The Greatest Comeback: Will Tyson Fury or Niki Lauda be our winner?
We’re down to the final two
Over the last two weeks, we’ve pitted sporting legends up against each other to try and determine the greatest comeback of all time. Now we’re down to the last two.
Today’s final sees Tyson Fury takes on Niki Lauda. It’s a clash of two very different competitors, from different sports and different eras. We’ve seen plenty of surprises so far, who will come out on top today?
Thanks to everyone who’s voted in our daily polls throughout the tournament. Now you’ve got the chance to help crown the winner…
Tyson Fury beats Deontay Wilder to take the WBC Heavyweight belt
As the most recent comeback in the tournament, he doesn’t have the benefit of nostalgia, but he’s still right at the front of people’s minds.
After reaching the top of the heavyweight division and falling a long way down, Fury only returned to the summit with a win over Deontay Wilder in February this year.
It’s now five years since the Gypsy King ended Wladimir Klitschko’s long reign as heavyweight champion. But after finally getting to where he wanted, he struggled with motivation. He gained weight, suffered mental health problems and was involved in several controversial incidents outside the ring.
His planned rematch with Klitschko was delayed due to an injury, then pushed back again when he was declared ‘medically unfit’. The Manchester-born brawler’s titles were eventually stripped or vacated.
Fury went almost three years without a fight, but he believes his psychiatric help, faith and family all helped him to return. His first fight back saw him beat Sefer Seferi, before a win against Francesco Pianeta. That put him in line for a WBC heavyweight title fight against the undefeated Deontay Wilder.
Fury seemed to have the better of Wilder for most of their first fight, though Wilder dropped the challenger in the ninth. Wilder again floored Tyson in the final round, and this time it looked to be over. But Fury somehow managed to haul himself up and the judges ultimately called it a draw, though many felt the Brit did enough to win.
There were no doubts about the rematch. Fury put on a clinic to dismantle Wilder, knocking him down in the third and fifth rounds, before the champ’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh.
Fury celebrated with a rousing rendition of Don McClean’s “American Pie” in the ring, and there may still be more to come – after a third bout with Wilder, Fury has agreed in principle to face Anthony Joshua in a huge all-British undisputed heavyweight title fight next year.
Niki Lauda wins two F1 world titles after his life-changing 1976 crash
Niki Lauda has seen off challenges from Tiger Woods’ Masters win last year, Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League glory and Dennis Taylor’s surprise win over Steve Davis in the 1981 World Snooker Championships. Can he race past Fury to victory?
Lauda won his first world championship for Ferrari in 1975, and he looked likely to defend his title after making a superb start to the 1976 season. He won four of the opening six races, with another win at Brands Hatch in race nine.
Round 10 was at the Nürburgring, though Lauda urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race a week before it was due to take place. He was concerned about the safety arrangements at the track, including the lack of fire marshals and safety equipment. However, the majority of drivers voted against the boycott and the race went ahead.
Lauda’s concerns proved to be well-founded. Only two laps into the race, he swerved off the track and hit an embankment. His Ferrari burst into flames, with the Austrian suffering severe burns and inhaling toxic gas before he could be pulled out.
Though Lauda was conscious, he slipped into a coma in hospital, where he was read the last rites.
After being involved in such a serious crash, many thought Lauda would come to a tragic end. No one expected him to be racing again just six weeks later. He only missed two races as a result of his injuries, eventually only finishing a point behind James Hunt in the drivers standings.
He would go on to win the championship by 17 points in the following season, before retiring in 1979 after two seasons with Brabham.
He wasn’t away for long, returning with McLaren in 1982. His first two seasons there didn’t bring too much success, and the third saw him retire in three of the last four races. But Lauda doesn’t know when he’s beaten, coming back to win the world title for a third time. The racing legend retired for good in 1986.
Cast your vote
Who will come out on top? You can back either Fury or Lauda in our poll. Cast your vote and we’ll reveal the winner on Twitter.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication