'You’re talking to a King!' Fury, Schwarz and Arum Q&A
Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Paul Zanon joins other members of the world's boxing media to quiz Tyson Fury, Tom Schwarz and Bob Arum ahead of Saturday's lineal heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas...
This Saturday lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury makes his first ring appearance since the controversial barn-burning draw against Deontay Wilder last December.
With his showdown with Tom Schwarz fast approaching, boxing media from around the world huddled around their phones this evening to participate in a Q&A with Bob Arum, the Gypsy King and his fearless German opponent.
Boxing Monthly was on hand to pick out some of the finer points of the hour long conference call.
First up on the microphone, with assistance from his able translator, was the German man mountain, Schwarz. Here’s how he responded [via his translator] to being picked to fight Fury.
“He’s a fighter with a big heart, good skills and he’s the best opponent for Fury," the translator stated, using the third person to summarise Schwarz's thoughts. "He’s the guy who will beat Tyson Fury on Saturday.”
With the recent underdog upset between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua, how much inspiration does Schwarz take from that performance? “It’s a great motivation to show he can defeat the best in the world. Andy Ruiz has a big heart and big balls. He’s a great motivation to win.”
I guess the big difference is that Ruiz Jr had fought at world level before, challenging Joseph Parker for his WBO world heavyweight title, while Schwarz's most recognisable opponent thus far was probably Senad Gashi. On Saturday we will discover whether he's the real deal.
Schwarz then came off the line and after a brief interlude Bob Arum and Tyson Fury joined the group.
First up was the Hall of Fame promoter, with his take on why exactly Schwarz was chosen with such an abundance of higher ranked opponents out there at present. “We looked at the rankings and we saw that virtually all the organisations had Schwarz as a top five guy. He’s an undefeated fighter, popular in Germany, 24 wins, no defeats. We felt he was the best possible opponent for Tyson Fury.”
Did the Ruiz upset highlight that anything can happen in boxing? Arum responded with conviction. “I didn’t need Ruiz's upset win to remind me that anything can happen in boxing! Wilder doesn’t have an easy fight with [Luis] Ortiz [in their rematch]. Ortiz gave him hell the first time they fought. Anything can happen in heavyweight boxing.
“If both guys go through [Fury and Wilder] and Tyson fights Wilder early next year, because of the controversial result in the first fight, clearly there would be a market and a demand for a third fight.”
Arum clarified one thing though. “He [Fury] is not looking past this fight. Tyson’s a very intelligent fighter and he realises, in boxing, anything can happen.”
Should the unthinkable happen, Arum also has the contractual safety net ready. “We have a rematch clause because, you know, this is a dangerous fight. This guy has never lost.”
The Gypsy King then took over the show and went straight on to his thoughts of Schwarz and his knowledge of him. “I’ll break his jaw and smack his ribs in! I’m gonna give him a black eye, big lip and he might lose a few teeth, who knows. Do you think I need to look at videos of boxers? You’re talking to a King! I’ll figure him out in the first five seconds of the fight. That’s what I do. I figure people out.”
Fury added shortly after. “Any fight the Gypsy King is involved in is a good fight. As you saw last week [Ruiz Jr v AJ], this is heavyweight boxing and Tom Schwarz knows, if he beats Tyson Fury, he’s set for life. He becomes a multi-millionaire, gets to headline big shows and all his dreams come true.
"Am I going to underestimate a guy like that? I don’t think so. But I have made a nice habit of eating nice German beef over the years. From world champions to European champions, to undefeated men, to undefeated prospects and I’ve always kicked their arse. Every single time.”
On the subject of eating, Fury looks in the shape of his life. Six months have elapsed since the Wilder fight and his weight hasn’t strayed. A stark contrast to the previous version of himself.
Is this down his mental health being in the right place? “Yeah. I have my days and moments. I’m in and out of depression all the time, but you’ve got to learn to maintain. The word we’re looking for today is maintain.”
After beating Wladimir Klitschko in his backyard and putting the only blemish on Wilder’s record, how does Fury get motivated to now jump in the ring with the virtually unknown Tom Schwarz?
“When you’re getting paid as much as I am, as Bob [Arum] will tell you, the motivation is easy. Very easy!”
A confident Arum added. “There will be more people, new subscribers for this fight, than bought the pay per view of the Tyson Fury/Wilder fight. I guarantee you that. There will be record numbers of people subscribing to ESPN+. I believe we’ll have 500,000 or more new subscribers.”
Arum continued. “We have great fighters on Top Rank/ESPN. [Terence] Crawford, [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, but Tyson Fury is something else. He has the ability to capture the imagination of not only boxing fans, but sports fans and also the public at large.”
So, how much is Fury looking forward to his Las Vegas debut?
“I’m really looking forward to putting on a good show and enjoying myself, because, isn’t that what’s it’s about? It’s about having life experiences and taking it as it comes.
"Hopefully the fans will enjoy it and I’ll enjoy it and everybody will enjoy it and we’ll all have a few drinks after and paint the town red.”