Tyson Fury is just a few days away from defending his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium, with somewhere around 85-95,000 expected to be in attendance — and Fury continues to say that it will be the final fight of his career.
The 33-year-old Fury (31-0-1, 22 KO) will be fighting at home in the United Kingdom for the first time since his 2018 wins over Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta in Manchester and Belfast, and it will be his first fight in London since a 2015 victory over Christian Hammer.
Adam Smith, working as a Top Rank correspondent, caught up with Fury at yesterday’s media workout and got his thoughts on the fight, Dillian Whyte, and mainly, the insistence that he’ll really retire after this one.
On being based in the U.S. before this fight
“I’ve enjoyed it. It’s become the home of the ‘Gypsy King,’ Las Vegas, but now it’s all coming to an end. It’s been a good old journey, and I’m looking forward to Saturday night and putting on a show.”
On what trainer SugarHill Steward has done for him
“He’s done a lot. He’s made me into a beast. I was a beast before, but I’m absolutely a lot better fighter now. I punch a lot harder, I use a more aggressive style, and I’m looking to get people out of there rather than out-box them.”
On the second Wilder fight changing the perception of him
“People under-estimated me, and they still do by me body shape. But I think on that night they started to wake up and listen to what I’ve been saying all these years. ... People under-estimate me because of the fat and whatever else. But it doesn’t really make much difference when you’re in there, to be fair. It never has done to me, and that’s why I’m undefeated after all these years and still on top.”
On Dillian Whyte
“He’s a good fighter. We worked together for a long time years ago. He’s probably improved as a fighter since then, he’s had a lot more fights. He was a good lad! He probably still is a good person now. I seen him after he knocked out Povetkin after his last fight, he got his own stool and took it over to Povetkin. So as a person he’s probably a decent man. As a boxer, he’s achieved a lot and he’s finally getting his shot he’s been waiting for for such a long time, and he’s getting it in front of 94,000 people on the world’s big stage. This is everything to win for him and nothing to lose. It’s a win-win situation, there’s no lose here.”
On how he felt about Whyte when they worked together: “He was a nice lad, probably similar to what he is now, to be fair. But we just haven’t spent much time together in the last, what, five, six, seven years, how long it’s been. 2011 to 2013, I think it was.”
On what he might say at Wednesday’s presser: “There’s nothing really much to say, you know? We don’t really have to sell anything. Tickets have been sold. I don’t dislike anybody. I’ve got no dislike for nobody. As a person, as a boxer, he hasn’t done anything to me. He’s called me a few names to build the fight and that’s it, he’s got his fight now, and we’re rockin’ and rollin’. We’re gonna throw down Saturday night, that’s all we can do.”
On this being his last fight
“I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody, I’m just there to have fun, take in the atmosphere, and enjoy the night. It’s the final farewell. It’s been a long old ride, it’s quite emotional to be honest. All this, the ride of, like, starting as a little kid and wanting to be heavyweight champion, and then to finally be hanging up the gloves. And I know nobody believes me because they all think I’m after money or whatever else — there’s only a certain amount of people who know that money don’t mean nothing to me.
“I’m walking away. I have nothing to prove to nobody. I’ve done what I had to do. That’s it. Win, lose, or draw on Saturday night, we put up a good fight and we go home. That’s it.”
“That’s the way I’ve been feeling. I said to (my wife), before the last Deontay Wilder fight, we was both in the room upstairs in the house in Vegas, and I said, “This is it. This is the last one now with Wilder. I don’t think there will be anymore.’ And she said, ‘Thank God for that.’ And after the fight, we got the opportunity to do a big one at home with Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium, so it’s an opportunity that you don’t pass up. It’s the (national) stadium and it’s a massive, massive event. The biggest crowd that Wembley’s ever had in it for any sporting event, I believe. I was always planning to walk away, and here we are, walk away.
“The great Julius Caesar said, ‘There will always be somebody else to fight.’ There will be. There’s a million young guys coming up. I can’t go on forever, just like Wladimir (Klitschko) couldn’t, Joe Louis and Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis before me. Every good dog has his day and that’s it.”
On wanting to retire unbeaten
“I’m gonna go out with a bang. I’m gonna put on a good show and me and Dillian Whyte is gonna knock lumps out of each other on Saturday night. I hope it’s the hardest fight of me life. ... I want a good fight. I want to test meself. ... I hope he don’t just walk on to a big one and get knocked out cold, because that would be a disappointment.”
On there being more big fights to do
“What for, though? How much is enough? What have I got to prove? Keep fighting again and again and again? Who, what, where for? ... It’s not what other people want, it’s what I want. I do it for the fans and that’s why I’m doing this fight here at Wembley. One good farewell, goodbye, and that’s it. This stone is out of blood. I’m all done. I’ve had 20 years as a boxer and that’s it.’
“I don’t want the celebrity lifestyle. I don’t want to be a movie star or anything like that. I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to be tortured by people. I just want to be left alone, switch off the Instagram, switch off the lot and walk away from that famous lifestyle. I can’t stand it and that’s the gospel truth. I have no interest in it, not at all. I’m here to do this one last fight, and that’s me, I’m out. I’m out for good. Goodbye forever!”
“I wanted one more fight. It didn’t have to be Dillian Whyte! It could have been Joshua or it could have been Oleksandr Usyk. But at the end of the day the deal didn’t get made.”
On whether being a “natural born fighter” gets him the win over Whyte
“Nope, not at all. I was born as a fighter, premature, born fighting. But my skills were honed in a boxing gym and it’s been a long, hard battle of training, day-in, day-out for years. ... It hasn’t always been 94,000 people wanting to see me. I remember when 10 people didn’t want to see me fight! ‘Oh, he’s shit, him, he’s too fat, he don’t take training serious.’ ... I do look back and smile, and I wouldn’t change it, because it’s been such an experience for me.
“It makes you happy to think, like, where I am today compared to where I was. But I’m still the same, I believe I’m still the same person I was when I walked in the gym at 14 years old. I’ve got a lot of life experiences, but I love the game now, and I loved the game then.
“It’s a good, fair matchup. He’s been inactive as well as me. He’s only had the one fight in over a year, so have I. I’ve had one fight in over two years. So there we are, it’s a good old fair match. He’s had about 30-odd fights, I’ve had about the same. We’re the same kind of age. It’s a good, even match.”
On the allure of fighting the Usyk-Joshua winner
“I’ve won all the belts before. I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody. All these belts, I’ve got a cupboard full of them. They don’t see daylight. That’s it. I’ve done enough. Enough is enough, and I’m going back to Morecambe Bay in my normal VW Passat car, take my kids to the normal, local school. And that’s it. I might go out for something to eat on a weekend. That’s it. School runs, bin runs, haircuts on Monday, I clean the car down on a Tuesday — I’ve got a quite routine life planned out! That’s how I want it.”
On what he has planned for Saturday
“Same old business as usual for me. Give it everything I’ve got, give it me all, and fight on until I can’t fight anymore. Victorious or not, you’re going to see a very good fight. ... 100 percent I’m going to win, because that’s all I do is win, win, win. But there’s another saying in Proverbs, and it says, ‘You can train the horse for battle, but the rest is in God’s hands.’ If it’s supposed to be, then it’ll be. And if it’s not supposed to be, then it wasn’t supposed to be.
“But don’t get me wrong, I’ve trained hard as I can ever train. I’ve had great sparring with Martin Bakole, David Adeleye, Jarrell Miller, Joe Parker’s been in camp as well. It’s been a great training camp.”
On taking Dillian Whyte seriously as a threat
“I take them all serious, whether it was Otto Wallin, Tom Schwarz, Bela Gyongyosi, I took them — well, that’s a lie, I didn’t train for Bela Gyongyosi, that was me debut. Came back from honeymoon, dropped in the ring.”
On a message for American fans
“Big shout out to America. They took me in as one of their own, they made me a superstar in the States and made me feel very, very welcome. I do believe that we’ll never see Las Vegas on wheels again like it was when ‘Gypsy King’ fought Deontay Wilder (in the rematch). It was one of the busiest weekends in Vegas I’ve ever seen, the weigh-in was the biggest attended of all the fights that have ever been there. It was absolutely buzzing. Big shout out to the old Americans who made this possible.”