Tyson Fury Interview: I want to be the first £500million boxer

Tyson Fury puts on the gloves again this weekend against Oleksandr Usyk – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

One minute Tyson Fury wants to “become the first £500 million heavyweight boxer”, the next he doesn’t care about his legacy and simply wants to “beat the stupid sausage” Oleksandr Usyk here on Saturday night, before delving into a detailed historical story. dissertation on the heavyweight division. It is typical Fury: a series of zigzag lines, sometimes contradictory.

Choosing a route through Fury’s changing mind has never been easier. The 6-foot-1, 19th-ranked boxer will transform into his alter ego of the “Gypsy King” this week ahead of the biggest bout of his career since becoming heavyweight champion for the first time by dethroning Wladimir Klitschko nine years ago.

Up close, Fury looks in stunning shape ahead of the first fight for the undisputed heavyweight title in a quarter of a century. He says he’s “in the same shape as when I fought Klitschko,” but he’s a very different fighter now, with miles under his belt: 30 rounds of punishment against Deontay Wilder, a rough house 10 rounds against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou last October, wounds and scar tissue around his eyes. Add to that the jump in weight to 29th and the two-year spell in the wilderness, and Fury – aged 36 in August – is certainly on the verge of setting the tone for his career forever.

The undefeated Fury, who has previously announced several retirements, declares that he will “fight eight to ten more times until he is forty years old” – at the encouragement of His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, a Saudi minister and his great supporter – and adds then added: “Happy days, with those fights I become the first £500 million heavyweight boxer in history.”

That would be a legacy.

But when it comes to his legacy, Fury is getting stubborn. “Look, this is an important fight, but again, I hate to say it because the boxing fans and the boxing purists and all those people don’t want to hear it, but why do you think I box? For the money. If anyone in this building, or anyone in professional boxing, tells me they are not in this game for money, they are lying to you and I am speaking from my heart. I do it for the dough. The bigger the deal, the better. I am a specialist in prize fighting. That’s what I do. I fight for the prize, whether it’s gold bars, gold coins, cash, transfers, cars, whatever you want to pay me, as far as I’m concerned, pay me in bags of sand, as long as I can make a drink out of it, deal done.”

‘I go there to get paid, have sex and come back to Morecambe Bay’

The epicenter of mega-fights is now Saudi Arabia, with its huge investments in the sport. “Saudi is great, very welcoming,” explains Fury, who has been in the heat for the past two weeks. ‘This is the opposite of what I had heard. Look, this fight with me and Usyk took place with Turki, His Excellency, in 25 minutes. That’s all it took. This is a good fight, I don’t worry much about what people will say in 100 years. The dust from our bones will no longer exist in 100 years, let alone what they say about a boxing match in 100 years. We will all be dead, my children will be dead, my wife will be dead, my father will be dead, everyone I ever cared about will be gone.

‘So I go there to get paid, have sex and come back to Morecambe Bay. I’m probably not going to buy anything because I don’t need anything. I’ll go to the store and buy some groceries, probably tighter than today. I’ll do the retake exactly the same, get paid, get laid, come home to Morecambe Bay, and still not buy anything.

Although Fury is somewhat dismissive of his own legacy, he is an astute student of the history of the heavyweight division and is quick to pay tribute to previous greats of the past 150 years. He states that John L Sullivan is “a pioneer”, waxes lyrical about gypsy bare-knuckle champion Jem Mace and talks about “gentleman” Jim Corbett before telling stories about Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Joe Louis and others. He calls Muhammad Ali “the greatest of all time” and then shares his admiration for Mike Tyson’s “knowledge of division.”

Tyson Fury Interview: I want to be the first £500million boxerTyson Fury Interview: I want to be the first £500million boxer

Wife Paris is a loyal supporter of Tyson – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Fury will need his mantle of invincibility against two more rivals – Usyk and then Anthony Joshua – and the era will belong to him, just as previous eras are now etched with the names Lennox Lewis, Tyson, Ali, Louis, Jack Johnson… Usyk is on a two-fight deal, with Joshua scheduled for March 2025. But everything can change quickly in boxing.

This match with Usyk was postponed from February 17 due to Fury’s eye being cut during sparring. “I’m not worried about the eye,” Fury explains. “If there is a cut, the ratings will rise, there will be blood everywhere and I will not let them stop the fight…

‘I want to do a demolition job for him. I just want to beat the crazy sausage. Yes, Usyk is fast, talented, he beat a great heavyweight twice in Anthony Joshua, but AJ is one dimensional, has one pace and I could beat him with a blindfold on. I’m just different.”

Tyson Fury Interview: I want to be the first £500million boxerTyson Fury Interview: I want to be the first £500million boxer

Tyson Fury gets up close and personal with Oleksandr Usyk – Getty Images/Alex Pantling

The outcome against Usyk could depend on which version of the Gypsy King shows up at the Kingdom Stadium. Indeed, there is no shortage of respected voices in the industry picking Usyk to take on the British heavyweight.

Yet Fury is called the “diamond” of boxing by Alalshikh. Why? “It’s because I’m charismatic, tall, controversial, good-looking, I can fight… all of the above. Therefore. There’s a lack of characters in this sport these days, lots of businessmen and cashiers, but there aren’t that many characters. I’m a dying breed in this game.

“All I can do on Saturday night is go in there, give my best and win, lose or draw, put my best foot forward and be a man.”

Will he bring bad intentions into his fight with Usyk? “I’ll tickle his nuts,” Fury offers, grinning. “Seriously, I’ll do my best, whatever that is…”

It will have to be good, if not great, for the Gypsy King to defeat the Ukrainian known as “The Cat”.

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