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Tyson Fury on Dillian Whyte, retirement talk, Usyk and Joshua, Ngannou, WWE, more

Tyson Fury continues to say Dillian Whyte will be his last fight — maybe, kinda — and talks

Tyson Fury continues to say Dillian Whyte will be his last fight — maybe, kinda
Tyson Fury continues to say Dillian Whyte will be his last fight — maybe, kinda
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Tyson Fury is gearing up for his April 23 return against Dillian Whyte, which he continues to say will be his retirement fight — kinda, sorta, maybe, depending on some other possible factors, not the least of which this is boxing and people are always talking about retirement when they don’t.

Fury sat down with Ariel Helwani for The MMA Hour and talked about the fight with Whyte, the retirement chatter, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Francis Ngannou, and more.

On selling out Wembley Stadium

“I found out (Dillian Whyte) wasn’t going to show up (to the press conference) the night before. He didn’t show up, but single-handedly, I sold out Wembley. 100,000 tickets today, sellout, baby, gone! One day! Single-handedly, on my own! ... The full stadium has gone. Sold out. Gone. Zero tickets available. It’s all gone (in a few hours). Completely sold out.”

On whether or not that surprised him: “Hell no! You’re talking to the biggest combat sports star in the world! I’m the most loved, I’m the best looking, with the best beard!”

On Dillian Whyte not showing up to the presser

“He’s scared of the ‘Gypsy King,’ and he knows I would have probably removed his teeth for him. He can’t come to the press conference like me. He can’t talk, for one, he has no comebacks, for two, and he would have got his ass handed to him, for three.”

On whether he thinks Eddie Hearn told Whyte not to attend

“Yes. Eddie Hearn the bitch, I’m going to call him. Eddie Hearn the bitch told him not to come, which is bad advice, because in time to come, he will regret this, not turning up (to promote) the biggest British fight in history. Sellout, sold out Wembley Stadium quicker than everybody ever. We’re going to break all pay-per-view records in the UK with this fight, that’s a guarantee. And he’s no part of it. He hasn’t sold it, he hasn’t done anything. It’s all me. I’m a one-man band, I’m a one-man army!”

On how the fight will do on PPV

“I think it does two million pay-per-views in the UK. ... Maybe half a million (in the US) for that time of the day.”

[Editor’s Note, for conversation’s sake: The record for boxing PPV buys in the United Kingdom is Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker in 2018 with a reported 1.832 million buys. Fury’s high mark in the UK was 545,000 for his 2015 win over Wladimir Klitschko, but Fury’s biggest fights since have taken place in the US, with main events starting on UK PPV at around 5 am on a Sunday usually.]

On why he thinks Hearn would advise Whyte not to show up

“Eddie don’t want do any advertising for the show, because Dillian Whyte can’t make another one cent. So it doesn’t benefit him money-wise, but it does benefit him for his own legacy. It’s not just about money at this level. It’s about being involved in these big events, being on the world’s biggest stage. The homecoming of the ‘Gypsy King,’ and he gets to be a part of it! He’s a lucky guy!

“He’s getting 32 times his biggest payday. I know his biggest payday, his last fight against Povetkin, he’s making 32 times more than that fighting me. On the world’s biggest stage, sellout crowd. He should have been involved, he wasn’t. Not the be-all, end-all of everything. I don’t really care because it’s not my legacy. ... I didn’t really need him there anyway, because no matter who the opponent is, they only say two or three words anyway. It’s usually me who does all the talking and all the selling. People ain’t coming to see Dillian Whyte, they’re coming to see the ‘Gypsy King’ return to the UK.”

On having any concerns Whyte might bail on the fight

“No concern, because he’s getting too much money. He can’t make half of it fighting anybody else, and he gets a shot at the world title. And obviously ‘everybody’s been avoiding him’ all these years. Me and Deontay, we’re scared of this bitch!”

On Whyte not doing more for his payday

“He should be kissing my feet, massaging them with oil. He should be thanking me for this life-changing amount of money, it’s generational wealth for his family if he invests it correctly. But he’s upset about it. I’ll give him something to be upset about. You’re going to see a very, very mean, determined, heavy, giant bear motherfucker, destroyer, and I’m going to cut Dillian Whyte down like a hot knife through butter.”

On saying this will be his last fight

“This is the final countdown of the ‘Gypsy King.’ Hollywood awaits! This is my retirement fight. 100,00 people at Wembley, all-British title fight, return of the mack after four years. This is it, going out on a high, retiring on top. Two-time world heavyweight champion, and I’ll have made eight defenses of the lineal title. Never lose a fight, to go down as only the second heavyweight in history to ever retire unbeaten, me and Rocky Marciano. Does it get any better than that? The lineal heavyweight champion of the world!”

“I already have a lot of money! This will notch me up to $150 million clear cut in the bank. Do I need any more money than that? Am I going to spend that money? I don’t think so. Am I stupid? I don’t think so. Do I waste money? Hell no! I could live on 10 percent of that the rest of my life. Not a problem. To give these other guys an opportunity in taking everything I’ve ever worked for, to enhance my career for some more money, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“It’s done. This is the final countdown. You can never say never, you know — if I’m away for five or 10 years, and I know I can come back at any time and retire all the bums out there, then I’ll do it if the money’s right. But until that moment, I’ll be getting a tan, and that’s it.”

On Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua not being worth fighting

“Nah, they’re bums. They’ve done nothing apart from one’s come up from cruiserweight and beat a bodybuilder, and the bodybuilder cost us all a ton of money! I was going to fill his stiff ass full of punches, me! Now he’s lost, he’s been knocked out, and he’s been beaten twice, and if he fights Usyk again he’ll be beaten again. And it doesn’t even look like Usyk and him’s gonna fight any time soon because of the conflict that’s going on (in Ukraine). ... I’ve got bigger fish to fry than boxing. I’ve got a wife, I’ve got six kids. I’ve got a lot of things I want to achieve in life and I need my faculties to do that. I need to be able to talk when I’m doing all these movies and TV shows and everything.”

On whether still wants to fight Francis Ngannou

“Oh, yeah. I don’t class that as a real boxing fight. That’s going to be a ‘special’ fight. That will be in a cage in four oz gloves in Las Vegas at the Raiders stadium. ... I hear he’s in a bit of trouble and he’s got a bit of beef with the UFC.”

On Ngannou making $650K in his last fight: “I’m appreciative of every purse I’ve ever had. It hasn’t always been (huge money) for me. ... I’ve boxed for $2,000 before. I boxed Steve Cunningham in a world title eliminator atop [The Theater at] Madison Square Garden and I made $10,000. I know what it’s like to make fuck all for fights. I’ve been there plenty of times. You can never look at what the next man’s making. I can’t look at Donald Trump and say, ‘Oh, that guy’s making hundreds of millions, I want that.’ I can only make what I’m capable of making and I’ve got to be happy with that. My father always told me, one pound of my own is worth 50 of somebody else’s, because I worked for it. If he’s getting $650,000 that he’s worked hard for, then fair play, own it. That’s his money, cold hard cash in his pocket. He can’t look at what somebody else is making, he can’t look at what Conor McGregor is making or the ‘Gypsy King’ or anybody else, Floyd Mayweather. He’s got to be happy with what he’s doing. His time will come to make some good money, and I will offer him a big purse, as well.”

On Ngannou fight happening in early 2023: “It’s possible. Very possible. I will have retired from competitive championship boxing, and I’ll be ready to do the crossover fights. He won’t be the UFC heavyweight champion anymore, I won’t be the WBC heavyweight champion anymore, but I will still be the lineal heavyweight champion because they can’t take that from me. Because I’m the man who beat the man, going back to John L. Sullivan!”

On having more than one “special fight”: “We’ll see what’s available. Francis Ngannou is a big guy, big, dangerous guy. People say it wouldn’t be a fair fight in 10 oz gloves, and that may be correct. ... If we do it in 4 oz gloves, they have a bit more chance of knocking me out, but then again, I have a bit more chance of knocking them out also, so it makes for an exciting fight. I will try to come in over 300 lbs for that fight. Just to nail him to the canvas with one solid punch. ... In a boxing ring, it’s my home, it’s like fighting a shark in the ocean, not fair. I’ve got to [fight in a cage] and come out of my comfort zone. ... It’d be stand-up, punching rules.”

On gearing up to face Dillian Whyte

“I know Dillian from a long time ago. I know him very well. We’ve sparred many rounds together, I know he’s a dangerous opponent. I know if I’m not on my A-game and don’t train and drink beer and vodka every day, I’ll still beat the guy, I know that. But I give these guys the respect because I know how hard boxing is, I know they’re going to bring their A-game and try to beat me up. ... To get motivated to box in front of 100,000 people at home, there’s not much motivation needed for that.”

On Tommy Fury being on the card

“I’m hoping he will be, he’s trying to sort it out with Frank Warren. We’ll see. Hopefully he gets an undefeated fighter to fight on the card, and try to get it on with Jake Paul after this one. ... I think (Tommy vs Jake) is a great fight. Well, not a great fight, I think Tommy destroys him, but I think it’s a great fight to make.”

On whether he was impressed with Jake Paul in December

“I was impressed with his knockout, it was a great knockout. But a lot of people have said it was a fixed knockout, right? I’m not sure what to make of it all. Maybe it was a pantomime villain show with a choreographed knockout. We really don’t know, but it was a good knockout, fair play to him. He can punch, that’s for sure.”

On back-and-forth with Conor McGregor

“Super Bowl weekend, baby! It’s a time to grab attention when you need it. There’s no beef between me and Conor McGregor. What beef would he have with me, a 150 lb guy from a totally different sport? How could he beef with me, it’s not even a thing? Obviously he was trying to reach for a bit of fame on Super Bowl weekend. It’s called Super Bowl weekend fever, everybody gets it. They know they can make some headlines, and who better to call out than me? I’ve got no issue at all. How could I have an issue? Not possible. Unless he can put on 100 lbs in weight and come and fight me.”

On possibly going back to WWE

“I’d love to go back to WWE. I’m gonna call Vince (McMahon) up and Nick Khan, and I’m going to get the fights on.”

Watch the full interview on The MMA Hour