Fury’s foul mouth will of­fend plenty but few will want to miss the Wilder show­down

Boxing News - - CONTENTS - Matt Christie @Mattcbox­ingnews Edi­tor

Why Wilder-fury is ir­re­sistable

THE un­ruf­flable Paul Dempsey was ruf­fled. As Tyson Fury and Deon­tay Wilder swore and scuf­fled around him, the bril­liant BT Sport an­chor looked like a pri­mary school teacher try­ing to keep his pupils calm on the last day of term. The two vol­canic heavy­weights, set to meet on De­cem­ber 1 in Los An­ge­les, erupted in tech­ni­colour with live lunchtime cam­eras upon them. “Thank good­ness we had gone off air for the last bit,” Dempsey said as he dusted him­self down fol­low­ing the fi­nal foul­mouthed ex­plo­sion.

There were some grum­bles about the for­mer world heavy­weight cham­pion’s lan­guage and be­hav­iour af­ter­wards, but Fury, it could be ar­gued, did his job per­fectly. Some said the pro­lific f-bombs, dropped all over the Lon­don press con­fer­ence, high­lighted a com­plete lack of re­spect. Or, at the very least, a con­cern­ing in­abil­ity to be­have. But for the vast ma­jor­ity (and this fight has been de­signed to ap­peal to those mass au­di­ences, don’t for­get) Fury eff­ing and blind­ing and push­ing and shov­ing was just the ticket.

“I picked Wilder be­cause he’s an easy touch,” Fury roared as many in at­ten­dance chuck­led. “I’m go­ing to f**k him up. He’s a lemon and I’m go­ing to squeeze him nice and hard.”

The three-day me­dia tour, which be­gan in Lon­don and will take fur­ther stops in New York and Los An­ge­les, will un­ques­tion­ably of­fend a few but, cru­cially, will en­ter­tain a whole lot more. This is the way to do it these days. Man­u­fac­ture a grudge and the buys come rolling in.

Pro­mot­ers might ar­gue those it of­fends are not the tar­get au­di­ence, any­way. Peo­ple who find it all ab­hor­rent are likely split into two camps: Hard­core box­ing fans who don’t need the pre-fight pan­tomimes to per­suade them to buy; and the anti-box­ing lot who sud­denly have more ammo to fire af­ter bad taste aplenty spewed from the mouths of the two heavy­weights.

Fury was not just sell­ing the fight, though. He was sell­ing his mad­ness to his op­po­nent, and the dan­ger that comes with it. He de­cided to in­vite Wilder to an im­promptu body spar on stage – “a lit­tle tickle” – be­fore be­rat­ing him in a man­ner the WBC cham­pion will not have ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. It was no sur­prise when the Amer­i­can force­fully pushed his tor­men­tor back­wards.

“Am I un­der Wilder’s skin?” Fury com­mented. “One-hun­dred per cent. He’s men­tally baf­fled at the moment. I’m liv­ing in his head rent-free.”

Wilder ac­cepted that Fury’s ‘I am crazy, watch out!’ rou­tine worked for him in the build-up to his 2015 vic­tory over Wladimir Kl­itschko. But Deon­tay also recog­nised that Fury will need sane heads to man­age his chaotic mind, namely Un­cle Peter, who has been re­placed as trainer by Ben Dav­i­son.

“We know that box­ing is more men­tal than phys­i­cal and for him to beat Kl­itschko, he had to get into his head,” he said. “When the fight came, it was self-ex­plana­tory.

“This is the time, the moment in our lives, this is ev­ery­thing. And when you don’t have that same trainer that you came up with, that voice that you know even when there are thou­sands of peo­ple in that crowd, you still hear that one spe­cial voice.”

Fury al­ways seems to teeter along that tightrope of self-con­trol. At some point it’s likely he will lose his bal­ance again. Whether that comes against Wilder or in a more pri­vate set­ting is any­one’s guess. Now, though, Fury needs this fight and this kind of chal­lenge to stay fo­cused. Should he de­feat Wilder, which is a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity, he de­serves all the credit in the world for play­ing an ab­so­lute blinder.

Both inside the ring and out, we just don’t know what we’re go­ing to get with Tyson Fury. Likely, he doesn’t know ei­ther. For sure Wilder doesn’t. It’s for ex­actly that rea­son Fury is the most fas­ci­nat­ing heavy­weight of his gen­er­a­tion. And this show­down with Wilder, whether you en­joy the manic build-up or not, is the most en­tic­ing at­trac­tion of the year.


CALM YOUR­SELVES: Dempsey has a tough time with Wilder and Fury at the Lon­don leg of the press tour


Cover pho­tog­ra­phy

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