Fury and Wilder crank up hype in Lon­don

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

“MY WIFE pushes harder than that, you lit­tle bitch”.

It was not ex­actly akin to Muham­mad Ali pro­claim­ing “float like a but­ter­fly sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see”.

But the way Bri­tish heavy­weight Tyson Fury re­sponded to be­ing shoved by Deon­tay Wilder af­ter goad­ing the World Box­ing Coun­cil cham­pion dur­ing a pre-fight news con­fer­ence in Lon­don on Mon­day, was fa­mil­iar enough.

So too the sight of both box­ers squar­ing up, while a much shorter man – in this case vet­eran pro­moter Frank War­ren – tried to keep them apart while mut­ter­ing “save it for De­cem­ber 1”, the date of Wilder and Fury’s fight at Los An­ge­les’ Sta­ples Cen­ter.

Al­most on cue, two se­cu­rity men made a to­ken in­ter­ven­tion as Fury and Wilder avoided com­ing to blows. If it was good “theatre” for the watch­ing tele- vi­sion au­di­ence, there was cer­tainly noth­ing new about the script.

And yet see­ing the 6ft 9in Fury con­front the 6ft 7in Wilder was to be re­minded of the raw ap­peal of many a heavy­weight con­test – two colos­sal men each with the abil­ity to in­flict huge dam­age upon one an­other.

It was in sharp con­trast to the mu­tual re­spect shown by Bri­tain’s reign­ing world heavy­weight cham­pion An­thony Joshua and Alexan­der Povetkin ahead of their re­cent bout at Wem­b­ley which ended with the Rus­sian suf­fer­ing a bru­tal sev­enth-round stop­page de­feat.

The game Povetkin was out­matched phys­i­cally, giv­ing away more than two stone in weight and sev­eral inches in height.

Fury is the for­mer In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion, World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion cham­pion – belts now held by Joshua.

The 30-year-old Fury re­mains un­de­feated in 27 fights and still re­gards him­self as the “lin­eal cham­pion” be­cause he never lost his ti­tles in the ring but rather, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, dur­ing a two-and-a-half-year ab­sence fol­low­ing his shock win over for­mer cham­pi­onWladimir Kl­itschko in Novem­ber 2015.

Fury, who strug­gled with men­tal health is­sues, re­turned with a far­ci­cal stop­page of Se­fer Se­feri in Manch­ester in June be­fore beat­ing Francesco Pianeta in Au­gust.

‘Can’t get in my head’

Wilder has 39 knock­outs in 40 fights and, amid all the jibes, Fury said: “I think it’s go­ing to be quite hard be­cause he’s a unique fighter. There’s not go­ing to be too many peo­ple like Deon­tay Wilder about.

“But then again he’s got the same prob­lem with me,” he added, be­fore the old rou­tine resur­faced. “I see a man, a skinny lit­tle man with two spa- ghetti arms and two spaghetti legs and when I bang him on the chin he’s go­ing to do a lit­tle spaghetti dance.”

But an unim­pressed Wilder said: “He thinks that by talk­ing like he did with Kl­itschko, and get­ting in­side his head, it’s go­ing to be the same thing, but I’m a dif­fer­ent per­son.

“You can’t do that with me.”

Joshua’s man­age­ment have al­ready an­nounced his next fight will be at Wem­b­ley on April 13. They want him to face Wilder, as a uni­fi­ca­tion bout would be a huge money-spin­ner.

That de­pends, how­ever, on Wilder beat­ing Fury, with the Amer­i­can’s con­tract likely to con­tain a re­match clause in the event of a de­feat.

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