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Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin: British fighter on his path to ‘true happiness’

Tyson Fury speaks to BBC Radio 5 Live's Steve Bunce
Tyson Fury spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live Boxing’s Steve Bunce in Las Vegas
Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin
Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas Date: Saturday, 14 September Ring walks: 04:00 BST approx on Sunday
BBC coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and follow text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Tyson Fury is sitting in a hot tub at the house he is renting before his fight with Otto Wallin on the Las Vegas strip on Saturday.

‘I’ve fought the best boxers of my generation’

Such is his stock in the US currently, following last year’s thrilling draw with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, that Fury says he is now fielding offers for minor film roles.

This weekend the billboards for his Vegas bout bump up against those for DJ Calvin Harris and rapper Drake.

At the house, he shares tales of his first amateur bout aged 16, when he wore his father’s shorts and odd boxing boots.

He won in three rounds at an army barracks. Asked when he knew he was good, he responds: “Immediately. I didn’t come to boxing to make a life out of it or make a living. I came to be heavyweight champion of the world or nothing.

“I have never lacked confidence ever. From the first amateur fight I was going to be world champion, no doubt. Everyone in my family believed it, supported it and it was just about me putting the work in.”

At one point, late in his amateur days, a group of investors sought to sell stakes in Fury (Bunce was offered one at $100,000) and the seven-figure sum expected to be raised in total was to be used to send Fury around the world, sparring the sport’s biggest names.

The project never came to fruition but Fury admits the hype around him was “almost unsettling” and talk of him uprooting from his family felt “scary” for a teenager.

“It was going around like wildfire that there was a big lad from Manchester, a giant, wanting to spar everybody. I was on a mission to get experience.

“I turned pro at 20. I was like a child at that age. It was just a good grounding.

“I have had the biggest fights of my generation, Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder. So this is just a bonus now. Let’s have fun fights, Wilder again – let’s have whoever. I have fought the best in my generation.”

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury is expected to face WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in 2020 if the Briton wins on Saturday

Wallin… then Wilder?

By late evening, the Vegas heat has abated and a barbecue is burning nearby.

Fury records television promotional trailers in a single take. This weekend, it is rumoured his ring walk will feature a Mexican theme in acknowledgement of the country’s Independence Day celebrations.

Mexico of course now boasts the unified world heavyweight champion following Andy Ruiz Jr’s shock win over Fury’s fellow Briton Anthony Joshua.

Fury says he and Joshua now share light-hearted phone chats.

“They are just friendly banter really,” Fury says. “I will call him or he will call me. We have a little chat, tell one another we are going to knock one another out and that’s it.

“Imagine having lots of celebrities in your phone book – you’re getting them phoned aren’t you? Me and Wayne Rooney have quite a relationship, usually when we have had a few jars.”

On the face of it, Fury does not seem obsessed with regaining the world title.

He does however insist he has signed for a rematch with WBC champion Wilder on 22 February, although that date looks unrealistic given the American is yet to agree a date for his meeting with Luis Ortiz late this year.

“We both know all the details; the contract was signed,” Fury insists. “I am not stepping aside for any amount of money – I want the victory, not the money.”

But talk of Wilder is kept to a minimum. Trainer Ben Davison tells the media “life doesn’t exist beyond” Wallin. Defeat is unthinkable.

Fury says the 28-year-old Swede – who starts as a massive underdog – “has nothing to lose” and “everything to gain”.

But he sounds relaxed about the danger. Still unbeaten in the ring, Fury seems to recognise that the greater threat to his health and happiness has come from within.

As cries of ‘Viva Mexico’ ring out from the top floor of the house, this gang of trainers, minders and fighters keep up an energy Fury is clearly revelling in.

Interview done, he dives into the pool and emerges smiling – fit, happy and having fun.

About Oluwadamilare Funsho

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