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Tyson Fury: How heavyweight legend captured hearts in Tayside and Fife

There’s an anger in his surname and the scale of Tyson Fury’s rage as he defeated Deontay Wilder at the weekend was volcanic.

The self-styled Gypsy King has faced myriad travails and adversity throughout his career, but when it mattered, in the global spotlight, the controversial boxer triumphed in a coruscating battle with his American nemesis.

The cognoscenti have described their clash as “a fight for the ages” and there was something compelling and hypnotic about the fashion in which Fury refused to be beaten, despite being knocked down twice, before eventually defending the World Boxing Council’s version of the heavyweight title.

The contest might have been surrounded by hype – let’s face it, Las Vegas and good taste go together like Sinatra and the Sex Pistols – but once the talking stopped at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada, and the protagonists started knocking lumps out of one another, the script was like a real-life Rocky film.

Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder in an epic fight in Las Vegas.

That’s been the story with Fury on his peripatetic journey: a road movie where he has pitched up in the most unlikely places, shown his human side and revealed his issues with mental health to help others, and where he even made a splash in the City of Discovery on an impromptu visit to Scotland.

Whatever your views on his career, he’s a larger-than-life personality. And he has shown that on his regular trips to the north-east.

Making a splash for his fans

In 2019, Fury was booked to appear at a special event in Dundee. But it turned into something a little bit different from the average goodwill function.

The former heavyweight champion was in the city for an appearance at the Whitehall Theatre.

But after working out at the Apex Hotel, he and other members of his retinue astonished thrill-seekers at Foxlake Dundee by making an impromptu leap into the chilly water at City Quay.

Foxlake manager Zak Hegarty told us: “They had just done some training across the road and one of them came over and said that Tyson had lost a bet and could he jump in.

“We get a lot of people on stag dos and things like that asking the same thing and we always say no, but you don’t say no to Tyson Fury.

“People were pretty surprised.”

The 6ft 9in fighter was on a tour of Scotland where he discussed his life in and out of the ring and he made it clear that he was in his element.

Indeed, he recalled staying at the Red Brolly Inn in Ballinluig just days after originally winning the heavyweight title and bursting to prominence in 2015.

Tyson opened up about mental health

This modern Raging Bull often comes across as a brash, bravura-laden character with infinite reserves of swagger and self-confidence.

Yet, in common with other boxers, such as Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson, there have been no shortage of personal demons in Fury’s career.

He has talked openly about his problems with depression and substance abuse and occasionally made remarks which have caused outrage.

But he has also been an inspiration to others with similar struggles and offered his assistance and encouragement – and a selfie – to one of his fans.

Cameron thrived with Tyson’s support

It emerged just last year that a Fife teenager who was lucky to survive a horrific car crash had tackled his suicidal depression after being inspired by Fury’s comeback – and finally got the chance to meet his hero.

Cameron Saile, from Ladybank, was the passenger in a car that flipped and landed in a field. And such was the grievous extent of his injuries that doctors feared he might never walk again.

Cameron Saile meets Tyson Fury.

However, the youngster astounded medical staff at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee by learning to walk again, although he faced chronic pain and depression, which led him to attempt to take his own life.

It was a tough situation for any young person, but the Scot talked of how he had been boosted in his recovery by Fury’s exploits and success in transcending his own difficulties in and out of the ring.

And, after travelling down to Morecambe, Cameron thanked Fury for inspiring him to prevail through his troubles and the duo posed for a picture.

When I saw him, I was nearly in tears.”

Cameron Saile

He said: “I’m a huge fan and owe the world to him, and my life – I was down in the worst place possible.

“After the crash, I had my worst time.

“I attempted suicide, didn’t leave my room and wrote suicide notes.”

Sport helped him ride the storm

Yet, though he was in a dark place, he tuned in to a fight between Fury and Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas last February, when the British luminary became two-time heavyweight champion of the world.

He said: “It kicked me on to fight and improve myself.

“We were about to come back up the road (from Lancashire), but then I looked at Tyson’s Instagram story – and he was playing golf at Morecambe Golf Club about 10 minutes down the road.

Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder in a “fight for the ages” in Las Vegas.

“So we went along and he was having a joke with me and said I could have a picture with him – he’s a good guy.

“When I saw him, I was nearly in tears.”

Tyson Fury will never be a cuddly superstar. He divides opinion and even urged his aficionados NOT to take part in the BBC Sports Personality of The Year voting last winter.

But, following his latest success against Wilder, he will definitely be one of the favourites to win that prestigious award in December, when his closest rival will probably be the new US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu.

Tyson Fury chills at Gleneagles…

The contrast between these two individuals could hardly be greater. And they are at very different stages of their lives.

But Fury is now being feted as one of the greats in the fistic arts and even those who don’t love boxing have to admit he is one of a kind.

Let’s see if he’s back in Scotland in the days ahead.

After all, he enjoyed a holiday in Perthshire at the Gleneagles Hotel with friends and family as recently as last November, playing golf with his brother, Tommy.

He also took time to visit Edinburgh, where he ramped up his efforts to tease Scots WWE star Drew McIntyre into a major box-office scrap.

Yet, while that didn’t come to fruition, Fury won’t have any shortage of offers in the months ahead after one of the most memorable bouts in history.