May 18, 2024

A heavyweight boxer who was “robbed” of beating Tyson Fury is now a rubbish clearer.


WBC champion Fury has dominated the heavyweight division for the better part of a decade, rocketing to stardom after his world title win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. He is now set to rake in an eye-watering £78million from his undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Yet the undefeated boxer’s trajectory could have been very different if not for a highly dubious win early on in his career. Back in 2009, a 7-0 Fury – at that time more of a Gypsy Prince – took on a boxer by the name of John McDermott in Brentwood, Essex, for the English heavyweight title.


McDermott was a veteran with 25 wins and five losses behind him. Despite being labelled ‘McMuffin’ by the trash-talking Fury, he dominated his opponent and rocked him in the eighth round.


Yet, to the disbelief of all those present, referee Terry O’Connor crowned Fury the winner, leading commentator Jim Watt to ask if he had raised the wrong hand. The stunning decision – a 8-2 victory in favour of the Mancunian – sent McDermott on a downward trajectory as his boxing career fizzled out.


The 44-year-old told The Times: “I definitely won it, mate. I don’t know how the referee scored it eight rounds to him and two to me. Fury didn’t say a word. I was literally waiting in the changing room for someone to come and say, ‘There’s been a mistake.’”


McDermott and many others were left baffled by the decision to hand Fury the win


McDermott suffered a more comprehensive defeat to Fury in their rematch the following year, being stopped in the ninth round to hand him his fourth straight loss. He ended up leaving the sport for good three years later, feeling bitter and bruised by the injustice of it all.


The once English champion now spends his days working in rubbish clearance in Essex. “It’s a bit quiet at the moment. Not much work around,” he said.


“I made 25 grand from fighting him [Fury]. I didn’t earn enough to buy a house. Two fights a year, usually 15 grand each, minimum wage innit? I was not bitter at Tyson Fury when I stopped, but I was at the sport. I still am.”


Tyson Fury poses with the belt as he celebrates his victory on the referees decision over John McDermott during the English Heavyweight Title bout at the Brentwood Centre, Essex.

Undefeated Fury now has a net worth of £70m while McDermott clears rubbish (Image: PA)

Even Fury’s boisterous father, John, believed Tyson had got away with one, telling McDermott in the car park afterwards that he “won” the original fight. Another curious detail surrounding the controversial decison is that the referee had himself been knocked out by McDermott’s dad, Stan, twice in the past.


McDermott struggled for fights in the aftermath due to the danger he posed to opponents, managing just four bouts in the years that followed. He holds no grudges towards Fury, highlighting his achievements since as “fantastic”, but remains disheartened that he has not been able to set up his own family.


Fury has certainly managed that, boasting generational wealth after 35 fights. Even excluding his purse from the upcoming Usyk showdown, the 35-year-old has a £68m net worth, edging even Anthony Joshua’s £64m, according to Celebrity Net Worth.


Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are set to lock horns in a huge clash this month with each fighter attempting to etch their names in boxing history as the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the pair will go head to head for the prestigious WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF titles.

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