Return of the Manc: Tyson Fury presser report
Paul Zanon reports from today's press conference to announce Tyson Fury's comeback bout on 9 June, and finds the heavyweight to be fighting fit physically and verbally...
When you receive an email from Frank Warren’s media team at 6pm, telling you there will be a BIG media announcement in 18 hours' time, you listen.
And in all fairness – it was big. 6'9" big.
After the standard hour of waiting for big name fighters, the large contingent of photographers, journalists and television crews were escorted into a room which had a table at the top end. Sat behind it was none other than Tyson Fury, flanked by promoter Frank Warren and presenter John Rawling.
The sign behind the table simply read: “HE’S BACK!”
Having signed a multi-fight deal with Warren, Fury is scheduled to kickstart his comeback with a contest on 9 June at the Manchester Arena, against an unconfirmed opponent as yet. The undercard will be revealed very soon, which will include a world title bout.
If you have any doubts as to what condition he’ll enter the ring at, physically, then let me reassure you that Fury looked in cracking shape. A mere shadow of his former self from last summer. According to the 29-year-old, without wishing to disclose his current weight, he’s around a stone off his fighting weight… but, nonetheless, ready to jump into a ring right now and fight 12 full championship rounds.
How much the two years and seven months of inactivity will affect his ring rust status remains to be seen. Warren, cautious to throw Fury into Joshua’s or Wilder’s dens just yet intends for the Manchester favourite to have around three or four contests first, before putting him in a position to challenge for a world title belt again.
As the promoter stated: “That will be done when he’s 100 per cent ready, mentally and physically to do so. A lot of people think he can do that right now, but I want him to be concrete, I want him to be at his best.”
Warren’s plan is one Fury is content to follow. But be under no illusions, Fury's targets are the current belt holders, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Fury discussed his intentions, starting with Joshua. “Like I’ve described him many times, he’s a big old dosser. Belt carrier for me. By the time I get ready to fight, it’s going to be an easy fight. No contest. He’s looking for one punch all night. We all saw the [Joseph] Parker fight. Anybody who can move a little bit, throw a few feints, he struggles.
“I’ll outbox him for a few rounds and then knock him out. He’s not the hardest man in the world to hit. He ain’t the biggest man in the world. He’s a lot smaller than I am. I don’t believe he holds the best shot either.”
Moving swiftly on to the WBC world heavyweight champion, Fury discussed the merits of the Bronze Bomber. “At the minute, I think Deontay Wilder’s on top of the tree. The reason being he’s dangerous until the last two seconds of the fight. As we saw against [Luis] Oritz. He loses the fight all the way through, then only needs to land one punch. And, unlike AJ, he has the agility and speed. But again, he’s a bit weak around the old whiskers and he ain’t the best boxer in the world. They’re all very vulnerable and very beatable too.”
However, it seems the toughest opponent for Fury is neither Joshua or Wilder, but something far more poignant, as he explained to a captive media audience: “This isn’t just a fight for Tyson Fury and Frank Warren. This is a fight for depression; for mental health problems.
“It’s been no secret, it’s been well publicised – I’ve been as low as any man can go and as high as any man can go. You can always overcome all these problems one may have and I think people can relate to that. When they see me fight again, coming back from the brink of no return and getting back to the top of the world, that’s going to be a statement for mental health itself. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
Albert Einstein once said, “The only difference between a genius and insanity, is that insanity has no limits.”
Fury has often referred to himself as having a ‘screw loose.’ That blurred ‘insanity/genius,’ boundary, combined with the confidence he exuded at the presser, tells us Fury is genuinely back.
How far his strength of mind will take him in the ring and whether it will overcome lingering ring rust remains to be seen, but the version of Fury we wanted to see at a presser turned up.
The heavyweight division has just had extra spice thrown into the cauldron.