There was has never been a modicum of self-doubt in Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KO’s) and it seems he has steeled his resolution on approach to the biggest fight of his life.
The undefeated Brit has led the latest generation of UK heavyweights over the last few years and is determined to halt the longstanding championship reign of the most consistent fighter in the sport not named Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KO’s) is taking this fight as a mandatory challenge for the WBO portion of his four belt collection, but will also be risking his WBA Super, IBF and IBO belts when he welcomes the exuberant Fury to his adopted home of Germany later this year.
Wlad is on an 11-year unbeaten streak and has become le meilleur example of a fighter making the most of his physical assets; controlling range with his long hard jab, fighting tall and patient, and ever protective of a chin that was dented early on in his pro career.
He has manufactured a formidable aura, but Fury is unwilling to let the statistics and reputation of the champion cow him into behaving like anyone other than himself.
His comments on World Boxing News are typical of a pre-fight Fury firing himself up for a job still three months down the line.
“I always knew I’d one day fight for and win the heavyweight championship of the world – it was just a matter of time. I had to work my way into a mandatory position to force the issue because no 40-year-old champion is going to volunteer to fight someone as big, skilful and dangerous as me. You have to force them into taking the fight. That is what I have done with Wladimir Klitschko and, on October 24, the world will see why the late, great Emanuel Steward said, ‘Tyson Fury will be the next heavyweight champion of the world.”
“I’m a bigger man than Wladimir in height, weight and natural size. I’m also 13 years younger than him. I’m fresh, I’m hungry, I’m talented and I’m a fighting man. There’s no way I’m losing to a 40-year-old. This is my destiny – to become heavyweight champion of the world – and it’s time for the title to change hands. Wladimir has held on to the belt for many years now – and he’s done a good job of holding on to it – but I’m here to rip it from him.”
Fury is not focusing on the half-century of knockouts Wlad has accumulated, the ripped physique or the stony demeanour he brings into the ring on fight night. In Fury’s mind, the champion has been reduced to a near middle-aged man he had to chase for this opportunity, and now he has it.
Fury can sometimes be portrayed as a madman who lets his mouth run away from him, but here you see some well aimed and considered verbal blows: the repeated reference to Wlad’s age and the physical advantages Fury will have on fight night (a rarity in itself), as well as supporting his own assertions of talent with the words of the trainer that made Wlad great, the legendary Emmanuel Steward.
Fury was pushing a few different buttons for a reaction, but the champion is seasoned and well-drilled enough to remain cordial when faced with spoken attacks.
“So many fans are waiting for this fight. Tyson Fury’s record speaks for itself. He is unbeaten, very self-confident and difficult to fight. But I love challenges, and I love testing myself. This fight keeps me interested, and it’ll be one of the most difficult for sure. It is great to be back at the football stadium in Düsseldorf. The atmosphere has been awesome and simply gigantic each time.”
The media obligations these two will share before that night Germany may be more exciting than the fight itself, but if Fury has his way these will only be precursors to the biggest upset the division has seen in years.
This is not to be dismissive towards Fury -he has the strongest case for a victory against Wlad in many a year- for he is a talented young fighter with huge belief in himself and blessed with anomalous corporeal gifts – but a win here would be an upset nonetheless.