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Tyson Fury Media Conference Call Transcript

Bob Arum (Chairman, Top Rank): We can’t wait for fight night. The response from everybody from cable systems, satellite providers, digital platforms has been enormous. I want to thank especially ESPN and FOX for the magnificent way they have both stepped up to the plate to help us promote this fight. I want to also take this opportunity to thank my friends at PBC, who have worked so well with my staff at Top Rank to make this such a great event and of course giving kudos to the two fighters who have been amazing in the comments they have made about the fight to the press, respecting each other’s ability but confident in the fact that each of them believe that they will win. And I’m particularly impressed and very thankful for Tyson Fury, who has shown the world how you as a participant promote a big event like this heavyweight championship match. Tyson has done a marvelous job communicating to the press, and having watched him in the gym sparring, I’m telling everybody that he’s on the top of his game and you’re going to see a masterful performance from Tyson on Feb. 22.

 Tyson Fury (Lineal Heavyweight World Champion): First of all, God bless you, Bob Arum, for that excellent intro. Yeah, I’ve been training very, very hard for the last eight weeks in Las Vegas, and I was training four or five weeks before that back in the UK. I’ve never, ever, ever been as focused or as ready for one fight as I am for this fight. I have pulled out all the stops that anyone could ever pull out for a training camp. I’ve not left anything unturned. Every butt has been kicked. We are going to see the best Tyson Fury that Tyson Fury can be. Last time, I only had a couple of fights, well, six months actually, after three years out of the ring. This time, I’ve had well over a year of activity and I’m going to have five victories back to back. I beat him in our 12-round contest {at the end of 2018}. I’m match fit. I’m ready. I’m confident. Sparring has been going well. I’m injury-free. No excuses on my end. I’m ready for a war, one round or 12.
Q: My first question for you Tyson is, given that you have 12 rounds of experience against Deontay Wilder in your first fight from a couple years ago, I wonder what do you think the biggest adjustment is that you need to make in this particular matchup knowing that you already went 12 rounds with the guy before and you’ve seen what he has?
Fury: The biggest mistake I made last time was not making him pay when he was hurt. I didn’t know what I had in the tank last time. I’d never done 12 rounds {in my comeback}. It’s a long time. This time, I know I can do the distance and we’re not getting hurt. I’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink at him and he won’t know what hit him.
Q: What {did you see from him in the first fight} that you think you can exploit in the rematch?
Fury: I learned he can be hit, and he can be hurt quite regularly. That’s the biggest thing that I learned about Deontay Wilder. Nothing I didn’t already know. Before I fought him, obviously I didn’t know what he was like in a boxing ring, and after I fought him, I know what he’s like. And I think there’s nothing to worry about. He’s got a big right hand and that’s it. He’s a one-dimensional fighter, and I’m going to prove that on the 22nd of February.
Q: So, Tyson, do you think going into this match you’ll have more confidence because you went the 12 rounds. A lot of people thought you won. You outboxed him for a long stretch. You survived the knockdowns. Or is there a concern because you did get knocked down twice, particularly hard in the 12th round? Like, which one is it?
Fury: No, there’s no stress to me going into the fight. I’ve been 12 rounds, outboxed him quite comfortable, took his best shots, got up, fired back into him. The one who should be concerned is Deontay Wilder because, with him being a one-trick pony, he’s a knockout artist, but he knocked me down twice in two rounds, nine and 12. And he had over two minutes in each round to finish me and he couldn’t finish me. It was like on Mortal Kombat. They said, “Finish Him!,” and then couldn’t finish him. So yeah, he’s the one who should be concerned. He’s landed the two best punches that any heavyweight in the world could ever land on somebody else, and the Gypsy King rose like a Phoenix from the ashes back to my feet and hurt him in the end of the round. So yeah, it’s going to be pretty difficult for Wilder, not me. This is heavyweight boxing. I’ve been hit. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been put down in {my} career, but it’s not when we get put down. It’s what happens when we get back up and keep moving forward.
Q: Tyson, on a conference call a couple of days ago, Deontay Wilder’s trainer said that he felt that Deontay Wilder’s boxing ability and his ring IQ was underrated. I was just wondering how you would assess his…you know being the skillful boxer that you are, how would you assess his boxing ability and his ring IQ?
Fury: So he’s got a lot of experience. He’s got over 40 professional fights. If he doesn’t know about boxing now at 34 years old, he’s not going to know it. I thought his boxing IQ was okay, but it wasn’t up there with the likes of someone like Wladimir Klitschko. But he was decent. He’s always looking dangerous. He always looks imposing and dangerous, so you can never write somebody off like that. That’s for sure.
Q: Tyson, there’s been a lot of talk since you’ve fought him and he’s had two big knockouts and {people saying} that he’s arguably the biggest puncher in boxing history. Even Bob himself has said maybe that that’s true. I’m just wondering, having felt his power, what you think of it and how it maybe compares to Klitschko and other people that you’ve fought?
Fury: You know I’ve felt the power. Ain’t so bad. Ain’t so bad. He can’t be the biggest puncher in history because he couldn’t knock the Gypsy King out, could he? I took his best shot flush on the chin and I got back up. He punches hard, but I’ve never been hit by the likes of someone like Earnie Shavers. I didn’t get hit by George Foreman. I didn’t get hit by Rocky Marciano or any of those top guys. I didn’t get hit by them, so I can’t comment. So to say it’s the biggest punch in history, I’m not really sure because I didn’t get hit by all the guys in history. But, you know, I don’t think he punches harder than Wladimir Klitschko. Wladimir has a massive knockout punch and won a lot more fights than Wilder has. Make no mistake, all heavyweights punch hard and we can all knock anybody out. Wilder, I don’t think it’s so much his power. It’s the speed it lands at, which can be tricky when you don’t see it coming. But then again, even a guy who’s got no knockout ratio, if he hits you and you don’t see it coming, then he’s going to put you down. But as for feeling punches in fights, I’m not familiar with it because I don’t feel any punches when I’m in the ring because the adrenaline is flying high when you’re in a fight. You don’t feel the punches ever.
Q: Tyson, you said in both press conferences that you’re training for the knockout. You’re predicting a second-round knockout. The reaction of most people has been that you’re planting a mind trick or trying to sort of hide your strategy. How would you address the doubters who don’t believe that this is your intention?
Fury: Well, we won’t have to wait long to find out, will we? So it’s not very long to see if I’m bluffing or I’m telling the truth. This is boxing. Many people have done many things in the past, but we’ll see which man wants to back it up.
Q: If this is your intention, how much did the judging in the first fight against Wilder play in you wanting to alter your strategy like this?
Fury: It played a massive role because it made me uncomfortable. It made me do things I didn’t want to do, but when we’re taken out of our comfort zone and pressed and pressed and pressed, then we become better. So it was almost like a blessing in disguise I didn’t get the decision because I would’ve kept working on my boxing and just box, box, box, box. I believe I can outbox Deontay Wilder very, very comfortably, but the fact of the matter is I believe I outboxed him comfortable last time. But it’s no good me believing it. The judges have to believe it, and to guarantee a victory, I’ve got to get a knockout because I don’t want to leave anything unturned this time. I don’t want another controversial decision. I don’t want people to say, “Oh well he won. No, he won, whatever.” I want it to be a defining win either way. The books decided it. One judge had it at 114-112 or something, one had it 113-113 {and the other one had Wilder winning 115-111}. So I’m not sure what fight that judge was watching, but I’m not a judge and these guys see what they see. That’s their opinion. That’s what they get paid to do, so yeah, but in order to guarantee a victory, I think you’ve got to take it out of anybody’s hands. My own destiny lies in my own two fists.
Q: Tyson, given the terms of the contract and the potential for a third fight with the loser having the option of from what we’ve heard publicly, are you preparing your mind that you’re going to fight Wilder twice this year no matter what happens?
Fury: One fight at a time. I’m only nine days from the biggest fight of my life. So I’m not looking past that. I’m not looking at any other fights. Not one other fight in the world matters at the moment. I only concentrate on one fight at a time. Let’s get through this one. Then we’ll talk business about more fights.
Q: Hello, Gypsy King. Hello, Bob Arum. Question for Tyson Fury. Tyson, you’ve said that this time we’re not going to see the “herky-jerky”style and you’re going to be more offensive and really looking to take it to Deontay Wilder. I do wonder have you done things in camp, tweaked anything, so you will be showing more power? Are you turning your hips more or punching through the target? What are you doing in camp so this strategy will work on Feb. 22?
Fuy: Well, if I told you that, I’d give me full game plan away, wouldn’t I?
Q: Yeah. I don’t want the full game plan, maybe just 10%.
Fury: Well, let’s just say I’ve been sitting down in the pocket and letting them fly very aggressively and a high volume of them. Let’s just say that.
Q: Thank you Bob and Tyson for the time today. And Tyson, I just want to go back on what Brian said real quickly and you said this fight is the biggest fight of your life. What makes this fight bigger than the fight you had with Wladimir Klitschko?
Fury: This fight is the biggest fight of my life. As we know, Wladimir Klitschko is in the past. It’s history and this fight is active. So every fight that I have going forward is the biggest fight of my life.
Q: You brought in recently Jacob “Stitch” Duran to be your cutman. What was the decision behind bringing Stitch in?
Fury: The decision was I got a big cut in the last fight, 47 stitches across the top of the eye inside and out, and I’m going to need someone who’s the best at what they do. And Stitch is the best at what he does. So yeah, we’re not cutting any corners. That’s for sure.
Q: Do you wish you would’ve brought him in before the fight with Otto? Or was it just had a guy, you were set on him and you wanted to see what would happen?
Fury: Well, I don’t think it makes any difference who was in the corner unless there was a miracle worker in the corner, and there was a miracle making them not happen. Then yeah, it doesn’t matter who’s in the corner on that night.
Q: Hey Tyson. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Would you call the first Wilder fight the toughest of your career or would you say that you’ve been tested more than that one fight?
Fury: I wouldn’t say that was the toughest fight. I’d say that was one of my easiest fights, to be fair, and other than the two knockdowns, it was a pretty one-sided fight. Yeah, I’ve had much difficult fights than that before, much more harder than that. Deontay Wilder is not my toughest opponent. That’s for sure. My toughest opponent in my whole career was Steve Cunningham. He was a former cruiserweight champion that fought me in about 2013 in New York in Madison Square Garden and that was the toughest fight I ever had.
Q: A real quick question for you. You say you’re going to knock out Deontay Wilder. You didn’t do it in the first fight. Do you see something or do you see a weakness in Deontay that will make you exploit it and knock him out?
Fury: It’s not about Deontay Wilder does. It’s about what I do. I don’t think about the opponent. The opponent means nothing to me. I’ve got to concentrate on what I do, not what he does. It’s all about what I do on the night, not about what he does when he gets a knockout.
Q: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to all of us. I just have one simple question. When you realized that you needed to be more aggressive this time around to get a guaranteed win, was that what led you to training with SugarHill Steward more than perhaps another trainer that might be more defensive-minded?
Fury: Yeah. I had a good defensive coach, Ben Davison. We worked a lot on defense every single day for two years. It was defense, defense, defense. So I needed an aggressive trainer. I worked with SugarHill in the past. I knew he was a good guy. I knew we got along well, which is very important. Communication is key to any good relationship, and that’s what I brought him in, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, ever
Q: Thanks so much. Thanks Tyson for taking time to talk to us. Earlier in the call, you talked about the readiness in this fight compared to the first fight. Obviously, you had the very tough fight against Otto Wallin. Do you believe that that fight maybe perhaps prepared you for you to have to go into deep waters against Deontay Wilder this time around compared to your first two fights coming back right before the first fight against Deontay?
Fury: Going the distance in good fights, that really does sharpen your match fitness. I was happy that the last fight was a tough fight and it wasn’t just a {blowout} because it prepared me more for the Deontay Wilder Battle Royale. We both had two quick knockouts in the first two fights we had. He knocked out Dominic Breazeale in one round. I knocked out Tom Schwarz in two rounds. And then, in the second fight, I got a good 12 rounds in and he got a good seven rounds in. So we’re both coming into this fight, we’re match fit. We’re both coming very active into this next fight.
Q: Tyson, you mentioned a few minutes ago that the Steve Cunningham fight was the toughest of your career. I know you were down in that fight. Can you elaborate on what made that fight the toughest for you?
Fury: At that time in my life, I had never fought anybody like Steve Cunningham. He won the IBF title and defended it maybe seven times or something like that. He was the unified champion and it was my first step-up on to anybody with that type of ability. And he was slick and he was hard to hit. He was very awkward and he was a very good boxer. So that was the toughest fight of me life.
Q; Going into that fight, Steve was a smaller heavyweight. Did you underestimate him maybe going into that fight?
Fury: No, I never underestimated him. He was 6’3 and 210 pounds. He was probably taller than Evander Holyfield and bigger as well. So we say small heavyweight, but they’re really big heavyweights. Well, today the heavyweights have gone supersize. So yeah, it was a tough opponent. I didn’t underestimate him. He was a very good guy, very good boxer.
Q: Changing trainers is never easy but how much did it help, though, that you knew {SugarHill Steward} and didn’t have to get to know a new trainer entirely?
Fury: It was very helpful. We knew each other from the past, and it was helpful because we just gelled straight away. There was no getting use to each other and all that. We just went straight to work in an old-fashioned type manner.
Q; Would you have changed to a trainer that you weren’t familiar with or would you not have done that?
Fury: I wouldn’t have done it. No, because we only have eight weeks to prepare for the fight, and it takes a few weeks to get used to a new trainer and to gel. You never know what you’re getting with new trainers and all that bull, but the fact that we worked together in the past, we knew each other, we kept in touch and we spoke to each other over the years, it was really helpful. We just got straight down to work.
Q: Hey Bob. So my question is for you. I know Tyson said that he wanted to go for the knockout, but you know it has been several occasions where you’ve come out and said that Tyson is one of the best boxers you’ve ever seen. So does it kind of concern you when he comes out with a game plan like that wanting to knockout Wilder? So you know that kind of plays into his hands when you know he can pretty much outbox him for the full 12 rounds.
Arum: I have confidence in Tyson because there are guys who say they’re going to knock out their opponent, and it’s like a baseball player getting up to the plate and trying to hit a home run when anybody who knows baseball will say that the guy who looks to make contact has a better chance to hit a home run than the guy that’s swinging from his heels. So Tyson is a great boxer, but he has determination to knock out Wilder and he knows that he’s not going to force it and the knockout will come. And that, unlike the first fight, when he gets Wilder into trouble, and Wilder was in trouble at a couple of times in that fight. He’s not going to let him off the hook. He’s going to go for the knockout.
Q: So you have the big win against Wladimir Klitschko on your record. You’ve got some other good wins, Chisora, whatnot. A lot of people thought you won the first fight with Deontay. If you win this second fight, what do you think this does for the legacy of Tyson Fury, particularly because you have said that you don’t have very many more fights left after this?
Fury: I’m not really too concerned about the legacy. I’ve done what I’ve done, and when I’m finished with boxing, I don’t care about the legacy at all. The fact of the matter is I care about being active and I care about what’s happening now. So yeah, I think the Wilder fight cements me. Winning this fight cements me as the best of my era. No more to prove. Everyone else has been defeated, and there was only me and Deontay Wilder left after 12 years as professionals. It’s all on the line for this fight. I think it’s a massive must for me. It’s a massive must to win.
Q: I mean rarely do I hear boxers say that they literally don’t care about their legacy. I have to believe that after your long career that you don’t have some part of you that wants to be remembered in a really positive way for everything you’ve accomplished.
Fury: I’m not overly concerned about what happens when I’m done. When I’m done, it means I’m retired, and when I’m retired it means I’m onto other things and I’ll be in another chapter of my life. So we can only take one chapter of our lives at a time, and I’m just enjoying living in the moment right now. I’m living my dream, my childhood dream, my young adult dream and my midlife dream. And like I said, I really don’t care about legacy and that’s the fact of the matter because what somebody thinks of me when I’m finished is really unimportant because it’s all sticks and stones. Whether it’s good or bad, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And there will be somebody else to replace me just like everybody else, every other champion. Other young guys will come along and take my place and that’s how the food chain works.
Q: So, you heard Tyson say that he doesn’t care what people would say about it in terms of his legacy. You’ve been around for a long time and seen a lot of great heavyweights. What do you think Tyson Fury’s legacy would be with this victory?
Arum: Well, I think that everybody would have to recognize him as one of the great heavyweight champions of all time. I mean, you know it seems to me, and I’ve been through in my years in boxing, heavyweight champions that go back before most of you writers were born. I mean starting with Ali and Joe Frazier and Foreman and Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and now Joshua and Wilder. And when Tyson does what I expect him to do on Feb. 22, he definitely will belong with those immortals.
Q: Tyson, you said that you don’t really so much care what the other guy brings to the table. It’s what you’re able to do, but I feel like Wilder to me seems as confident as he’s ever been. I wonder do you assess him the same way. Or his mindset really doesn’t matter to you?
Fury: Yeah, his mindset is none of my concern. Every fighter I’ve ever fought, they have been confident they’re going to win because if they weren’t, they’d be in the wrong game, that’s for sure. As performing athletes, as champions, you always believe you’re going to win. So, it hasn’t affected me so far in my career that every opponent I’ve ever fought thought he was going to win and he didn’t. You know, it doesn’t matter what the opponent’s mindset is. It’s about what mindset I’ve got going into the fight and what game plan I execute in there, and that’s all it comes down to. Wilder can be the best Wilder he ever wants to be, but if my mindset is totally concrete on winning, then I’m going to win for sure. And it’s how much you want it and I believe I want this more than Deontay Wilder does. Deontay Wilder wants to be a famous guy. He wants to be an actor. He wants to be on TV. He is into all that lifestyle and all that. He’s what I’d call a social climber. He wants to be something he’s not. Me, I don’t care for all that stuff. I don’t care about being famous. I don’t care if somebody wants to shake hands and it’ll be on TV. None of that stuff means anything to me. The only thing that means anything to me is winning these fights. That’s it. Period. When the boxing is over, that’s it for me. There’s no more fame. There’re no movies because I won’t take any more steps to be an actor or to be a singer or to be something like that because it doesn’t interest me. I’m a purebred fighting man through and through, and when it’s over, it’s over. That’s it, but for now I’ll stick to it.
Q: One of the things that is a topic going into this particular fight is your weight and how comfortable you are coming into this fight in comparison to your first fight. How do you feel with your current weight going into this fight that’s coming up in nine days?
Fury: Yeah. I feel comfortable with the weight. I’m already there where I want to be. I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m not trying to put weight on. I’m a giant heavyweight. I’m eating clean, eating well and whatever weight I weigh in on the night is really unimportant. You’ve seen heavyweights come in at 200 pounds. You’ve seen them come in at 300 pounds. The heavyweight division has no limit, so it’s one of those things.
Q: Years ago, Emanuel Steward talked about you and Deontay Wilder being two of the top heavyweights coming up to this particular point. With you now training with SugarHill Steward, what does this mean to you to like pretty much come almost full circle from that particular point years ago with Emanuel Steward until now?
Fury: Fantastic, isn’t it? It’s very fitting that 12 years ago or 10 years ago Emanuel called all this and it has come back to reality and SugarHill is training me, his nephew. So it’s great that I actually have things like an influence of the Kronk Gym and Emanuel Steward in the corner.
Q: Hi Tyson. I’m probably one of the few English people to speak with you today. I know everybody is excited back home. Looking at the interview with John Fury and David Haye, John Fury said that we saw the best of Deontay Wilder. Would you agree with that?
Fury: Yeah. I think we’re seeing the best of Deontay Wilder. He’s 34 years old. I don’t think you get better after 34, do you? I think you hit a point in your career and that’s called the prime-year career, the pinnacle, and then after that pinnacle you slide down and that’s what happens. History tells our story, so Deontay Wilder is at the pinnacle of his career. The only place he can go now, he can either extend that pinnacle or he can slide down. So yeah, he’s not going to get any better. He’s at his best.
Q: Absolutely, and talking from a different perspective, especially here in the UK, you’re known as a real advocate of mental health. For all these people getting up off the ground in the 12th round of the last fight, you really showed that true bravery and that true Gypsy fighting spirit. What have you got to say to all the people out there in the UK and all around world who are struggling with mental health?
Fury: The best message I can give is you can do it. It’s never over until it’s over. Seek medical advice immediately and communication is the key to everything. If you don’t talk about things, you’re never going to get things right. Things will never come back to how they were unless you talk about them. Bottling mental health is one of the worst things anybody can do. I’ve been there. I’ve done it all myself, and I hid it away from a lot of people for a long time and I exploded and that’s what happens. If you want to get well again, you’ve got to seek medical advice and get a routine going in your life. You know, set short-term goals, targets and achievements. That’s what I did. I used changing of my medicine, and I used living a healthy lifestyle as the medicine to take.
Fury: I just want to say thank you for everyone taking your time today to interview me and get some questions in. I believe we went through quite a few things there and I announced as much as I could and a big shout-out to Bob Arum for being on the line and taking time out of his busy schedule. And don’t forget to tune in on ESPN+ and FOX PPV and BT Sport Feb. 22. It will be the most entertaining fight of the last 20 years. Be there or be square. Peace out!

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