The complex and multifaceted sides of Tyson Fury were again on display in London on Wednesday.
The WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion went from eloquently discussing the realities of suffering racism to saying Anthony Joshua “looked like a pumped up weightlifter out of his mind on drugs” and accusing the new IBF holder’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, of being a bitch, via the delights of getting drunk and smoking cigars with Lennox Lewis.
Yet it was Fury’s acknowledgment that Joshua is a force that struck a more sober and perhaps telling chord. “He’s got to be in the top 10,” said Fury. “I would probably rate him No1 actually – he’s certainly the No1 money-maker anyway. He’s a good fighter and he’s going to earn me a lot of money but just hold your horses and don’t bet your house on him winning against any top names.
“He will always beat the likes of Malik Scott, who is rumoured to be Joshua’s next opponent, and these European fighters but, if you make a mistake against the likes of Dr Steelhammer, Wladimir Klitschko, you’re on your back.”
Fury also revealed that Joshua’s victory over Charles Martin on Saturday had cost him £37,000. “I put a seven-strong accumulator on and they all won apart from Martin,” he said. “It was £1,000 pounds to win £37,000. But the way I see it I’ve lost a potential £37,000 but gained £5m. I hope Joshua fights another 20 times and knocks them all out – the more he can keep building, the more money I get when I fight him.”
Before then Fury has a rematch with Klitschko, which will take place at the MEN Arena in Manchester on 9 July, and he admitted he was taking nothing for granted. “I took his jab away and nullified him in the first fight but you don’t become a super champion and hold the belt for 10 years if you’re not good,” he said. “He can knock me out with a left or right hand, that’s for sure.”
When asked how his life had changed since he became world champion, Fury sounded almost sad when he replied: “Nothing really, I just get more racial abuse and discrimination – success equals hatred and jealousy.”
But he said he had come to accept it, given his Gypsy background. “I’m making money so I don’t really care. You are either loved or hated, it all equals pound coins in the bank. And I’m happy to play the pantomime villain as long as I get a big pay cheque with plenty of zeroes on it – happy days.
“After all a plastic belt with a bit of metal on isn’t going to make a lot, is it?” he said with a wry smile. “I’ve already got 15 at home. I just leave them in the corner of an office at home. I haven’t even hung them up.”
However, earlier, in front of the TV cameras, Fury was more belligerent, first calling Klitschko a “German prick” and making his jibe about Joshua’s appearance. Fury also criticised thousands who paid to watch Joshua, saying: “The British public is thrilled by bums. You are brainwashed by a pussy like Eddie Hearn.” Fury also claimed that, if he met Hearn, “he’d get slapped on the ear because that’s what real men do to bitches; they slap them”.
Meanwhile Fury’s father John sounded like a fire and brimstone preacher scalding an unrepentant sinner as he criticised the media for not paying his son enough respect. After a sustained attack on the fourth estate he added: “I urge the public to make Joshua fight my son because Eddie Hearn will never take it. If you think some novice can take on my son, he’s in dream land.”
Away from the thunder and spite Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, made a passionate and more considered defence of his man. “Tyson hasn’t changed at all since becoming world champion,” he said. “You see a lot of fighters turn into a monster and a prima donna to boot. But I knew that would never happen because Tyson has been genuine and honest all the way through.”
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