Wilder

Tyson Fury | 2019-09-27 04:32:00

LOS ANGELES -- The bigger the fight, the more relentlessly produced is its prologue: tour, pressers, interviews, media days, an endless stream of snippets and bytes eventually blended into a video collage. No, it's not the fight, merely a high-tech vaudeville, choreographed in the name of commerce.

But it's real. And it matters.

"Every second," declares Tyson Fury. "I'm living in Deontay Wilder's head. Rent free."

This was October in a break room at LA Live just before Fury would take the podium again to resume his histrionic hostilities with Wilder. It was the final installment of their international junket, an eventful promotion for an excellent fight that arrives this Saturday at Staples Center.

Our meeting was a mismatch: the game's most verbally dexterous fighter with an easily charmed columnist now wanting an exclusive from inside the confines of Wilder's head.

"There's a whole lot of nonsense floating around in there," says Fury, his brogue in full effect. "And I'm the man controlling it all."

Nonsense?

"A whole lot of mentalness," he says.

Ah, of course, mentalness, a Fury-esque term if ever there were one. Only in boxing would a fighter coming back from depression and anxiety issues call out his opponent for being psychiatrically vulnerable. Then again, given his struggles, maybe Fury is uniquely qualified as it pertains to, well, mentalness.

"Wilder has only one style: come forward and knock out you," Fury says. "If he doesn't do that, he's lost. He's only been the distance once in his whole career. That means he's inexperienced at the championship level. I don't believe he has the stamina to do it, the mental energy."

Fury's making a believer of me ... almost.

For almost four years, Wilder has been a neglected and undersold heavyweight champion. The conversation centers on what he can't do instead of what he can, which is taking guys out with lightning-crack power. Wilder's last outing ended with a knockout of the previously undefeated Luis Ortiz, while Fury hasn't faced a real opponent -- at least in the ring -- since 2015, when he beat Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision.

"If a 6-foot-7-inch Olympic gold medalist, and 11-year champion fighting in his adopted home country, the most well-schooled heavyweight with the best footwork in the division, if he couldn't beat me," he says, followed by a dramatic pause as he musters the proper disdain. "Then what chance does this swinging windmill have?"

The Klitschko fight was, in fact, a show of great skill in a division where it's too seldom seen. Not only did Fury make use of his freakish 85-inch reach, but he kept moving right, away from Klitschko's power. He envisions the same against Wilder, while finding an angle for his overhand right.

"Deontay's style will work into my hands," he says. "The more he pushes, the quicker it ends. The more he wants to impress the fans, the quicker he loses. He's feeling the pressure already. He's very on edge around me."

Is that your doing? I ask.

"I don't need to do anything to Deontay Wilder," he says. "Just be myself. He can't figure me out. I'm a man of many, many faces. He's got one way, one path. It's all he knows. But he doesn't have the ability to set up the knockout against me, doesn't have the schooling. And we all know what happens when the knockout doesn't come. All Wilder's opponents have been scared of him, looking for a comfy place to rest on the canvas.

"I will take his power and use it against him.

"If I can defeat depression, I can defeat anything."

You've seen athletes come back from orthopedic ruin, drugs, booze, even incarceration. Returning from what the world perceives as "crazy," however, is a different matter. While Fury has come to see himself as a mental health advocate, he's still not entirely sure what was going on in his own head, merely that the black dog of depression struck after Klitschko.

"I did everything I was supposed to do," he says. "My whole life I'd worked so hard to win the title, and when I finally got it, there was just this massive, gaping hole of emptiness, darkness. I just felt so alone in the world and so worthless. I had glory, money, good looks and a [euphemism for great virility]. I could have whatever I wanted with a click of my fingers. But the whole time I had everything, I had nothing. I felt like everything I ever did in my life was rubbish."

Was it fame? I ask.

"No. I grew up with fame. I'd been on TV since 2008. Even as an amateur, I was famous in the UK."

Then what?

"Most of us who suffer from mental health problems, if we knew, we'd fix it. But we don't know. That's where is spirals into darkness."

Fury drank, by his own estimate, between 80 and 100 pints a week. He ballooned to 380 pounds. Then there were failed drug tests, vacated titles and a series of increasingly bizarre rants about Jews, gay people, bisexuals and pedophiles.

"Off the rails, completely," he says. "I hated that person -- the person I'd become."

What saved Fury wasn't an epiphany, but several. They'd typically arrive after a night of drinking. He'd fall to his knees, tears streaming down his face, and pray: "Please God, if there's any way to bring me back, show me the plan, show me the way ..."

Divine or otherwise, the way illuminated itself gradually. He found a new trainer, Ben Davison. At 25, Davison was already training Billy Joe Saunders, who, like Fury, is a fellow Gypsy with great boxing style who vacated his title after a failed drug test. Then they got back in the gym. There have been two tune-up fights, and he's down 130 pounds.

"I weigh 258," Fury said in October. "I'll be 255 on fight night."

Therapy helped immeasurably, though the Gypsy King is less than specific about the mental health regimen that brought him back. Fury doesn't remember the last time he did drugs, though it was more than a year ago. He hasn't had a drink in several months.

"I'm not an alcoholic," he says, all but winking. "Just a devil for the drink."

In other words, the coke and the booze were symptoms of something deeper. Hence, whatever triggered his depression, the cure -- temporary or otherwise -- seems existential.

Tyson Fury has been reunited with his purpose. If getting the belts were one sanctifying quest, then getting them back would be another. Once again, he has something he's supposed to do.

The Furys -- a clan of Irish Travelers -- have been in the fighting business for generations.

"Well, back into the 1800s," he says. "We fought in smokers, dance halls, down mine shafts, quarries and fairgrounds. Anywhere there was a few quid involved. My dad never lost a bare knuckle fight. Ever."

John Fury was a different sort of fighter than his son: an aggressive, brawny southpaw. At 6-9 with that impossibly long reach, Tyson is a natural craftsman. But he learned early the first principle of pugilism.

"Always the money," he says. "No money, no fight."

In a moment, he'll excuse himself from our conversation. Soon, he'll be tussling onstage again with Wilder, whom he rather likes. It's not the fight, but it matters. This is more than provocation in the name of profit. You want to live in your opponent's head? The rent may be free, but that doesn't make it easy.

For Tyson Fury, it's time to get back to work.

Tyson Fury lashes out at Deontay Wilder for asking him to step aside from 2020 rematch: 'Pay me'

If Deontay Wilder wants Tyson Fury to step aside from their contracted 2020 rematch so he can first fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship, the "Gypsy King" said it's going to cost him. 

Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), who battled Fury to a disputed daw last December, recently told 78 Sports TV he doesn't believe Fury actually wants a second fight. The reigning WBC champion also said Fury "would want me" to face the winner of the Dec. 7 Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch in a fight for all four recognized heavyweight titles. 

"Deontay 'Bronze Bollocks' Wilder is a dosser and he knows he is," Fury told CBS Sports on Thursday. "I see all that stuff about how he wants me to step aside. Step aside to what? He's terrified of the Gypsy King. He couldn't beat the Gypsy King when I had three years out of the ring on alcohol and drugs. How the f--- is he going to beat the Gypsy King now that I've been training for two years. Come on!

"[Stepping aside] depends how much they want to pay me because I ain't stepping aside. That's not quite how it works and it's very costly work."

Fury (28-0-1) returns on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas against Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) in the second of two tuneup fights ahead of a Wilder rematch that is expected to air as a two-network pay-per-view on Feb. 22. Wilder, 33, must also first get by Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) in a separate rematch that's expected for PPV in November but has yet to see a date, network or venue formally announced.

Asked why both he and Wilder would plan a rematch so far in advance despite interim bouts with potential to complicate or ruin their best-laid plans, the 31-year-old Fury was quick to deflect. 

"You have to speak to [co-promoter] Bob Arum about all of that," Fury said. "I told you, I only know about smashing. I don't know about business, I never went to school. I've never got law degrees and I've never got business economic degrees. I've got nothing. The only thing I know how to do is f--- motherf---ers up."

Arum, when reached about Wilder's step-aside comments, told World Boxing News on Thursday it isn't happening

"Obviously, there's a contract and I don't know [if he thinks that's possible]. Wilder says a lot of things that he really doesn't mean just for effect. But that fight is already in the books."

Fury is recognized by many as the division's lineal champion thanks to his 2015 upset of Wladimir Klitschko before a self-imposed exile due to mental health and substance-abuse issues. His comeback story captured much of the boxing world in 2018 after shedding nearly 100 pounds to win a pair of comeback fights before the draw against Wilder, which most observers felt he had won. 

Pressed about who wins the Ruiz-Joshua rematch, Fury became defiant and said, "No interest at all. Don't care, won't even watch it. [On] Dec. 7, I'll be busy. I've got no interest in watching that fight because I've got no interest in those motherf---ers. Not one bit." He had even less interest worrying about whether an Ortiz upset of Wilder might spoil their 2020 rematch, saying, "I don't know. I don't know, man. Why are you asking me all these questions? I don't know, man." 

Asked about Wilder's comments saying Fury's dramatic rise from the canvas during the 12th round after suffering a second knockdown was more of an act than an act of God, Fury had enough. He went on to intercept any mention of the WBC champion by yelling, "F--- Deontay Wilder!" 

"I don't really care what Wilder [said]. I'm not interested in what Wilder says or any of these boxing bums say," Fury said. "I really ain't that interested. It's sticks and stones. They can f------ me, they can hate me or they can want to date me. But at the end of the day, they all want to be me."

Fury, who hours before named Wilder and former undisputed cruiserweight champion Alexander Usyk as his toughest potential challenges at heavyweight during an interview with ESPN, made it clear he would rather fight any of them than answer anymore questions. He later ended the phone interview abruptly by giving praise to God and hanging up.  

"I don't think much about [Usyk], to be honest. He never enters the brain waves. Never. He's not someone I'd rather think about, to be honest," Fury said. "I could probably beat Usyk with one arm tied behind my back and I'll let you pick which one you want me to fight with, left or right. Either way it would be goodnight.

"I don't know what to talk about, to be fair. The boxing scene, I'm quite sick of, actually. I'm quite sick of boxing. Andy Ruiz, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Alexander Usyk, etc. F--- me, the list goes on and on and on. And there's going to be another 10 coming out of the woodwork anytime soon. There is so many but what does it really matter? They are all motherf---ers anyway and they are all going to get f---ed up."

▷ Tyson Fury (29

Sept. 14, 2019

June 15, 2019

The Bronze Bomber

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Tyson Fury plays down concerns about face injury ahead of Deontay Wilder rematch

Tyson Fury insists his cut is healing quickly ahead of his scheduled rematch with Deontay Wilder in February.

The Gypsy King sustained a nasty cut to his face during his victory over Otto Wallin in Las Vegas this month and there were concerns the injury would not heal in time for the Wilder rematch.

Frank Warren has already conceded Fury cannot fight Wilder unless he is 100 per cent fit, but the Brit issued a positive update on his recovery on Wednesday.

‘I’ve just out of the gym. I’m feeling fantastic,’ Fury told his Instagram followers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ylA0JnHMQ/

‘The cut is healing very well, as I’m 3/4 vampire. Don’t remember ever feeling better to be fair.

‘Very happy, very healthy and very well. Spreading positivity as always.’

While Fury continues his recovery, Wilder is set to officially announce his rematch with Luiz Ortiz.

That fight is expected to happen in late November and the WBC champion was excited to see Fury fall foul of a nasty gash against Wallin.

Wilder intends to target the cut when they fight again next year.

‘No matter what he does, when he fights me, it’s [the cut] going to open right back up,’ he said.

‘I’m going to pop it right back open. He can get plastic surgery, duck tape or staples, super glue or hot glue, cement glue. S***, he can go get some of that flex glue. It ain’t even going to matter.’

He added: ‘He’s very vulnerable. When he gets hit on the chin, it’s a wrap.’

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