Fury’s next opponent is set to be announced soon but it ‘could be Barney Rubble’ for all he cares – ‘I’ll fight them all’
Tyson Fury is in the danger zone. Not the boxing ring – a place that holds little fear for the Gypsy King, even if he does concede there will be a “lasting effect” on his body from the brutal win over Deontay Wilder – but something more precarious.
For two months, Fury has been facing up to the void, that expanse of time in the weeks and months following a fight. It almost claimed him in 2015, after beating Wladimir Klitschko, and the win over Wilder that elevated Fury to the greats of boxing – the highest of highs – could easily have been followed by the lowest of lows.
It was a question raised in the immediate aftermath of his victory in Las Vegas. So now, eight weeks on, how is Fury coping? “I feel fine with my mental health. I train, I stay fit – if I don’t, it’s crazy times. I’m being a good lad at the moment.” he tells Telegraph Sport. “I would describe myself as a bit of a boring character, actually. I’m not the brash, flashy character you saw all those years ago. I’ve stayed fit since the Deontay Wilder fight. It keeps the demons away.”
The recent months have been quite the gear change for Fury. His win was celebrated with wild pool parties in Las Vegas, soundtracked by Steve Aoki – the superstar DJ who is a close friend – and toasted with champagne and cigars. His reality today is putting out the bins in the Morecambe rain.
Not that the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion is complaining. “I’m just a bald-headed fat dad these days, doing chores around the house, picking the kids up from school, putting the bins out and training twice a day in the gym,” he says. “I get home at 6.30 after my second training session of the day, eat, have some water, put my robe on, watch TV for half an hour and I’m ready for bed.”
He may be content but Fury cannot stay in boxing’s deep-freeze forever; not now that he is the main draw of boxing’s blue riband division. Everybody wants a piece of Fury; but what does the man himself want?
Fury put to bed any lingering suggestion that could be tempted to retire – “not when I can earn money and give my kids a better life” – and, as a boxer who once fought for nothing to get a foot on the ladder, he is frank that it is no longer titles or legacy that keeps him going. “I have nothing to prove,” Fury says as he plots out his next move. “But I do have plenty more to earn. That’s how we roll. I made so little for years, nine grand for my first fight [in 2008], two grand after that. I even had a fight for free. I made f— all for years so I’m not going to walk away now when I can earn money and give my kids a better life.”
Fury’s next fight is expected to be announced soon, including the possibility of an undisputed heavyweight battle with three-belt holder Oleksandr Usyk, although it could take a mammoth negotiation to get Anthony Joshua to step away from his rematch contract. There is interest from Saudi Arabia to stage the potential bout in March 2022.
If not, it could be a fight for Fury with Dillian Whyte, Joe Joyce, or, as Fury suggests, “anyone they put in front of me, I don’t really care”.
“There’s a lot of stuff on the table,” explains Fury. “Keep your eyes peeled. I don’t care who it is, to be honest. There are no easy ones, they are all tough. Anthony Joshua would be good. But I don’t care who I fight. They are all bums in the shower. Joshua, Whyte, Usyk, whoever, I’ll fight them all. It could be Barney Rubble for all I care. Whoever they get me – if it makes financial sense, and the credibility that goes with it.
“But I won’t be playing to anyone else’s tune. Whatever makes the most sense. I will do what makes the most sense to me. Usyk has the titles, Joshua has the name. Or at least he did until he had his a— handed to him by Usyk. I dance to my own tune as I have always done.”
Does Fury believe Joshua is looking to step aside in order for him to fight Usyk? There are plenty of sages in the sport talking about it being a smart move for Joshua to do just that and fight the Fury-Usyk winner, with many backing Fury to defeat Usyk.
“A lot of people say stuff and it never materialises, does it? Fury adds. “I don’t get too interested in it. When I was going to fight AJ and Wilder had his arbitration case there was talk of Wilder stepping aside but he didn’t, did he?”
That captivating win against Wilder, the third in a trilogy of fights against the American, has ensured that Fury will forever be thought of as one of the greatest boxers this country has ever produced. But it did not come without its costs, and Fury was candid about the damage inflicted when two heavyweights, weighing 277 and 238lbs respectively, come to blows.
“It was a good fight for the fans,” he said. “Not so good for me nor Wilder. Not good because we both took a lot of severe damage and it will have everlasting effects on our lives. Good for the fans, but not for us. You have different fights on different days, and as we all know, styles make fights.”
The past has left its scars and the future is yet to be decided but, for now, Fury is happy among his true paymasters – the British public.
He was in a jovial mood as he invited Telegraph Sport to his Manchester hotel room for an hour ahead of the start of his six-city UK homecoming tour. “I’m treating it like a works do and having a giggle with the fans,” explained the 6ft 9ins tall boxer. “A lot of people are out there suffering and they come to me for inspiration. So I wanted to put on good shows, every single one of them. There is no room for negativity. Positivity only.”
Clean living, early to bed and good vibes: the void may not be so dangerous for Fury any longer.