Tyson Fury will take whatever accolades come with a victory over Deontay Wilder when the two once again collide for a heavyweight title.
It’s why, for now, he welcomes the challenge of his longtime heavyweight rival, and all of the media attention their February 22 rematch continues to generate.
“I’m not here to run him down,” England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) insists of Wilder ahead of their title fight sequel next month at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. “It only makes my victory look shitty on the night, don’t it?”
Fury remains convinced he deserved the nod in their first fight, when the two fought to a disputed draw in their December 2018 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner in Los Angeles, California. Alabama’s Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) scored knockdowns in rounds nine and 12, the latter of the two nearly putting Fury out for the night. The fact that he made it to his feet and finished the fight helped the match itself take on a life of its own and—even more than a year after the fact—remains the selling point for their upcoming rematch, which tops a joint PPV venture between ESPN+ and Fox Sports.
To date, the outcome remains widely disputed although it once again creates a title fight between unbeaten heavyweights. Wilder attempts the 11th defense of the belt he claimed five years ago, while Fury is presently 4-0-1 (2KOs) since returning to the ring in June 2018 following a 30-month absence. The extended break killed any momentum gained from his November 2015 points win over Wladimir Klitschko to lay claim as the lineal heavyweight champion, and the slew of belts that came along with the feat.
Fury regards that feat as the best in-ring achievement of his pro career. Judging by his overall view of Wilder, it doesn’t seem that viewpoint will change even with a clear-cut win.
“I want people to think he’s the best puncher in history, the greatest boxer in history, the longest reigning champion ever, the best there ever was,” notes Fury. “So, when I beat him February 22, then it makes my victory look even sweeter.
“But when I look back and really face facts, when I beat Deontay Wilder, I’ve just beaten another bare bum in the shower with a pair of boxing gloves on. Just another tick on the record, just another man on the street. That's all he is, just another person to me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox