Tyson Fury: ‘I’ll be switch-hitting, touching my foot and punching Sefer Seferi in the mouth’
The jury is still out on whether Tyson Fury can regain his prior form, never mind the heavyweight championship of the world, but one thing is indisputable – the colossal Englishman has not lost his gift of the gab or his trademark confidence.
On Saturday, Fury will enter a prize ring for the first time since he outpointed long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. There will be pressure. There will be expectations. There will be millions of pounds at stake. However, just entering the workplace will be a victory for the former champion because there were many who thought it couldn’t be done.
Following his career-best triumph, Fury (25-0, 18 knockouts) went on a startling and well-publicized decline. He pulled out of two rematch dates with Klitschko. He lost a selection of world title belts due to inactivity. He disclosed serious mental health issues. He tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He lost his boxing license. And, he gained approximately 100 pounds in weight.
Surely coming back from all that would be hell on earth?
“It was easy because I wanted to do it,” said a trimmed down Fury in an interview with THE RING. “I got back to the gym and proved all the critics, all the haters, all the naysayers wrong. I had a lot of motivation. When people tell me I can’t do something that’s when I get spurred on to give my best. I wasn’t supposed to beat Klitschko and what happened? When the odd are stacked against me, that’s when I deliver.
“I’ve rejuvenated my body and I needed that rest. I’ve been boxing all my life and that two-and-a-half years out has done me the world of good. I’m more passionate about the sport than I’ve ever been and I’m better than ever. I don’t recall feeling better than this in my whole life. My timing is bang on, my reflexes, everything is there – it’s like I’ve never left.”
That certainly sounds ominous for Fury’s next opponent.
At first glance, Sefer Seferi, a Switzerland-based Albanian, looks like a significant threat due to a 23-1 (21 KOs) record. However, the reality is altogether different. Mr. Seferi is 39 years old, he has campaigned almost exclusively at cruiserweight, and he’s been relatively inactive since a decision defeat to Manuel Charr in September 2016.
Seferi’s nickname is “The Real Deal”, but let’s be real. He’s not close to being on Fury’s level, he’s not supposed to be on Fury’s level, and he’ll be lucky to land a blow of consequence on a much bigger man who is light years ahead in terms of ability. If – or when – Fury wins, will he go after another opponent of similar value, and can he maintain his new-found motivation if he does?
“The great Joe Louis fought one bum every month – they actually called it ‘The Bum of the Month Club’,” Fury offered in response. “That’s what I’m on at the minute. I might have two bums a month. Who knows? If I win on June 9, then I might be back out three or four weeks later. This year, I have three fights penciled in for June, September and December, but I’m going to try and get an extra one in.
“Against Seferi, I’m just gonna focus on getting the rounds in and enjoy myself. I’ll take things nice and steady: dance, play around and show the world what they’ve been missing. I’ll be switch-hitting, touching my foot and punching Seferi in the mouth. I might even spin around and give him a spinning backfist.”
The “spinning backfist” comment was comedy gold and it’s almost impossible to get through a Fury interview without breaking into laughter. Ultimately, though, the plan is for this comeback to get serious.
Fury hopes to target Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, the only two men in the world in possession of heavyweight championship belts. Wilder is the WBC titleholder and both he and Fury have traded words in the past. Joshua is the unified IBF, WBA and WBO champion and an all-British collision with Fury would be a massive event. However, even if Fury sheds the ring rust and regains something resembling top form, making that fight could prove troublesome.
Joshua, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, is a pay-per-view superstar in the U.K. and one of the biggest attractions in world boxing. The 29-year-old Fury has recently signed a deal with BT Sport and is aligned with Hearn rival Frank Warren. The negotiations for such a showdown could potentially be more explosive than the fight itself.
“It’s not difficult to make these fights,” countered Fury with a touch of surprise in his voice. “Whoever has the most money will put on the fight. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition, is there? But these guys don’t want to fight me. Joshua doesn’t want to fight me and Wilder doesn’t want to fight me. And don’t worry about politics because I’ll fight Joshua for free.
“I’m a fighting man and I’m going to assassinate them – Joshua and Wilder – and any other bum who gets in my way. They’re all bums anyway. They can’t fight; it’s bum city. They can’t box, they can’t move, they can’t do nothing. They lift some weights and look for a big right hand – that’s it. They’ve got no defense, they’ve got nothing. What have they got to beat me with? A big right hand? Please! Dream on.”
Fury knows how long it takes to get to the top and how quickly one can fall off that lofty perch. The Manchester man with the traveler heritage has had a roller coaster career of incredible highs and unimaginable lows. And one senses there’s likely to be a few more twists in the tale before he’s through.
When I asked the former champion how people would remember him in 20 years, I expected him to pause and gather his thoughts. “As the greatest heavyweight of all times,” barked Fury without missing a beat. “I’ve only got to beat two bums and they’ll consider me as one of the greatest, won’t they? I’m feeling fantastic. I feel epic. I am the lineal heavyweight champion of the world and I’m gonna put on a show.”
So. . . have you missed him?
The fight will be broadcast live and exclusive on BT Sport in the U.K. On the undercard, Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker will contest the vacant WBO junior welterweight title.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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