‘I’d rather be living in the sewers of Las Vegas than return to my mental hell’: Tyson Fury at peace ahead of showdown with Otto Wallin in Sin City
- Tyson Fury takes on Swedish underdog Otto Wallin in Las Vegas on Saturday
- The unbeaten puncher reflected on his mental health struggle ahead of the fight
- The Gypsy King also insists he will be fighting for fun at the T-Mobile Arena
There are some dark quarters of Sin City hidden away behind the glamour and the glitz and those run-down areas have been as much on Tyson Fury’s fertile mind as the arc lights under which he will fight here on Saturday.
When he goes to the glittering T-Mobile Arena to ‘have fun’ boxing Swedish under-dog Otto Wallin it will be his first excursion along the fabled neon Strip during this trip.
‘I’m enjoying Vegas again,’ he says, ‘but without going so much as one time to the Strip, I’ve just been training and thinking how I would rather be skint, living among the homeless in the underground sewers of Vegas than return to the mental hell I’ve come back from.
Tyson Fury insisted he would rather live in sewers than battle with his mental health again
‘If all my achievements, all the properties, all the money, all the cars were stripped away it wouldn’t matter to me as long as I am content. I’d be happier like that, skint, than if I had to go back to that bad place I’ve been but had a billion dollars in the bank.
‘None of those things make me the man I am. I would still be El Rey Gitanos (a Spanish translation in honour of this weekend’s Mexican Independence celebrations here), a man who can sip a cup of tea with kings or sit down with a pauper and share half a lager.’
The reflective muse is upon the Gypsy King as he holds court on the outskirts of town. It is a mood focused around the finishing of his first autobiography, the writing of which has involved two years spent reviewing his turbulent, complex journey in all its trials, triumphs and tribulations.
Fury steps into the ring in Las Vegas to take on underdog Swede Otto Wallin on Saturday
He promises that Behind The Mask, which hits the bookstands in November, will reveal the full Fury so often disguised by his extravagant flair for showmanship.
But it is in a relaxed frame of mind, now, that he can survey his journey from the depths of depression to defending his lineal world heavyweight title here in the boxing capital of the world.
The demons which he believes will be part of making this ‘the most anticipated sports autobiography ever’ are under his management now ‘on a day-to-day basis.’
He explains: ‘I’m happy now and for me that means way more than anything I could ever achieve. In fact, I have nothing left to achieve, no more boxes to tick, I’ve accomplished everything I ever wanted to do.
Fury is in a relaxed frame of mind and plans to ‘have fun’ boxing Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena
‘What would this 31-year-old Tyson Fury have told the 14-year-old Tyson Fury as he was setting out on this road? This: ”Relax kid, we’re flying to the stars. The day will come when we don’t need more. Don’t want more. The day to enjoy the rest of our life.”
‘I’m under no pressure now. No stress. I can fight for fun and if someone beats me good luck to him because I’m being paid a lot of money to go into the ring and have fun entertaining people like all the Mexicans who love their boxing.’
The sunshine now enlightening Fury’s life rises with him every morning. He says: ‘I was the guy who went to the gym but then went out and ate 25 fast food meals and downed dozens of pints of beer and put on hundreds of pounds.
‘Now I get up and my first thought is to go train hard all morning. That creates the endomorphines in my body which make me feel my best ever. They last until about 6.30 to 7 o’clock in the evening so I go training again to rebuild them.’
The purification of Fury engages mind as well as body. ‘Bitterness burns you up inside,’ he says. ‘I no longer resent any bad things that have been done or said to me. I don’t hold grudges any more.
‘I don’t know why other promoters who play no part in my life (presumably a reference to Eddie Hearn) hate me for my success and all the money I’m getting from the biggest TV network in the world (Disney/ESPN). Shouldn’t they be happy for me like I was happy for Floyd Mayweather when he got $500 million for one fight?
‘I no longer resent any bad things that have been done or said to me’, Fury has admitted
‘But I’ve learned to forgive the haters because they are soon forgotten. Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all, had many haters but nobody remembers one of them. Jesus Christ had countless haters who smashed him up. If he could forgive them all then me, a mere mortal human being, can forgive and forget.’
Fury denies that he is looking ahead to the world championship super-rematch with Deontay Wilder which is programmed for February 22 in Vegas assuming they both win their upcoming fights.
‘I don’t know if I will still be alive next year,’ he says. ‘I used to worry about the ifs in life but I pay no attention to that little word now. I am not interested in the word legacy either. It doesn’t matter what people who we don’t know think about us after we’re gone.
‘It’s enough for me to believe I’m a unique personality. It is enough to know that we lived in the time of Tyson Fury. Me? I’ll be sitting at home having a jam sandwich and a cuppa tea looking out across Morecambe Bay.’
Fury denies that he is focused on a world championship super-rematch with Deontay Wilder
Wallin, a barely-known albeit undefeated Swede, feels inspired to emulate the late Ingemar Johannson, who has been idolised in that country since becoming its only world heavyweight champion by knocking out Floyd Patterson in New York 60 years ago.
Following the sudden death of his father this May, he also takes heart from how Buster Douglas drew on his mother’s death to KO Mike Tyson in the biggest upset of modern boxing history.
Fury identifies ‘a bond’ to Tyson, on whose radio talk show he has just appeared, saying: ‘We’ve been through a lot of the same things.’ Then he says ‘we even look a bit alike’ which seems odd until he shows a picture on his phone of the two of them together in which there is something of a similarity.
Wallin, as a 1-36 outsider, is unlikely to ‘do a Buster’ and disturb Fury’s reverie by lasting much longer than the two rounds which Germany’s unheard of Tom Schwarz survived against the Gypsy King here earlier this summer.
The Gypsy King also admitted that Las Vegas had become his ‘home away from home’
The end of Fury’s story cannot be written yet but there are clues as to how a final chapter to his book might read as he addresses speculation that he, his wife Paris and their children might relocate to Vegas, where most if not all his remaining fights are expected to take place.
‘This has become my home away from home,’ he says. ‘But I do love Morecambe. Also I am all about family and I will never abandon my mother, my father, brothers, nieces, nephews and friends. They’ve all been there for me. If the ship goes down we all go down together, as the captain says. We started together and we finish together. That’s it.’
And that’s all he wrote. So far.
Fury v Wallin will be televised live late on Saturday on BT Sport Box Office.
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