LAS VEGAS, Nevada, February 19. 2020 – Round 13 nearly got underway before the opening bell at Wednesday’s final pre-fight news conference featuring WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder and challenger Tyson Fury.
At the conclusion of the news conference when the pair posed in a traditional faceoff, temperatures rose. Wilder and Fury launched into some championship-caliber trash-talking inches away from each other. The dialogue briefly escalated into a shoving match, which quickly died down when members of the two fighters’ teams quickly moved in to preserve the peace and preserve the big fight on Saturday.
“You can see that we’re both emotionally invested in this,” said Wilder. “We both want to give you all the best of us. Come Saturday night, we’re going to release all of our energy in the ring and it’s going to stay there.
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and I’m sure he’s been waiting as well. There are so many odds looking in and helping to put the heavyweight division on notice. This division has had tremendous action these last few years. Our first fight was amazing, and this is going to be even more intense.”
In front of hundreds of media members and millions more watching live on ESPN and on YouTube channels, Wilder and Fury answered questions about their upcoming rematch on Saturday, February 22, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It’s hard to believe there is anything left to be said after the never-ending series of interviews both men have granted in the past few months. How did either one have any time for actual training?
Wilder: Feeling the power
Wilder was asked when he realized how much punching power he possesses. “I truly realized my power during my current knockout streak. I looked at my record and realized I was running through guys and knocking them out,” said Wilder. “You don’t just go in and knock a human out based on will, you really have to have the power to do so, and through that, I realized I had something different. I am just applying my service to my greatness and I am going to use my power up until I can’t use it anymore.”
Where does Wilder’s power come from? How did it develop? “My power is God-given; I don’t have to do anything at all. I don’t have to lift weights or do a special type of cardio; it’s born with me. It’s an amazing feeling to have it and to be in this position, out of all the things I could be doing.
“God placed me in this position. As fighters, we are free in this sport, we say as we please with less consequences, so when I use my platform, I use it well. If people see what I do in my occupation and see that I bring the greatness out of myself, then that will translate to people that look up to me.”
Fury: Wilder, you’re welcome
Tyson Fury was asked about dealing with Wilder’s power shots. “The 12th round of our first fight was a good round, and credit to Wilder, he got me with two of the best punches I have ever seen thrown in a 12 round heavyweight fight. As we have seen, that has become very famous, the ole’ knockdown of the Gypsy King was very active online and all over the world. But the thing Wilder must be thinking is, I hit that guy with my hardest punch in round 12, and he got up. What do I have to do to keep him down?”
Fury was badly cut by Otto Wallin in his previous bout. With Wallin present at the event, Fury said he’s not worried about it opening up again on Saturday.
“The biggest puncher who ever lived should have to problem opening my cut up. He could not keep me down in the 12th round, so now I want to see if he is able to get up off the floor. I don’t think he has the guts to get up.”
“I gave Wilder the biggest payday of his life and brought him to the biggest stage. Deontay owes me everything, I brought him to this level, and this is his second fight at the top.”
Wilder: ‘I don’t believe anything he says’
Asked whether Tyson Fury’s prediction of a second-round knockout is realistic, Wilder said, “Anything is possible in the ring, but it comes down to if he can back up his words. That is where your preparation for the fight comes out. One thing for sure, though, I am a great fighter on my back foot. That’s when I’m able to really time you and set you up, and have you run into my own traps. He has a lot of things going on in his camp so that tells you how nervous he is.”
“I don’t believe anything Fury says. I think he is just trying to butter me up and use a lot of mind games. He did that in the first fight to try and steal rounds, so we were lucky that we had experienced judges that weren’t influenced by that. I am not concerned with what I says, I am more focused on what he does. I am a man of action.”
“I am planning for everything, but I think when coming forward doesn’t work for him, he will resort to what he knows. He may try to come forward at first, but once he feels my power, that will stop quickly.”
“Round 12 has been in his mind since day one, that’s why he ran away from the rematch. In the back of Fury’s mind, he will think about how I gave him a concussion and how he had no idea how he even got on the ground. So, I do believe that round is in his head, and if he says otherwise, he is lying.”
“I deserve to be here because of the talent I have and what I am able to do. I have been knocking guys out for 12 years, so this is nothing new to me. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Fury: ‘I’m looking for the knockout’
“Wanting to go head to head with him is a bold move, but we fight fire with fire,” said Fury. “When I went at him in the first fight, though, he could not contain me. If I start doing that in round one, then he will be gassed by round five and hanging on for dear life, if he even gets that far.”
“He’s going to try to and the right hand. If I’m stupid enough to get hit with it, I deserve to lose. I hit the floor last time, but I showed that I’m truly a fighting man. If he can’t finish me, I’m going to eat him up.
“It’s been no secret that I’m looking for a knockout. That’s why I hired Sugarhill and went back to Kronk. He gets you to sit down on that big right hand, and that’s the game plan.”
What I did last time clearly was not good enough, and what better club to go to than Kronk? I know they can bring out of me exactly what I need for this fight.”
The trainers weigh in
Deontay Wilder has worked with just one trainer his entire career, Jay Deas. Tyson Fury recently switched trainers, bringing on SugarHill Steward out of Detroit’s storied Kronk Gym.
“Sugar is a great trainer, so we are ready for the best Tyson Fury,” said Deas. “When Deontay wins this fight, he will get the credit for beating Tyson at his absolute best. I don’t want any talk about anything else. I want both guys at their best, and I think that’s what we’ve got.”
Of the fighters getting physical with each other Wednesday, Deas shrugged it off. “It’s fight week, this is what is supposed to happen. This is what happens when you have the two best heavyweights in the world, both undefeated and highly motivated. I wouldn’t expect anything less than this type of energy.”
Steward agreed on this point.
“I am excited watching the fighters’ reactions today. Up until now, it has been quiet and subtle. Today you saw the mood swings, and all the hard work the fighters have put into their training camps. Emotions are going up, and emotions are going down, but this is what big-time boxing is. Both of these fighters have a chip on their shoulder and are expressing themselves as they should.”
Tickets for the event are still available, and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Instagram and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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