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Tyson Fury’s rivalry with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua just turned ugly.
The pair want to fight for the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles, and Fury increased hostilities by branding Joshua an “Uncle Tom” on Instagram.
The disparaging term is used to describe black people who are “subservient to or curry favour with white people,” according to dictionary.com.
“[Muhammad] Ali had words for a man like you, they were ‘Uncle Tom,'” Fury said. He also questioned Joshua’s Nigerian heritage.
“A big bully is what you are, you dosser. ‘Big Femi’ is your bully street name, I’ve seen your type man times,” he said. “The man who can’t speak his own mind, the plastic Nigerian… I’m more Nigerian than you! I’ll fly the flag for Nigeria when we fight. [This] Gypsy man represents the world.
He added: “Anthony Joshua [said] my fight with Wladimir Klitschko was boring but it is better to win and be boring than be dropped all over the floor and scrape the win. I barely got punched but [he] nearly got carried off the canvas.”
Fury is currently “suspended” while he awaits a United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) verdict for a case relating to allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs.
The 28-year-old has not boxed since his stunning 12-round decision victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and believes he is being kept out of the ring so that his talents decline while Joshua’s grow.
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“Let’s get it on. I don’t need no warm up fights,” he said. “When this political rubbish stops against me, this ploy to keep me out of the ring for two years to give you a better chance of beating me, we’ll get it on in October or November.”
Muhammad Ali’s regret over “Uncle Tom” taunt
Fury’s reference to Muhammad Ali was notable.
Ali had established himself as a great fighter and a sporting icon by the mid-1970s. But ahead of a rivalry-defining third fight with Joe Frazier in 1974, Ali – who commonly referred to himself as “pretty” – showed his nasty side when he called Frazier a “gorilla” and “an Uncle Tom.”
Jelani Cobb, a professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University told the Washington Post in 2011 that “there was something searing and non-evolved about this tall, light-skinned black man calling another man a gorilla, with the rest of America co-signing it.”
Ali later came to regret his remark. “I called [Frazier] names I shouldn’t have,” he said.
Tyson’s history of controversy
Whether Fury regrets his outburst remains to be seen. He has a history of making controversial remarks and has been summoned by the British Boxing Board of Control for his views on women, abortion, homosexuality, and paedophilia in previous years.
Fury made a string of offensive comments on social media and in an interview with the Daily Mail in 2015. He claimed that gay people should be “shot dead” and said “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back.”