By Keith Idec
Tyson Fury doesn’t believe Deontay Wilder when the WBC champion says he took their fight to prove he is boxing’s best heavyweight.
Fury figures Wilder views him as a washed-up former champion, undefeated yet damaged and incapable of boxing the way he did when Fury upset Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
“He’s living on the hope and prayer that the 2½ years out, I’m f***ed,” Fury said during a press conference Monday in London to promote their December 1 fight. “But I ain’t. I’m back. I’m better than ever. I’ve never been as quick, I’ve never been as powerful, I’ve never been as explosive. I’m ready. You’re only banking on me having two fights in three years, or else you wouldn’t have took the fight. That’s the only reason you took this fight, because you think I’m done. I ain’t done, pal. The only thing that’s done is you, when I get you in that ring.”
Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) has won two fights since ending a 2½-year layoff 3½ months ago.
The former IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion stopped Switzerland’s Sefer Seferi (23-2, 21 KOs) following four uneventful rounds June 9 in Manchester, England. He returned two months later and easily out-boxed Italy’s Francesco Pianeta (35-5-1, 21 KOs) in a 10-rounder August 18 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Before defeating Seferi, the 30-year-old Fury hadn’t boxed since he beat the heavily favored Klitschko by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fury postponed his immediate rematch with Klitschko and ultimately canceled it. The Manchester, England, native gave up his four titles to seek treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction and depression.
The 32-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will be by far Fury’s toughest opponent since he beat the retired Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs). The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native disputed Fury’s theory regarding his motivation during their press conference Monday at BT Sport’s headquarters.
“No, I don’t think you done,” Wilder told Fury. “I don’t want you to be done. I don’t get no gratification [from] you being done. I want you when you feel like you, mentally, can beat me.”
Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, also assured the 6-feet-9 Fury that they don’t expect an easy night December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Tyson, I wanna correct one thing,” Finkel said. “We didn’t pick to fight you, or you to fight us, because we thought you were easy. We believe you’re the best out there. [Fury interjected by saying, ‘Do you?’] Yes, and that’s why we wanna fight the best and only the best. And we have nothing but respect because your countryman [Anthony Joshua] didn’t have the guts to step up like you did.”
The Wilder-Fury three-day, three-city press tour is set to continue Tuesday on the Flight Deck at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York (12:30 p.m. ET). It’ll end Wednesday with another press conference at Star Plaza, right outside Staples Center in Los Angeles (12:30 p.m. PT).
Their press conferences in New York and Los Angeles are open to the public.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.