The Greatest Comeback: Ian Botham’s Headingley heroics or Tyson Fury regaining the WBC title?
Who will be our first finalist?
Our Greatest Comeback competition started with 16 of the most memorable turnarounds in sporting history. Now we’re down to the final four.
The first place in Wednesday’s final is on the line today as Ian Botham’s display in the third Test of the 1981 Ashes goes up against Tyson Fury’s victory over Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title in February.
Who will take a big step towards the title? You can help decide…
Ian Botham’s Ashes – 1981
Ian Botham and England saw off Aldaniti and Bon Champion’s 1981 Grand National win in the first round. Then they knocked out Stuart Pearce’s penalty redemption in 1996 in the quarter-finals. Can they go toe-to-toe with Tyson Fury?
England had been poor in the first two Tests of the 1981 Ashes series, much like they had for the majority of Botham’s time as captain.
The leadership role seemed to affect the all-rounder’s personal form too. Normally he was a bold, daring cricketer, but he didn’t look the same with the bat or the ball.
Ahead of the third Test, the selectors decided something had to be done. They give the captaincy to Mike Brearley, who had served the team well as captain in the past.
Some players would have taken that move as a slight. But Botham used it as motivation to remind everyone just how good he was.
He bowled six for 95 during Australia’s first innings, before claiming a half-century at the crease. However, England had to follow on after scoring 221 to Australia’s 401.
By the time Botham walked out to bat on the Monday, England were 105 for 5 and facing an innings defeat. But the Heswall-born star had other ideas. He scored an incredible 149 not out to change the momentum of the whole series.
England went on to dismiss Australia for 111, becoming only the second team in Test history to win after being made to follow on. Inspired by Botham’s display, they won the fourth and fifth Tests to complete a remarkable comeback and retain the Ashes.
Tyson Fury beats Deontay Wilder to regain his WBC Heavyweight belt – 2020
Tyson Fury beat Kauto Star in the opening round of our tournament, then he had too much for Lester Piggott and Royal Academy in the quarter-finals. As the most recent comeback in our tournament, can he go the distance?
After beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to become the unified heavyweight champion, Fury seemed to have the world at his feet.
However, after achieving his goal, he struggled with motivation. He gained weight, his mental health suffered and he was involved in several controversies. A sprained ankle initially delayed his rematch with Klitscko, before he was declared ‘medically unfit’ and the fight was pushed back again. He ultimately vacated or was stripped of his titles.
It took almost three years for Fury to return to the ring – he credits his psychiatric help, faith and the support of his family as crucial factors. He made his comeback with a win against Sefer Seferi, before beating Francesco Pianeta to set up a WBC heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder.
Fury dominated most of the bout against the undefeated Wilder, but he looked to be out for the count when a right-left combination put him down on the mat in the final round. It looked like the fight was over, but Fury hauled himself up, much to the crowd’s surprise. The judges controversially ruled the fight a draw, which led to a rematch in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Determined to get the win this time, Fury was arguably in the best shape of his career by the time the fight came around.
His efforts paid off, as he delivered a masterclass against the champion. Wilder’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round, with their man well beaten on the night.
After five years, Fury regained his title, potentially setting up a huge bout with Anthony Joshua in the process.
Cast your vote
Who do you think should make it into the final? Head over to our Twitter page and let us know in our poll.
Whoever wins will go up against either Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League triumph or Niki Lauda returning after his 1976 crash to win two F1 titles.
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication.