Tyson Fury interviewed by Gareth A Davies and Susannah Schofield OBE, boxing promoter:
Fury on Deontay Wilder and the vow of silence and that long stare down
Fury on plans for the fight itself
On dark days after every fight
On women’s boxing and its growth
On his two characters, Fury the man and his alter ego the ‘Gypsy King’
On Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk
Fury on his favourite heavyweights
… and much more…
Wall of silence from Wilder ?
“He didn’t really make me feel anything. I thought it was a very clever move from Wilder. He’s not the most articulate person in the world but he did something where he couldn’t be asked questions for the things he’d said. If he’d come into the press conference answering questions, the first thing the press would have done is tear him apart about the costume and the drugs in his water. How do you answer those questions? Taking a vow of silence is probably the best thing he could have done.”
Continue same strategy into the third fight?
“Yeah. I’ve done nothing wrong. Just continue to do what I do. Keep moving forward and landing pressure on him, landing big punches. He’s the one that’s coming off a knockout loss and one sided fight. He’s the one who’s got to tell himself all these reasons why he lost and sack everybody on his time and blame everybody and point the finger. If you’re an alcoholic or drugs addict, the only way you can actually move on from that is acceptance.
“He still hasn’t moved on from defeat. That’s what I think is happening with Wilder. But he’s not to be underestimated. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
“I think there’s a lot of support going on worldwide for mental health. Smashing the stigma and even in day to day jobs. It’s not just in sports. It’s gaining a lot of momentum in everyday life. People are speaking more about it now than they’ve ever done.”
“Me dad, me brothers, me cousins – my family were all pretty uneducated on mental health. I suffered a lot and my dad was definitely a mental health sufferer. He’s only now coming to grips with it and will admit it. Whereas before there was nothing wrong him. Now they’re accepting it. I did a mental health tour and my dad came with me and he just didn’t know there was this many people struggling. He really can see it now. I believe I’ve had a massive impact on mental health in the U.K. and moving forward. It’s definitely more accepted now and people are coming out of it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of messages and letters I get. People stopping me in the street saying I’ve changed their life. It’s one of the best things I achieved in my life.”
Bigger legacy than boxing ?
“I don’t know. The sport has been good to me and I’ve had a lot of low times too, and it’s made me very unwell at times. But the highs are great and the lows are terrible. When I beat Wilder, I returned home and for the first ten days the only thing I thought about was suicidal thoughts. It was a very low time and it took two weeks to recover.”
“I have two characters. Tyson Fury as a man is a very flawed character. But the Gypsy King is untouchable and has never had mental health issues. He’s never experienced a low time or depression or anxiety. Never had suicidal thoughts. When I return from that person or come back into myself, that’s when I have trouble. So has it made me a better boxer? No. Tyson Fury is a man, not a boxer. The Gypsy King is just a gladiator. Nothing else matters. It’s only the fight.”
“It’s a great subject and I’m glad you’ve touched on it. I think women’s boxing just like mental health is in the best place it’s ever been in history. Do I like women’s boxing? Fantastic. It’s commonly known that women have a higher pain threshold then men. It’s 100% true. When I watch women’s boxing they get stuck in and there’s never a bad fight. Excuse my French but there’s no pussies in women’s boxing. They get stuck in and busted up. Women’s boxing is on a big high with Katie Taylor and Persoon and Natasha Jonas. There’s so many good fighters. Matchroom has created women’s boxing so fantastic achievement to Eddie Hearn. Even though we don’t see eye to eye he has really put women’s boxing on the map. Unbelievably so. It’s very watchable now. I’d pay pay-per-view to watch the top women fight for world titles just as I would for the top blokes. Would I let my girls fight? 100% if they wanted to. M Ali’s daughter was a world champion. I’ve got two daughters at the moment and they’re both very girly. They’re not interested in boxing at all. When they were younger they were more into it.”
AJ vs Usyk
“Everyone puts Usyk in the pound-for-pound list whatever that means. Everyone is asking can Joshua handle someone with good boxing ability, slick feet and accuracy? The other way round, can Usyk handle a big puncher and a big strong heavyweight? It’ll be an interesting fight to watch and I’ll definitely buy it to watch it.”