Tyson Fury is gearing up for Saturday’s trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder, but the reigning WBC heavyweight titleholder and Ring Magazine champion took some time out to speak with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, getting in deep on the fight, what success means to him, his dedication to training and mental health, and the recent Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk fallout, too.
On how he’s feeling heading into the fight
“Couldn’t ask for any better. Training’s gone well. You know, the usual bullshit that fighters say. ‘Had a great camp, everything was great, I’m injury free.’ You know what we say.”
On how he’s felt after having COVID
“I’ve had it twice now, that’s the second time I’ve had COVID. It didn’t really hospitalize me, didn’t put me in bed, I just felt under the weather. I think I’ve had worse chest infections, but I suppose it does different things to different people.”
On Wilder calling him a cheater
“I’m gonna cheat again, because I’m gonna smash his face in. According to him, that’s cheating because he’s not supposed to lose. But unfortunately I’m going to cheat again. I’m going to kick his ass, Seabass.”
On Wilder saying Fury used loaded gloves
“Yeah, I did. I had horseshoes in there. You know I’m a gypsy, don’t ya? You ever watch ‘Peaky Blinders’? I loaded the gloves with horseshoes and dynamite. This time I’m going to do exactly the same. I’m going to put a bit more metal in there.”
On sounding so much like his father, John Fury
“It wasn’t always like this, this is not my original voice. If you go back and look at interviews ... right up until like 2016, I didn’t have this voice. One of my good friends, Ty Mitchell, we were sparring and he hit me in the throat real hard, and I developed a blood clot in me throat. It messed around with me vocal chords so this is why I talk like this now. So it sounds just like me dad, I’ve heard it, and I can even hear it meself. We’ve both got the husky voice. Some would say it’s quite sexy, I’ve been told!”
[On Tommy Fury not sounding like either of them] “Maybe I’ll have to punch him in the throat sooner or later, welcome him into the clan.”
On the Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury talks
“I know Tommy wants to fight, Jake wants to fight. It would make good sense for both guys. They should get it on probably this year. ... I feel like they was low-balling Tommy, but I think they’ve regrouped now and I’m sure they’ll get together and do what they’ve got to do, but to be honest with you, I don’t get involved in other peoples business. ... I stay in me own lane, I don’t get involved with other peoples business, I don’t care what anybody else is making or their personal business, because it’s none of my concern.”
On the perils of success, staying hungry and focused
“I’m not your Floyd Mayweather or your Conor McGregor or all them people who like to live some big, great lifestyle and inspire all of us. I know it’s great to inspire other people, but I like just to keep grounded and down to earth. I tell you what I like to do: I like to fuckin’ train me balls off every single day, knowing that nobody else is doing it. I like running early in the morning and late at night. I like putting the work in. Even though I’m dressing in silk pajamas. I don’t have to go out like the old fighters say, ‘It’s easy to get up when you’re broke but when you’ve got money in your silk pajamas, you don’t want to get out of bed.’
“I just do more than I’ve ever done. I sacrifice more today than I did when I was absolutely starting off with nothing, from the bottom. And I don’t know even how that’s possible. I’m tighter today now I’ve made it than I ever was coming up. I’m stricter, more dedicated, train more, smarter, trainer smarter.
“Before it was, like, it’s this dream job to be heavyweight champion of the world, all the shit that comes with it. But when you get there to the top, you find out that the only thing that matters is your training, your boxing, your fights. All the other bullshit that comes along with it — the fame, the glory, the credit, the articles, the money, whatever you can buy with the money — it’s all short-lived crap.
“At the end of the day, you’re only as good as your last tenner, and that’s all she wrote. And when it’s all over, no motherfucker wants to know. You’re just another prick with money and that’s all you’ll ever be. Another bare bum in the shower. Everybody loves a winner, but no motherfucker loves a loser, and they all jump off the dick when he’s lost. Look at AJ, he had everybody on his dick. He’s had two defeats and now nobody’s on it. Everybody loves a winner! Deontay Wilder was some sort of folk hero, now he’s just a big dosser. You’re only as good as your last fight, that’s a fact. No matter how many fights you win in your life, you’re only remembered for your final loss.”
On what success means to Tyson Fury
“I’ve always had this type of attitude, but before, coming up, you want to buy things, you want to be successful, or the cliche of what is successful. The world has different (ideas) of what success is. Success, to me, is waking up in a good mood, having a good day surrounded by people you want to be surrounded by — kids, family, that sort of success. It’s not measured on how much money you’ve got or what business ventures you’re into. Success for me is being happy in your home and with your wife and your kids or your partner or whoever you’ve got. That’s success to me.
“But I suppose it’s easy for me to say that, ‘It’s not all about that,’ because I’ve made a lot of money in me life. I’ve worked hard for it. God knows I have, it’s blood money. Look at me face, it’s smashed to bits. There’s a doctor who comes here who believes I’ve had me nose broken 18 times, it’s that crooked. It’s hard-earned. I’m 33 and I’ve dedicated me full life to this. I had no youth life. I had no teenage life. I had no young adult life, because while all my friends and people who I knew were out drinking and partying and enjoying life, I was out running fucking 10 mile down the road in the rain or killing meself in a boxing gym.
“And them people say to me, ‘You’re lucky, you’re a lucky man, you are.’ I’m lucky because I fuckin’ worked all the hours God gave me. I’m lucky because I pushed it further than everybody else would dare to do. I’m lucky because I fuckin’ trained so hard that I can’t be beaten. That’s a lucky man? I don’t think so. I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.
“I’m blessed to have that determination, that drive. And it’s not for success, it’s just to be happy today, tomorrow, and the next day. But most important just be happy today, because tomorrow ain’t promised to nobody. Tomorrow is no certain gift at all. But today we have. Tomorrow, we could wake up and get a call saying someone’s died or you’ve got cancer or whatever. This is a regular occurrence. So every day you wake up and you open your eyes and you breathe fresh air, and no one’s died and you’ve not got cancer, you’ve not got some bad disease, they’re you’re a blessed person. That’s a good day. And if you’re fortunate enough to go out for a run and do a bit of training, well, you are one of the few chosen people.”
On his mental health advocacy and issues
“Over the last few months I’ve been very stable. You always drift in and out of sanity, I believe. If you’re a mental health struggler, then you’re always struggling with reality and your own world inside your head. Most days, I’ve learned to manage and maintain the problem. The way I do it is I keep active, I keep busy, and I keep focused on training. All the time I’m training and at the gym, I’m letting out all that energy, letting out that bit of steam, I feel good. If I don’t do it for a week or so, I feel terrible. Everyone says to me, ‘You never have no time off, you’re going to over-train!’ I can’t afford to have time off, because it’s not me body I’m training, it’s me mind.
“If I take too much time off, I go backwards. Not in physical strength but mental strength. Training’s like my place of solitude, me happy place that I need. I need to go there every single day in me life, mostly twice a day, because once I train in the morning, it gets to around 7 o’clock and it starts wearing off, I need to go again. People say to me, ‘What are you going to do when you can’t train anymore?’ I’m planning on training until the day I die.”
On Anthony Joshua’s loss to Oleksandr Usyk impacting Fury plans
“It was a little bit of an anticlimax, to be honest, because I’ve seen it happen time and time again with all these big rivalries, it never ends up happening. But I can only concentrate on my end of the deal, and I’ve got a much harder task in my opinion than Joshua had. Joshua was messing with some cruiserweight who was gonna beat him on points if he lost. I’m messing with a man who can end you any time of the day, any time of the round, with either hand. My task is much more dangerous, but I’m much more capable, so I welcome it.
“It was a disappointment to me to see that Joshua lost his fight. But you’ve got to give all credit to the other guy, because it was a great game plan, he executed it perfectly. A guy coming up from a lower division and (winning a heavyweight title), it’s a rarity. ... He did what he had to do. The much bigger guy, stronger, muscular, all the things people look for aesthetically. But (Usyk) managed to upset the odds and that’s his business, congratulations.”
“This is what happens when you look ahead to bigger fights. Joshua was probably looking at Usyk and looking ahead to Tyson Fury. I won’t look at Deontay Wilder and think of Anthony Joshua, and even if he would have won, I wouldn’t have. I know every opponent is dangerous, especially at this level. I could pick a bum out and he’d fight the best he’s ever fought, because it’s his opportunity to change his life.
“With Wilder, he’s got a lot to prove. He’s got a lot of demons of his own, a lot of admittance to do, a lot of things he’s got to accept in his life before he can even move on from it. But he’ll be dangerous while it lasts, that’s for sure.”
On what he makes of Deontay Wilder’s behavior since their second fight
“We’ve boxed 19 rounds, and he’s practically won two rounds out of 19. I’m not too bothered about him, but you’ve got to respect everyone that gets in the ring with a pair of boxing gloves on. ... Every man’s trained and they’re coming to win. With Wilder, in my opinion, he’s coming out with all this stuff, I must have some power, mustn’t I? Because I’ve even got (Mark Breland) on my side! Not to mention Jay Deas, he’s on my payroll, too ... because he was in the changing room while I was getting me gloves on, the whole time. So he must have helped me and Wilder’s in denial about that. But let me just put that out there, as well.
“You’ve got all this stuff. Whether he believes it or not is another thing, but he has to try and sell the fight somehow. He has to try and make a reason he can win. He clearly couldn’t do it with (boxing reasons), so he has to make other reasons his own self. ... If he went into this fight saying, ‘You know what, I got absolutely annihilated the second time and it’s probably going to happen to me again,’ then his mental attitude would be that of a loss straight away. But if he’s convinced himself that maybe some skullduggery has gone on, then maybe in his own mind, he has got a better chance.
“Acceptance is a hard thing, nobody wants to accept the truth. When I was an alcoholic, I didn’t want to be told I was an alcoholic. Didn’t want to be told I’m a fat bastard. I was just happy being that. ... It’s almost like this little game in your own head, where you don’t want to know the truth, even though you do know the truth. I always knew I was a fat bastard, I knew I was addicted to alcohol, but I didn’t want it pushed in me face. The moment that I accepted that I had to change and get help and stop what I was doing, that’s the moment I could step away from it all and start again. But what I’m hearing from this idiot, he hasn’t accepted what’s happened to him, so therefore, without accepting defeat, you can never regain, you can never go on from that. You’re still dwelling on the past.”
On whether he’s had to motivate himself to fight Wilder again
“I’m motivated to fight anybody they put in front of me, whether I’ve beat the guy 10 times or not. I’ll always be motivated because it’s a fight and it’s what I do. I’m not interested in anything else apart from boxing. That’s what I do, it’s me job, and I love it. Some people love their job, some people hate their job, and I’m definitely a person who loves their job. That’s it. I get motivated and fight anybody that’s there, and I’m really motivated to go in there after so long (off) and have a fight. It’s been nearly two years.
“I’m looking to let off some steam and get a good fight in, and I’m hoping Deontay Wilder brings a good game, makes me think, makes me work hard for me victory. But if not, I’ll totally steamroll him, and that’s just how it’s going to go. I think he’s improved as a fighter, maybe, but if he hasn’t improved, I’m up 40 or 50 percent from what I was (before). I’m expecting an improvement (from him), and if he hasn’t improved, then it should be a really easy night.”
On fighting in the United Kingdom again
“I’m home. Las Vegas is the home of ‘The Gypsy King.’ I love fighting here. I’ve had me last five fights now in America. I love it here. I am home. I’m at the capital of entertainment in the world, and it’s where I was born to be, right here in Las Vegas, where it’s all happening, where all the big fights go down.
“You can fight around the world in a big stadium, with so many thousand people, but nothing will ever compare to the lights of Las Vegas. ... Nothing can ever come close to the capital city of entertainment. Where do all the big stars wanna play? Las Vegas, the home of ‘The Gypsy King.’”