By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
TYSON FURY claims Deontay Wilder came calling because he needs to fight a boxing legend.
The former WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF title holder is set to face the American in a blockbuster battle in November if he beats German-based Italian Francesco Pianeta tonight at Windsor Park.
But he insists he did not go begging for the big-money match-up with WBC champ Wilder.
And he insists he is the one making it a cash-laden clash in Las Vegas later this year.
Fury will earn in excess of £10m with Wilder banking even more for the fight which will be pay-per-view on both sides of the Atlantic.
“I’m not fighting him, he’s fighting me,” said the unbeaten heavyweight. “This isn’t me having a chance to fight him for a belt, this is his chance to fight a legend of the game.
“Make no mistake Wilder is not a pay-per-view fighter in his home country. He’s never ever done a pay-per-view fight.
“I am the draw on this side of the fight, without me he goes back to fighting some bum for a million dollars.
“If I beat Deontay Wilder in America, what have I done, beat another boxer? What am I gaining?"
“But if he beats me, he gains the lineal status in the heavyweight division and it will continue on. So he needs me more than I need him.”
Fury and Wilder clashed after yesterday’s weigh-in at the Europa Hotel in Belfast and exchanged verbal insults.
But the self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ believes another clash between the pair laid the foundations for their November fight.
Just after Fury had beaten Wladimir Klitschko to become the king of the division, he went to New York to watch Wilder take on Artur Szpilka in January 2016.
He said: “It wasn’t a set-up job, when I went over to New York they wouldn’t even let me in the building, I barged my way right through.
“I said, ‘The first man touches me gets their jaw broke’. As soon as the fight was done I was in the ring. I was on him.
“I was advised by (former promoter) Mick Hennessey and (uncle and former trainer) Peter not to go to America, as that was giving him relevance.
“But I said I’m trying to make a multi-million dollar fight. I know how to promote boxing.
“I paid for my own ticket, my own hotel. It was all paid for by me setting this up years ago. It is written in the stars I will knock him spark out.”
The fight never happened then as Fury was contractually obliged to face Klitschko in a rematch but that never happened because the British heavyweight failed a drugs test for cocaine.
Fury then had a long legal battle with UK Anti-Doping over another failed test amid mental health problems that saw him balloon up in weight.
But he does not believe reaching the pinnacle of the division again will fulfil him.
Fury added: “All the belts will just add to the collection I have. Like Mike Tyson said, as a kid these belts are of some use and you think they’re something but when you’ve actually got them, you realise they are just a bit of metal with some leather welded on them.
“What inspires me is looking in the mirror every morning and seeing myself in shape. That inspires me. I see myself in shape.
“Last year I was looking in the mirror seeing myself 27stone and obese. Now I look in the mirror and I’m an Adonis.
“I beat Klitschko, I climbed that Everest and I thought that would be enough. In my own mind I thought, ‘That’s me done now’. I never thought I would fight again.
“But I feel unfulfilled and until that feeling is gone, I need to fill whatever is wanting and I will continue to search the globe for that contentedness.”