Suicidal Tendencies: Tyson Fury Battles Back From The Brink Once More; Chris Eubank Jr. Goes Retro

Tyson Fury had raised concern along with eyebrows all week. In a one-to-one with The Guardian’s Donald McRae, the young leviathan revealed compelling qualities left bruised by the self-destructive nature that threatens to overrun him. At Trafford Park, Manchester on Saturday, Fury mimed the interview for those members of his fanbase who aren’t quite as well read. One minute he was overcast, flat on his back and staring at the boots of the Bosnian-born Canadian, Neven Pajkic, and the next, he was sitting ringside all sunshine and rainbows, a sheepish winner for the second bout in succession.

Fury’s fights have morphed into an entity all of their own. Feral yet unashamedly entertaining, this isn’t boxing in its purest sense. Of late they have bordered on the untamed barbarism inherent in Gypsy bare-knuckle scraps, the type Fury’s ancestors have been trading in for generations.

Fury has the mindset, physical stature and the toughness synonymous with being the best man of his patch, yet his lamentable technique and slack conditioning, attributes he still has the autonomy to correct, leave him a most confused and contradictory prizefighter. Seated on the ring apron afterwards, Fury mooned about his chin and whether or not it had “gone”, never to be repaired. It was a childlike simplification, one which allows him to tiptoe around the weaknesses in method which have rendered him an enormous sitting duck.

Fury (18st 5lbs) appeared lacklustre from the off and he allowed the stocky yet robotic Pajkic (16 st 8lbs) to charge into him and flail away with rudimentary roundhouse rights throughout an eyesore of an opener. Fury rallied in the next, landing a crisp, chopping right hand which caught the visitor’s attention and pricked Fury into a spot of bravado. The Canadian champ immediately dampened Fury’s brouhaha, though, with a humdinger of an overhand right that landed square on the younger man’s mug and rotated him like a Tetris block.

Pandemonium ensued at ringside, filtering down through the ropes via convection currents. Fury grabbed on for dear life as surly looking sorts pushed and jostled in the background, draping himself across his attacker like a novice swimmer clasping to a polystyrene float.

In the 3rd, Fury, now in fight-or-flight mode, set about Pajkic with gusto, clubbing him to the canvas while holding him initially before sending him sprawling with an avalanche of right hands of differing strength and quality. Pajkic looked all done, inebriated by the bloodlust which had ricocheted between the pair, and as Fury swatted at him again referee Phil Edwards panicked and called time at 2:43.

Pajkic, 16-1 (5),  was disgusted with the decision and after regaining his equilibrium he wrenched away the MC’s microphone in order to protest. It was unadulterated chaos, which is pretty standard fare these days whenever the mixed and muddled Tyson Fury, now 17-0 (12), strides over a top rope. 

There were echoes from a golden era of terrestrial boxing on the undercard as much trumpeted middleweight prospect Chris Eubank Jr. made his professional debut. As the familiar strains of Tina Turner once again reverberated into living rooms across the nation, the original Eubank loomed large up on screen, only to step aside theatrically for his son, the fighting offspring, to emerge from his shadow. It was contrived yet thoroughly entertaining kitsch.

And Junior can fight some, too. Superbly conditioned for a novice, Eubank was confronted with safety-first Lithuanian, Kirilas Psonko, on his maiden voyage. Eubank, who has been groomed for an accelerated ascension, is compact and throws a sturdy jab backed up with a blizzard of powerful hooks and uppercuts dripping in style and class. Psonko took a one-sided pummelling up to 1:46 of the 4th — much to the old showman’s delight. Ronnie Davies issued instructions and terrestrial television pointed the cameras. The only parts missing were Jim Rosenthal, Barry McGuigan and a certain Mr. Benn. This could prove a re-run well worth watching.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.