Tyson Fury Could Beat Conor McGregor to Croke Park Date

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/EPA

Tyson Fury certainly brought a whole new dimension to a heavyweight title fight last weekend as he dethroned former champion Wladimir Klitschko in Düsseldorf.

From dressing up as Batman at the event’s press conference to eventually pulling off his great upset on Saturday night, the antics of the ‘Gypsy King’ produced a conveyor belt of headlines before and after the championship clash, but there has been one particular aspiration of the new champion that has made headlines all over Ireland in the days following his big win.

Speaking on Irish radio station RTE 1 on Tuesday morning, Fury claimed that he would “like to fight” at 80,000 seat Dublin stadium Croke Park when he was asked about a potential rematch with Klitschko, an option for which was written into the fight contract for the defending champion.

“I don’t know if he is going to take the rematch or not,” Fury told Sean O’Rourke. “There is a contract to say he is entitled to a rematch. I don’t know where it is going to be. I have always said I would like to fight at Croke Park. Maybe that can be a reality one day.”

The newly crowned champ insisted that the Irish national stadium was one of “the three venues” he wanted to box in, the other two being Madison Square Garden and Manchester United’s stadium, Old Trafford.

“One of them was Madison Square Garden and I did that one. One of them was Old Trafford and I haven’t done that one. And the other one is Croke Park. They are the three venues I wanted to box in - I wasn’t really interested in Las Vegas and all of them places. The three I always said were Croke Park, United and Madison Square Garden.”

Despite both his parents hailing from the Emerald Isle, Fury was denied the chance at representing Ireland at the 2008 Olympics. According to Fury, “Ireland were denied an Olympic gold medal in 2008.” The heavyweight also highlighted that he had a very Irish upbringing despite being born and bred in Manchester, which could make a date at ‘Croker’ a very special night for him should it ever take place.  

“It was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking for my family and my Dad. They tried to deny his Irish heritage and it was really upsetting time for the family. You can take a man out of Ireland, but you can’t take the Irishness out of the man. Growing up I was brought up around Irish music, Irish traditions.

“Even though I ain’t Irish and I’m born and bred in Manchester, with Irish heritage and roots, you’re always brought up around that sort of thing and it was heart-breaking for my Dad to see it. There was a lot of politics going on and Ireland were denied an Olympic gold medal in 2008.”

Photo by Flickr user soilse

UFC have been courting a date with the iconic Irish national stadium ever since McGregor’s first round knockout out of Diego Brandao last July in Dublin. While doing press in the lead up to UFC 193 in Australia, UFC president Dana White claimed that a Croke Park date would be next for Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor if the interim champion manages to unify his title against Jose Aldo on December 12. 

“If he beats Jose Aldo in Las Vegas in December, the next fight will be in Croke Park,” said White. “We told him he could defend his title at Croke Park.”

The main obstacle blocking the world’s flagship MMA promotion from putting on a show at Croke Park is the 11 pm (BST) curfew for sporting events that is in place by Dublin City Council due to the stadium’s proximity to residential areas. According to White, if they put on a show within the boundaries of the curfew in Croke Park, an event that would break the promotion’s gate record if it sold out, UFC would “lose about 25 to 30 percent on pay-per-view buys.”

“They have a curfew at night where you can’t get permits to stay out that late and do an event there,” said White with regard to Croke Park. “You lose about 25 to 30 percent on pay-per-view being in another country. The amount of money for production for Croke Park, being outside - I can guarantee you it’s going to rain. I’m not a meteorologist, but I’ll bet you it’s going to rain.”

The official decision for Fury’s win over Klitschko came thought a little after 11 pm. Given that, you would expect that it would be a lot easier to amend the time of a boxing event to fit in before the curfew came into play. It seems a lot more likely that a defense of Fury’s title could take place in the stadium as opposed to a UFC title fight, which usually take place roughly six hours after the stadium’s 11 pm curfew.

Interestingly, McGregor seemed to suggest that UFC was a lot further from an event in Croke Park than we thought in his final interview in Ireland before departing the country for UFC 194.

“I’ll believe Croke Park when I see it,” he told SevereMMA.com. “I feel what I done in July in Vegas, and what the Irish people done, we brought $200 million in revenue into that city in July, that sealed the deal on the new MGM deal for the UFC.

“So, I’ll believe Croke Park when I see it. I know they say this and say that, but I feel I might have been locked into MGM for a while. I feel like the MGM wanted me every time because of what we bring, so I’ll believe Croke Park when I see it.”


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Into the Stadium: Ireland's Croke Park

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