Was this the night Tyson Fury deserved to LOSE to a railway worker?

Was this the night Tyson Fury deserved to LOSE? Unbeaten WBC champ could have had a defeat on his record ahead of huge showdown with Dillian Whyte after ‘highway robbery’ against railway worker John McDermott in 2009

  • Tyson Fury will go toe-to-toe with Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on Saturday
  • The Gypsy King will be eager to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Whyte
  • Fury will also be looking to extend his unbeaten boxing record – which is 31-0-1 
  • However, many believe Fury should have lost to John McDermott back in 2009

Tyson Fury will be looking to extend his remarkable unbeaten record when he defends his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte at Wembley on Saturday. 

The Gypsy King heads into the fight as the firm favourite given he has never lost as a professional and boasts an impressive 31 wins (22 knockouts) and a draw, which came in his first fight with Deontay Wilder. 

But despite his dominance in the ring, Fury is no stranger to hitting the canvas. He has been knocked down by Neven Pajkic, Steve Cunningham and twice by Wilder on his way to becoming arguably the best heavyweight in the world.

However, no one has been able to out-box the Brit quite like John McDermott did on a controversial night at the Brentwood Centre in September, 2009. 

Here, Sportsmail takes a look back at the night many of those closest to the fight believe Fury deserved to lose the unbeaten record he still proudly holds to this day. 

Tyson Fury will put his WBC title on the line when he faces Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium

 Whyte secured his WBC mandatory title shot by knocking out Alexander Povetkin last March

The night that could have changed Fury’s career

Despite entering the ring as the English heavyweight champion and having the home advantage, McDermott was regarded as the underdog for the infamous fight that took place 13 years ago. 

Fury, who was 21 and eight years younger than McDermott at the time, had youth on his side and had an eight inch reach advantage. Additionally, Fury headed into the fight having knocked out his first seven opponents. 

Therefore, the bookmakers backed Fury as the 1/6 favourite. McDermott, who had lost his last two fights to Danny Williams as he challenged for the British belt, was 7/2 to win. 

Many fans believe Fury should have lost to railway worker John McDermott back in 2009

The fight between Fury (R) and McDermott (L) took place 13 years ago at Brentwood Centre  

Fans and pundits were excited about the quality of boxing that was going to be on display. Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark even referred to Fury as ‘Britain’s next big heavyweight hope’ live on TV before the fight. 

Both fighters were heading into the ring with a point to prove. Fury was looking to extend his unbeaten record, while McDermott was eager to return to winning ways. 

However, bragging rights were at the forefront of this fight. The two boxers had built up a fierce rivalry ahead of the bout. Fury had mocked McDermott’s physique by calling him ‘McMuffin’, ‘Big Mac’ and ‘McDoughnut’. The 29-year-old was out for revenge. 

McDermott made an instant impact as the fight got underway – connecting with a beautiful right hand just 30 seconds in. He followed that up with a series of powerful double-jabs and a jarring left hook.

Fury threw several punches of his own but none that stuck. The Gypsy King’s frustration was visible as he intentionally butted heads with McDermott after the bell rang at the end of the first round. 

Fury, who had never boxed past the fourth round at this point in his career, began to tire in the third and let his guard down. McDermott was able to land a devastating jab that saw the Gypsy King’s ‘eyes roll’. 

Fury mocked McDermott’s physique by calling him ‘McMuffin’, ‘Big Mac’ and ‘McDoughnut’

McDermott made an instant impact when he entered the ring and caught Fury off guard  

Speaking about the connection, McDermott told Sky Sports in 2020: ‘In the third round I hit him with a jab and his eyes rolled but he came straight back. I thought: “This boy has some bottle’.’ 

Fury continued to struggle as the fight went on and looked to his corner for guidance. His team directed him through the next five rounds, with the Gypsy King making it to the eighth. 

McDermott thought he had done enough to stop Fury with two rounds to go but he said the Manchester-born boxer ‘came back like a wild bull’. Speaking to Sky Sports, McDermott said: ‘In the eighth I shook him down to his boots. I thought I’d got him. But he came back like a wild bull!’.    

By the 10th round Fury was exhausted and the tables had well and truly turned. His corner were calling for the Gypsy King to knock McDermott out, but the 21-year-old was unable to do so and the fight went the distance.  

The final bell rang and McDermott walked back to his corner to await the judges’ score. He felt as though he had done enough to win the fight. However, referee Terry O’Connor felt differently. 

He grabbed Fury’s arm immediately after the fight stopped – naming him the new English heavyweight champion.    

McDermott landed several devastating blows and appeared to be winning the fight on points

McDermott was shocked by the decision and recalled the incident during an interview with Boxing Social. He said: ‘My three fights before that had all been championship fights with three judges, so automatically I walked back to my corner to wait for the decision. I wasn’t really thinking.

‘Then he held Fury’s hand up. I literally couldn’t believe it – I thought: “nah can’t be, you’ve made a bloody mistake, mate!” Honestly, I thought he’d made a mistake!

‘It affected me massively. I don’t know if you watched the interview after but I remember saying: “what do I have to do to win?”.’ 

Fans and pundits around the arena were equally as shocked. Jim Watt, who was Sky Sports’ co-commentator for the evening, was astonished when the score was read out 98-92 in favour of Fury, awarding him eight rounds to two. 

Watt questioned O’Connor’s decision to crown Fury as the new English heavyweight champion, saying: ‘Did O’Connor have the names mixed up. I can’t explain that, extraordinary.’   

While promoter Frank Maloney, who is now known as Kellie, vented his frustration shortly after the fight, saying: ‘The decision is laughable. It sends out the wrong message about the sport of boxing and about our controlling body.

‘I made a point that I wouldn’t want Terry O’Connor anywhere near an arena where I am promoting shows but their response was that I can’t pick my officials. The whole hearing was a joke and does no good for the general public’s view of British boxing.’

Maloney went on to add: ‘That was a bigger robbery than the Holyfield-Lewis draw… Dick Turpin at least [wore] a mask when he robs you. ‘ 

Meanwhile, McDermott, who was working on railways fixing overhead cables in 2020, says the result from that night still ‘annoys’ him because Fury is a ‘millionaire’ and he is ‘struggling’.  

‘Of course it still annoys me,’ McDermott told Sky Sports. ‘I’m not saying I would have gone onto fight for the world title but it would have helped me, at the time. A bit more money when there wasn’t much money in boxing. He’s a millionaire now and I’m struggling.’  

McDermott also revealed how Fury’s father John approached him in the car park after the fight to admit he should have been crowned as the winner. 

Fury threw some good punches of his own but they did not land as well as McDermott’s 

McDermott thought he had won the fight but referee Terry O’Connor raised Fury’s arm instead

Speaking to Boxing Social, McDermott said: ‘To give Tyson Fury’s dad his due, when I walked outside with the wife to get in the car he pulled up in his jeep and said: “I know my boy got the decision but you won that, mate”. All due respect to him for saying that.’  

Nevertheless, McDermott did praise Fury for his ‘bottle and heart’, claiming he knew the Gypsy King was ‘special’ from the moment he accepted their fight in 2009.  

‘One thing I’ll say about Fury – he’s got plenty of bottle and heart,’ McDermott told Sky Sports. ‘To box me in his eighth fight? I knew then that he was special.

‘He was just a boy but has improved tenfold since then. He’s so awkward – big, unorthodox, strong guy but he can’t hit very well. He fought his heart out and I gave my all. I was in bed for three days after, knackered.’ 

The duo did go toe-to-toe in a rematch the following year with Fury stopping McDermott in the ninth round of their second fight in 2010.  

However, things could have turned out very differently for Fury had he not been awarded that controversial victory back in 2009.

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