Final Klitschko-Fury media conference passes without incident
The final press conference ahead of RING heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s showdown against Englishman Tyson Fury in Dusseldorf, Germany this Saturday, was all smiles and friendly handshakes.
In stark contrast to the pair’s previous encounters in front of the world’s media, the Tuesday lunchtime affair was notable for the cordial, courteous exchanges between IBF, WBO and WBA titleholder Klitschko and unbeaten challenger Fury.
No Batman and Robin antics. No swipes about being mentally ill. Indeed, the only time proceedings threatened to overheat was when Klitschko’s German manager Bernd Boente became embroiled in a war of words with British counterpart Mick Hennessy over the gloves to be used on fight night.
Even then Fury played the peacemaker role, quickly jumping in to diffuse the row by joking they should resolve the issue ‘outside, bare-knuckled!’
A little earlier the 6-foot-9 Manchester star, 27, had caused some surprise by conceding he has pre-fight nerves like never before. However, half an hour later, away from the top table and in a one-on-one interview with Sky Sports News HQ, he was saying the reverse.
“I was joking about being nervous. It was a joke to make him feel good,” said Fury (24-0, 18 knockouts). “I don’t like I feel I’m in a fight when I’m standing with him face-to-face, let alone sitting in the same room with him. I won’t feel like I’m in a fight till he’s actually throwing punches at me.
“That’s just who I am. I’m not one-bit nervous, I’m not anxious and I’m not excited. It’s just like another day at the office for me. I don’t know why. That’s just the way it is.”
As for the clean-mouthed, cool, calm and considered approach to his all-conquering opponent during the main press conference, Fury had a simple explanation.
“I don’t want to frighten him off this close to the fight,” said THE RING’s No. 3-ranked heavyweight. “We have all the team over here; we have a lot of family and friends over. So with it this close to the fight, I don’t want to frighten him off and for him to be falling over in the shower or anything. I’m just keeping it nice and conservative.”
Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs), whose deadpan, poker-face expression remained constant throughout, is refusing to discount Fury launching another madcap prank before their eagerly-anticipated showdown, reminding everyone there are further windows of opportunity.
“It’s the calm before the storm and we have another two events – an open workout and the weigh-in on Friday – before the actual fight, which is the cherry on the cake,” he said.
“It’s a good sign if (Fury) is nervous. It shows he is focused and ready for the challenge. He may say things, like I am old, but the reality is now starting to come to him – and especially that’s going to happen this Saturday.
“I am nervous too. I am very nervous before every fight. I know what to expect but on the mental side, to be nervous means to be alert. So it’s a positive. I am calm and I am waiting for my chance on Saturday night. Then I will be far more action; I promise.
“You better ask him how he really feels. He seems very motivated. He is goofy as always but this is the chance of his life to fight for all the titles. It’s not about how much is said or some other nonsense that could happen before the fight.
“It’s going to be fought in the ring and that’s what actually counts. I am sure the fight itself will be far more entertaining than the press conference.”
Let’s hope so!
Follow Harry Pratt on Twitter @gharrypratt