By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
TYSON FURY has compared himself to Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather Jr ahead of his comeback on Saturday.
The Gypsy King has been out since he toppled Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko on points to claim three world heavyweight titles in November 2015.
But Fury’s life unravelled after becoming WBA-IBF-WBO-IBO champion and he twice pulled out of a Klitschko rematch before admitting to problems with drink, drugs and depression.
Fury, 29, gave up the belts and then served a backdated two-year doping ban for testing positive for the steroid nandrolone in 2015.
The 6ft 9in Manchester boxer piled on the pounds during his exile and has lost around seven stone ahead of facing 39-year-old Albanian Sefer Seferi on home soil.
In the two years and seven months Fury has been away, English rival Anthony Joshua has won his old titles and is in talks to face American Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion.
Fury is no longer heavyweight king but in an amazing rant he likened himself to three-time heavyweight king Ali and five-weight world champion Mayweather.
He said: “I am the greatest heavyweight of all time. I’ve not got to be modest. I am the best ever. Me, Tyson Fury, the Gypsy King, the one and only.
“When you look at all these fighters today who are active. I’m not active.
“When has there ever been somebody like me? There have been plenty of come-forward aggressors, there have been plenty of boxers off the back foot, but when has there ever been a 6ft 9in switch-hitter with the confidence of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather rolled into one?
“There has never ever been anyone like me. I’m unbeaten, I’m fast, I’m brash,I’m young, I’m good-looking, I’m tanned. I’ve even got white teeth.
“What more could I have? I’m a fighter, I’m a boxer, I’m a sportsman, I’m a showman. “I am the greatest of my time. This is my era, I have already beaten the lineal champion, I’ve already beaten the legendary champion Wladimir Klitschko, and guess what, I did it easily. It was an easy fight.
“So put me in the ring with these bums and I’ll tell you how to put them down — easy peasy lemon squeezy.
“You have the lineal champion, the real McCoy, who has been in exile for nearly three years just like Muhammad Ali was.
"Then you have the other guys who have done their thing in the meantime.
“But once I come back I will take over again, just like Muhammad Ali did.
“Nobody gave him a chance and I’m sure all the journalists and boxing pundits around the world are saying I can’t do it again.
“But I shocked you all the first time and I’m going to shock everybody for a second time.
“Because the way I see it, I am the best there is going to be and I don’t believe there has been a man born yet who can beat me.
“You haven’t even seen what I can do yet because I haven’t had an opponent take me to that level. The better opponent you put in front of me, the better I become.
“I’ve got a massive opportunity to go down as one of the best heavyweights of all time. I have the dance partners to achieve that in Wilder, Joshua and whoever else.
“Against the fighters we’ve got today — big-punching, one-punch knockout artists — someone like me, with the skill and the confidence, can look like Roy Jones Jr in there against a couple of bums.
“That’s what they will look like when they fight me — bums.”
Fury says the thought of fighting Joshua and Wilder next year is keeping him awake at night as he promises to be better than before.
He added: “The fans are going to see the best Tyson Fury there has ever been. I know other people talk a good game when they have been out for 1,000 days, on their comeback they always say they have done everything correctly.
“But when I say I never, ever, ever have felt better or stronger or fitter or faster, I mean it.I have sparred hundreds and hundreds of rounds in the gym.
“Fans can expect to see me at my best — the most flamboyant heavyweight on the planet.
“A title shot is 100 percent possible this year. Don’t be surprised if I take over the world this year and win a world title back.
“I can’t sleep at night thinking about bums all the time. I’m thinking about putting my fist through the side of AJ’s jaw.
“I’m thinking about knocking Wilder spark out, all 15 stone of him. Putting him upside down on a heap in the floor.
“And if there are any cruiserweights out there, light-heavyweights or middleweights want to move up, I will give them a good hiding too.
“Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward — whoever they are, move up to heavyweight and I will sort them all out.”