to host the World Cup after an investigation.

Blatter was banned from football by FIFA along with scores of other officials following internal ethics investigations, promoted by the arrests of seven FIFA officials on UScorruption charges in Zurich in May 2015.