JEFF POWELL: Lewis still edges Fury as the greatest British heavyweight

Tyson Fury was much more interested in starting his holiday at the red hot Wet Republic pool party here than talking about where he stands now in the heavyweight pantheon.

Dancing with his wife Paris and drinking Bud Lights with his brothers in celebration of his colossal world title trilogy conquest of Deontay Wilder was the order of Sunday.

The Gypsy King is absorbed in boxing history but always reluctant to discuss where he might rank among the legends of the past.


Tyson Fury is reluctant to discuss his spot in the heavyweight pantheon of greats

The Gypsy King’s victory over Deontay Wilder evoked memories of Muhammad Ali for many


The battle to be crowned the best ever British heavyweight comes down to Lennox Lewis and Fury

So when pressed to the point of how his latest triumph has evoked memories of Muhammad Ali for many, this was Fury’s response: ‘The only thing I will say is that I do believe I am the best heavyweight of my generation.

‘Achieving that has always been important to me. That’s really all anyone can say. You can’t make comparisons with champions of previous eras. Leave that to the keyboard geeks.

‘There are so many greats and I would not insult any one of them by saying I would have beaten them. Not even those from the early years when they only weighed 13 stones. All the way back more than a hundred years to Bob Fitzsimmons.’

In 1897 Cornish Bob became the first English-born fighter to win the heavyweight title and he beat the also-great Gentleman Jim Corbett to do it.

Which raises a question a little easier to answer, although again not by the giant of the moment.

Who now is the greatest ever British heavyweight? The crux of the argument comes down to two men. Lennox Lewis or Fury?

Lewis is still the last undisputed heavyweight champion and gets the nod over Fury at present

Lewis ended a hundred year post-Fitzsimmons drought without a UK world heavyweight champion and went on to be a three-time king as he dominated the pre-Klitschko age.

Fury is the giant, multi-talented force of nature and colourful showman who terminated that long reign by Ukraine. As yet, unlike Lewis when he retired, Fury is undefeated.

Each has knocked out one of the two biggest punchers ever. Although Mike Tyson was in decline when he fought Lewis, while Deontay Wilder was still in his dangerous prime in the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.

This is as close a call as any split decision. Lewis is still the last undisputed heavyweight champion. Fury will soon be the next.

The Gypsy King will take that crown by beating either Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua


1. Lennox Lewis

2. Tyson Fury

3. Bob Fitzsimmons

4. Frank Bruno

5. Sir Henry Cooper


So for the moment Lewis gets the undisputed nod. As soon as Fury levels that field by beating either Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua that verdict will be overturned.

The final decision will turn on Fury having just played his part in one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time. And won it.

My two other nominees for the top five big Brits are among the most beloved of British sporting heroes.

Sir Henry Cooper came within a whisker of knocking out Ali (nee Cassius Clay) with his ‘Enery’s ‘Ammer left hook in their first fight, before the parchment skin around his eyes was sliced open.

Frank Bruno gave Lewis an almighty scare before finally winning his world title to national rejoicing.

Joshua, with his Olympic gold and unified WBA, IBF, WBO and fringe IBO titles was in contention before he lost those belts to Usyk in such disappointing fashion.

British legend Sir Henry Cooper (left) takes on Muhammad Ali at Wembley back in 1963

Frank Bruno (left), in action against Joe Bugner in 1987, sits fourth on the list of British greats