By Keith Idec
Tyson Fury is certain he’ll have as many fans cheering for him at Staples Center as Deontay Wilder when they fight December 1 in Los Angeles.
Fury figures a sizeable contingent of Brits will travel to the United States for their 12-round heavyweight title fight. The lineal heavyweight champ is just as sure that if they would’ve fought in his native Manchester, England, or somewhere else in the United Kingdom, tens of thousands more tickets would already be sold to the event.
Only the lower bowl at Staples Center has been opened thus far for Wilder-Fury, which will be distributed by Showtime Pay-Per-View. The venue, the home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers and the NHL’s Kings, can accommodate nearly 20,000 fans for boxing.
“I’m sure I’ll have as many fans as Deontay Wilder at the fight,” Fury said Wednesday as part of a conference call. “But let’s just say that if this fight would’ve been in Manchester, or anywhere in the UK, it would’ve sold a stadium out. We would’ve sold 75,000 tickets. But they did want it to be here, and I’m happy that it is here because it gets me on the road again and I’m becoming a type of road warrior now – fighting in different people’s countries and taking championships off champions in their own countries. So I’ve become accustomed to it. But make no mistake, if this would’ve been in Manchester … we could’ve sold 75,000 tickets.”
The last time Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) went on the road for a heavyweight title fight, he upset Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles. Fury defeated Klitschko by unanimous decision in November 2015, when they drew a capacity crowd of roughly 55,000 to ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fury’s experience versus Klitschko has helped prepare him for fighting Alabama’s Wilder in the United States. He has spent his entire training camp in California to get ready for Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) – first in Big Bear Lake and now in Hollywood.
“I think it doesn’t really matter where the fight is gonna be,” Fury said. “As a fighter, it doesn’t matter, wherever it is, because the outcome is the same. A fight is a fight. No matter how many fans you’ve got behind you or how many people want you to win, if you’re good enough you’ll win, and if you’re not, you’re gonna lose.
“So it’s really unimportant where the fight is, traveling to different countries. But for me, as a fighter it makes it all the more sweet when I win in somebody else’s own backyard. And I tape all that up and use it as fire.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.