By Terence Dooley
Lineal world heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) was in fine form at Manchester’s Midland Hotel earlier today as he hosted the final press conference ahead of his comeback fight against Sefer Seferi (23-1, 21 early) at the city’s Arena on Saturday night.
Fury has been out of the ring since beating Wladimir Klitschko by decision in Desseldorf in November 2015. The 29-year-old was twice pencilled in to fight a rematch with the former Champion only become enmeshed in a dispute with the UKAD over a failed test for nandrolone, which led to a settlement and a backdated ban for Fury after it was acknowledged that he had not knowingly ingested a banned substance, and he has also admitted to using alcohol and recreational drugs in order to help deal with the depression that has blighted him throughout his adult life.
Promoter Frank Warren worked closely with Fury in order to ensure that his licence was reinstated by the BBBoC, and Fury decided to resume his career under Warren rather than continuing under former promoter Mick Hennessy. A delighted Warren believes that “The Gypsy King” is poised for a return to the top once he has eased his way back into the sport.
“This is important for British boxing, Tyson brings so much to the party: he’s a character, seems like a new man, and the public has taken to him and seem to like what he brings at the moment,” said Warren. “After all the trials and tribulations this comeback is a credit to him.
“The most important thing is that Tyson can fight. No one can consider themselves The Man until they beat the lineal Champion, which is Tyson. This is his first step after nearly a thousand days out of the ring. This man took [Manuel] Charr the distance, so it is a good fight for him. Saturday night is the start of a journey to get this man to where he belongs, at the top of the heavyweight division.”
He added: “Tyson has got all the other physical attributes, but he also has the best boxing brain. We will move heaven and earth to get the belts, we won’t let TV companies or promoters get in the way of it and will collectively make sure it happens for the fans.”
Looking tanned and relaxed, Fury took the opportunity to remind fans just how much weight he put on during his near three-year layoff. “There are no nerves at all,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve been a goldfish trapped in a tank and now I’m being released into the river where I belong. Put me in there and watch me swim, I’ll be an effective swimmer. Being out for this long is a long time, isn’t it? Not to mention the weight I put on. It was just madness the last couple of years. I was round about 27-and-a-half stone and will be around 19-and-half or under and over on Friday.
“I’m looking good, I’m flying! You can always tell when my weight is good because my face gets better looking by the day. I can’t remember feeling any better than I feel now. I want it more. When I was world Champion, I fell out of love with the game after being married to it for so long. Now we are back in love again, I’m thriving and like any good relationship you have to spice it up so I put some lingerie on this bitch.
“I’ve attracted so many good looking people today, so I must be doing something right. The Mack is back, it is Mack year. No disrespect to this guy, I’ve met his manager before when I fought Christian Hammer, and I whupped his arse too.
“I look at him like I look at Joshua, Wilder or anybody. He is in good shape, is a good looking man, and he is coming to knock me spark out, and he will do if he lands on my chin, as any man weighing 15 stone would. He wants to become heavyweight champion of the world and I’m standing in his way.”
Warming to the theme of selling Sefer’s rugged good looks, Fury looked at his opponent and announced that: “He is fit, you will see that when he whips his top off tomorrow and six-packs up, he’ll have some gel in that black hair of his, a bit of baby oil on—he’ll look the bollocks on the night. He’s a good looking fella, I’m sure he must be a travelling man. He’s even got nice, white teeth too.”
Fury, though, also believes that the Albanian can offer him what he really needs right now, rounds: “I could have picked someone a lot easier, someone I could have knocked out in a round, but I need plenty of rounds, and I know Sefer is tough, strong, will come forward—he will bring a lion’s heart and come to win.
“I’ve done way over 300 rounds of sparring, sparred everyone, really, and have done well—look at me, not a mark on me. I’ve got a special little talent called not getting hit in the face, which is why I’m this good looking. It is hard, very hard, to not get hit in the face, but I’ve mastered it. If you don’t get hit the opponent can’t win.
“That said, I won’t be running in the ring or hard to find. It is easy to beat Tyson Fury, very easy. The late, great Brendan Ingle said in front of a gym full of people: ‘The only way to beat Tyson Fury is to knock the c*nt out, and if you don’t knock him out you ain’t going to win because he’ll just keep coming for you all night’.
“Some people come into a fight and they almost settle to lose. They get a groove on for a couple of rounds and then they survive, mess around and try not to get knocked out. I’d rather get knocked out than lose on points as a loss is a loss whether you get chinned or lose on points. I’d rather it was 15 rounds because 12 goes very quick and I’m more suited to 15. I feel good, if Sefer beats me then fair play. If I win then it is a successful comeback. Whatever happens, I hope we can both go safely home to our families.”
When asked if this fight will send out a message to Joshua and Wilder, Fury shrugged and said: “I don’t need to send any more messages, they know the message: ‘The Mack’ is back. That’s all they need to know. I’ll get in there, have some fun and enjoy my comeback.”
Fury’s support has swelled during his time out of the ring and Warren will hope that translates to bums on seats during this return. Like him or loathe him, the former British, Commonwealth and EBU title-holder prompts a reaction, and he believes that it is an increasingly positive one.
“I’ve had fantastic support to spur me on for this comeback,” he declared. “This is me and the whole nation, I’m coming back and fighting for the people who need inspiration. People who need help and suffer with mental health problems as well. If I can get back into shape and at fighting level then anyone can do it.
“I got support from the boxing fans, all that (negativity) is in the past. I’m the real People’s Champion, someone you can relate to, and you might see me in the pub on my own just being normal. There is no negativity now, if any comes up then I’ll get Frank to nut you!”
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