LOS ANGELES, Calif., January 13, 2020 – WBC World Heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder of the U.S. and “Gypsy King” Tyson Fury of Great Britain left no doubt where they stand in their single joint news conference on Monday in Los Angeles.
After a lengthy faceoff where the two had an animated conversation, they sat down at their microphones to make it known where they stood.
“On February 22, this lineal bullsh*t will be over,” declared Wilder. “I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do. I’m going to knock him out. I’m the lion. I’m the king of the jungle. I’m going to rip his head off his body. Everyone sit tight and buckle up. It’s going to be a fun ride on the way to giving everyone the best fight you’ve seen in your lives.”
Wilder told me he’s had enough of the hype about Tyson Fury being the “lineal” heavyweight champion.
Fury’s response? “I’m the best of my era and I took that title from Wladimir Klitschko. Nobody disputed he was the best and I took that from him. Until someone beats me, that’s my title,” declared Fury.
“I’m looking for my 21st knockout … When I get him in there again, I’m going to make him feel the fury. I’ve never been as sure of anything in my whole life. As sure as I was this morning putting this suit on. 100 percent he can’t win. He’s got a puncher’s chance like anyone else. I’m much sharper and more fit now. I’m ready to rumble right now. I hope he trains hard and goes to bed sleeping thinking about me.”
Tyson Fury relishes his bigger than life role. Americans have warmed up to the “Gypsy King” since he signed with Top Rank Boxing and moved to train in Las Vegas. What’s his appeal? Just ask Fury, and he’ll tell you. We did.
Wilder Fury 2: Big men and bigger stakes for boxing
Fight follies aside, this contest’s stakes couldn’t be higher. Heavyweight championship fights all carry significance beyond boxing as a cultural phenomena, especially when the men involved have strong opposing personalities like Wilder and Fury. It’s a fascinating case of opposites attracting. the African-American knockout menace versus the wily Irish Traveler who confounds his opponent with movement. But the truth is that they’re more alike than they are different: big men from hardscrabble childhoods, fighting their way up and fighting for respect.
This clash represents more than titles. It’s a test of the sport’s ability to deliver a significant audience and the revenue to go with it as boxing enters a new decade. Wilder’s promoter Premier Boxing Champions and Fury’s promoter Top Rank Boxing came to an agreement which must make dollars and sense for both of them. Just four years ago, Top Rank’s Bob Arum tried to sue PBC’s Al Haymon in an antitrust lawsuit, although it was dismissed.
Fast forward to 2020. If the pay-per-view gamble on Saturday, February 22 pays off, the reluctance to work together to make more championship fights will start to dissipate. If you want to see Spence Jr. vs. Crawford, you need to hope Wilder Fury 2 makes a boatload of money for everyone involved.
Fury slightly favored in a 50-50 fight
If you ask oddsmakers, Tyson Fury is slightly favored to win. It’s hard to reconcile when he faces the most fearsome puncher on the planet. Why isn’t America’s best heavyweight champion in a generation getting more respect?
When the singing and slinging insults died down, we asked Wilder about this. He delivered complex thoughts on earning respect, the realities of race in America, and how Fury seems to have gotten a pass for outrageous comments.
With the fight six weeks away there will be plenty of time to analyze fight strategy and answer the questions. Will Wilder’s fearsome right hand connect with Fury and keep him on the canvas this time? Will Fury be able to elude Wilder and roll up rounds on the scorecard to win? Is Fury’s sudden coaching change to Sugarhill Steward a cause for concern? Is Wilder getting back into the ring too soon after his knockout win over Luis Ortiz in November?
In those six weeks, the co-promoters and networks will lean in hard to convince Americans boxing still matters.
“We talk about boxing having a renaissance, but it’s really about the heavyweight division,” said Todd DuBoef, President of Top Rank. “That’s what is going to create that renaissance more than anything right now.”
“The heavyweight division is still the biggest and most powerful division in boxing. It always will be. Everyone wants to see the fighters throwing the big blows,” said Steward.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com. The event is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions, Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. A Premier Boxing Champions presentation.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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