Failure To Ignite: Tommy 'TNT' Fury Turns His Back On Legitimacy To Fight KSI

The 9-0 cruiserweight isn't out for legacy
16:00, 01 Aug 2023

Tommy Fury has announced his next move. The brother of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will face KSI in what is being billed as the biggest fight in influencer boxing history. Whether you subscribe to that theory or not, and it is a claim almost as pointless as claiming one particular ocean is ‘the wettest sea’, it is an interesting move from Fury. After beating Jake Paul in February, his first foray into fighting YouTubers, fighting KSI feels like a career choice. 

Tommy Fury appears to be consciously turning his back on the legitimate end of the fight game. Before the Paul brothers shifted the paradigm of what the public would accept as a “fight”, Fury was a novice boxer flitting between light heavyweight and cruiserweight. His surname obviously did a lot of the heavy lifting, but there was at least the sense of a fighter on the rise.


Then Love Island happened. Fury starred on the 2019 edition of the reality show, eventually winning with partner Molly-Mae Hague. Now a national celebrity, boxing began to take a back seat to Fury’s new commitments. The gossip columns were printing his name more than Boxing News and The Ring ever had. 

This confluence of a professional boxer attaining such fame in the mainstream dragged Fury onto Jake Paul’s radar. Fans were starting to tire of the 'Problem Child' beating up aging athletes from other sports. If he was going to portray himself as a boxer it was reasonable to expect him to fight one. So he decided to fight Tommy.

The match made sense for both. Fury would be a soft landing of sorts for Paul, given the fact he had a record constructed largely against journeymen. For Fury it was a chance to monetise his new-found fame in a way that took advantage of his boxing skills. Fury won the eventual fight by split decision in February, making a healthy wage in the process and gaining further stardom with the sort of fans who’d rather watch a Misfits Boxing card than Terence Crawford or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

This is a platform he could have used to further his boxing ambitions. By virtue of his fame rather than his game, Fury could have secured arena co-main event slots as he took on further learning fights. Still only 24, ‘TNT’ could have been moved carefully through domestic level. If he succeeded there, world title opportunities could follow. A proven attraction, all these fights would have netted Fury a fair sum. Combined with his endorsements and outside engagements, the younger Fury could have lived well while striving for sporting excellence.


Instead, Fury has decided to double dip. He has considered his options and chosen to persevere, if it can be called that, by fighting non-fighters. If he wants to draw eyeballs and make money, it’s certainly the easier option. KSI is one of the most visible celebrities on social media. Like Paul, it is also a fight Fury will likely win. 

While much was made of KSI beating a professional boxer before Paul had faced one, the win is a flimsy one. Firstly, it was not in a professional fight but a scored exhibition. Secondly, it came against 2-7 Luis Alcaraz Pineda. Unlike Jake, who has conducted the majority of his career in the professional ranks, KSI actually only has one official pro fight. His 2019 decision win over Logan Paul was a genuine contest, with his other efforts all coming in exhibitions. The same is true of the Fury bout. The fight won’t appear on the record of either man.

There is still risk attached for Tommy, even though a defeat wouldn’t technically breach his unbeaten record. Even an unofficial loss to KSI will put paid to his professional ambitions and likely confine him to the world of influencer boxing forever. But that appears to be where Fury wants to be. Forging on as a pro after the Paul win was the perfect platform for more legitimate successes. Instead, Fury has signed up to join the circus.

As with all these influencer matches, the fight will arrive with lots of hype before reality sets in and a low-quality affair plays out. These fights aren’t for boxing fans, they never have been. They are for the youth who are thrilled by the exchanges on social media, the tense press conferences and the YouTube video insults. The actual bout is almost inconsequential. That’s the problem. Fury has signed up for a life of fights that don’t matter. A penny for the thoughts of the Gypsy King, sitting atop his heavyweight throne, as he watches his brother waste his career fighting non-boxers.

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