By: Sean Crose
“The only title that I care about,” says undefeated 27-0-1 heavyweight Tyson Fury, “is the lineal championship of the world. It goes back a long, long way, and that’s the one I’m defending with pride and honor.” These words come in the leadup to Fury’s fight on Saturday night against the also undefeated 24-0 Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas. Tyson was last seen in the ring back in December, when he famously rose from a thunderous knockdown from WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder.
“I think it was a higher power that brought me to my feet,” says Fury of getting up from the mat, “to spread the word on mental health and to help other people. I hope it inspired many people as I enjoyed getting up off that canvas and fighting on. And it takes more than a punch to knock me down and make me stay down.” Fury, of course, has made public his battles with mental illness, alcohol, and drug abuse since he came back from a near fatal depression to battle the feared Wilder to a draw.
As for the largely unknown Schwarz, the 25 year old German makes it clear he’s ready to shock the world, much as Andy Ruiz did by knocking Anthony Joshua off the top of the heavyweight perch several weeks ago. “I’m fighting for my family and my country,” says Schwarz. “I have a lot of inspiration. I’m ready to shock the world. This is a great time in the heavyweight division, and I am happy to be part of it. On Saturday night, it’s my time. I am prepared. Tyson Fury picked me for a reason, and I promise a great fight, a dramatic fight, and a memorable moment for all boxing fans.”
Schwarz also indicates that he and his team will be ready when the bell rings to face surprisingly slippery big man Fury. “My trainers and I have seen every fight of Tyson’s many times,” he says. “We’ve analyzed his style and have prepared our best strategy. I have a surprise for Tyson Fury, and he will see what it is on Saturday night.”
Yet Fury – who many see as the lineal heavyweight champ – nowadays gives the air of a man who might well take a defeat in stride. Not that he isn’t looking to win. He just simply takes a broader view of things than he once did. “I box because I like to keep happy and it keeps me happy to fight,” the thirty year old Englishman explains. “I plan to box until I can’t box anymore. I feel fantastic at the minute. Boxing keeps me really happy, and I’m very happy with where I am in my life at the minute. I want to box on. I don’t see myself retiring. I just turned 30 years old. I’ve got over 10 years left in this game, so you’ll have to keep seeing me for the next 10 years, I’m afraid. Keep entertaining, keep putting on great shows.”