By Lee Elford
“Heavyweight Sensation” Tyson Fury, 18-0, has told BoxingScene he is “Strong and in super shape” ahead of this Saturday’s clash against experienced American Vinny Maddalone, 35-7, at Somerset’s Hand Arena in Clevedon in a clash that will be televised live on Channel 5.
However, Fury again finds himself in a no win situation with some critics who raise issues about him facing an opponent they feel is over the hill at 38 years of age and with seven defeats on his record; pundits believe Maddalone will be meat and drink for the 6’ 7’’ inch undefeated 24-year-old.
On the contrary, Maddalone is arguably Tyson’s biggest test to date. The big punching New Yorker has 26 knockouts from his 35 victories and all his defeats suggest he fell short when stepping up to a level Fury has yet to venture into, including reverses to Jean Marc Mormeck, Tomasz Adamek, Denis Boystov and Evander Holyfield.
As solid an opponent Maddalone is, it has been evident in recent performances that Fury is beginning to take his training, and more importantly himself, seriously. When facing former Prizefighter champion Martin Rogan in his last outing during April this year, the Manchester born giant adopted a southpaw style throughout much to the amazement of pundits and fans – fending off the Irishman’s surging attacks before unleashing a big left to finish off the 40-year-old inside five rounds to capture the Irish title.
Fury revealed he is expecting a tough challenge and claims to have made further positive strides in his pursuit of Heavyweight glory.
“Vinny Maddalone has a good record – I’m taking him very serious!” said Fury during our recent conversation. “To the criticism, I’ve boxed four to five unbeaten opponents, took [British and Commonwealth] titles off [Dereck] Chisora – even then they said Chisora was fat etc., but so was I! I’m twice the man I was back then, now I’m in world-class camps like the Klitschkos and nothing is left to chance – see for yourself on Saturday. For Rogan I was 15.5% body mass fat now I’m 9.4% for this one. I’m training three times a day for a total of five hours a day. I’m a full time professional now. Besides training all day I eat and sleep – now that’s dedication.”
Like his namesake, Tyson is a charming and charismatic character. His press conferences are often as entertaining and controversial as his toe-to-toe slugfests inside the ropes which have seen him hit the canvass against Neven Pajkic and wobbled against the likes of Chisora and John McDermott.
As a result some question the defence and attitude of the Cheshire resident, who appears to have struggled too often when under pressure. Explaining his development inside and outside the ropes up to now, he is promising that fans will again see a new and improved Tyson Fury this Saturday.
“I’ve been put down and rocked in the past because I lost interest in boxing; I was at a low in my mental esteem,” he said. “I knew my jab was not right, my defence, balance and conditioning. It was all wrong and the demoralising thing was I never knew how to put it right.
“I just had to get in close and bludgeon my opponents and stop them early before I was tired – it’s called inexperience. However, I’ve shown I can dig deep when it matters and come back. The same shots that bothered me back then would not even make me flinch now, as I’m strong and in super shape. My whole boxing has changed and I’m in a happy place right now.
“My diet is state of the art and I take all kinds of proteins, recovery shakes and drinks, on time. I eat every two hours and I’m constantly being checked by my coach, my calorie intake is altered at different stages of the camp. I’m lucky my coach does all the food programmes and I just do whatever programme he gives me. My advice to my fans is get professional advice from people who know their stuff. Everyone is made differently.”
Should he come through against Maddalone, the question on everyone’s lips will inevitably be “What next for Tyson Fury?” There are clamours for huge domestic fights against David Price, the winner of Haye vs. Chisora or even one of the mighty Klitschko’s. Fury revealed his current standing with the situation.
He said: “The Klitschko brothers are to be admired. I will be honoured to fight them when my time comes. With Price, it’s good we get mentioned all the time, as that’s a big fight down the line once he’s had more fights. I take every fight as a threat from now on and I’ll be 110% ready when I go into battle. It don’t matter who I get they’re being beaten by a world class heavyweight in the making, stay tuned.”