Tyson Fury row: I was strip-searched on way into US… world title fight with Deontay Wilder almost off says Brit
- Tyson Fury has revealed his blockbuster fight with Deontay Wilder was almost off
- The 30-year-old said he had trouble getting into America and was strip-searched
- Fury faces knockout merchant Wilder for the WBC world title next weekend
- He intends to stay fighting in the US if he beats the American in Los Angeles
- The ex-world champion also insisted he knew his father couldn’t get into the US
Shedding 10 stones? Piece of cake. Dodging the most concussive right hook in boxing? Easy-peasy. Winning the WBC world heavyweight title? All in a night’s work.
How about getting into America? Now that was a problem. One which had Tyson Fury seriously worried that he might be barred from being here in the City of Angels for next Saturday’s battle of the giants against Deontay Wilder.
The tortuous process of acquiring a US visa took two-and-a-half years, starting just three months after his seismic shock of a victory over the long-reigning world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Tyson Fury has revealed his fight with Deontay Wilder next weekend was almost called off
Even then his right of passage was almost scuppered when he landed at New York’s John F Kennedy airport eight weeks ago.
As he was putting the final touches to his astonishing weight loss and re-conditioning at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood presided over by Freddie Roach, the fabled trainer he has just added to his corner, Fury explained: ‘We started this in February 2016. There were meetings, lot and lots of meetings, at the US embassy.
‘We got through it. But then when I arrived in America they (the immigration officers) took me away to a back room. Asked a lot of questions and I was strip-searched.
‘Why? I don’t really know. I don’t have any criminal record but I still struggled to get the visa. They said they thought I looked a shady character. There was some talk of what went off when I went to see one of Wilder’s fights in New York and that I might cause a riot.
‘As we all know, these people have the right to do whatever they want. If they say its Tuesday, it’s Tuesday. Fight could have been off. That would have been nice. But after more than four hours they let me in.’
Fury has shed 10 stone to get back to optimum fighting weight ahead of his world title fight
The self-styled Gypsy King said he almost didn’t get a chance to fight for world honours again
Fury said he was strip-searched on arrival to the US because he looked a shady character
Fury confronted Wilder in the ring after he knocked out Artur Szpilka in New York in 2016
Fury confirmed that he always knew his father, John, could not be at ringside in the splendid Staples Center in downtown LA as he bids to wrest the only heavyweight belt he is yet to hold from Wilder, the hardest and most deadly knock-out puncher in the world.
‘There was never any chance of my father coming here,’ says Fury. ‘Not with his criminal record. He has a section 18 on his record and he knows that’s too serious for him to be allowed in.
‘So he didn’t even think about trying for a visa. No point. I don’t know why there was suddenly a story about me being upset. We knew the positon all along.’
A lot money was hanging in the balance – reputedly $10m each for Fury and Wilder – during those long hours in the interview room.
The deliberations also threatened to lay to waste all the hard work Fury has put in so as to come down to his fighting weight from almost 400 lbs.
Even so – in his prime at 30 – Fury now says he is considering doing the rest of his boxing in the United States.
He says: ‘After I win the WBC belt will be staying here. You won’t see me fighting in England again. You heard it here first. Once I beat Wilder I will be the next big pay-per-view star in America, the land of opportunity.’
He has worked on his astonishing weight loss under the tutelage of trainer Ben Davidson
He has been preparing in Los Angeles the last few weeks and added Freddie Roach to his team
There are times when it is prudent to take with a pinch of salt some of the Gypsy King’s more extravagant statements. There are still tickets available in the 20,000 capacity arena here and he is a brilliant salesman.
However there is a possible scenario which could make sense of such a decision. There is believed to be a clause in the contract by which Wilder can evoke a rematch in the event of Fury winning.
A second fight would almost certainly take place in America, probably Las Vegas. That eventuality would push onto the back burner any fight between the winner and WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO title-holder Anthony Joshua to find the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
Furthermore, with the Wilder-Joshua negotations still at an impasse and AJ showing little inclination to fight Fury any time soon, there is a danger of that stadium blockbuster never happening.
A different re-match, Joshua against Dillian Whyte at Wembley on April 13, looks increasingly likely.
The former world champion plans to stay fighting in America if he wins the WBC title
Nevertheless, in his confidence that he will rebuff the Fury challenge, Wilder is disappointed that Joshua has decided not to cross the Atlantic himself to be at ringside.
The Bronze Bomber says: ‘I don’t want to look past Fury but I am as serious as always about wanting the next fight. There should be one face, one name, one champion. That’s what I want.
‘The American people remember Fury coming to my fight in New York. That moment when he was with me in the ring had a big impact.
‘If Joshua came here we could start whipping up the excitement. Big time. For an even bigger fight. Why not add fuel to the fire?’
Joshua has cited prior obligations to his sponsors but Wilder says: ‘What kind of an excuse is that when we’re looking at a fight this huge?. I’ve always been ready for this. The door’s not fully closed yet. I still think it will happen at its appointed time.’
The 30-year-old also said he already knew his father John would not gain access to America
Fury said previously: ‘It would be a sin against boxing and the fans if the three of us don’t fight each other.’
Now, with Wilder only days away, he says of Joshua: ‘I couldn’t care less about him. Not interested. I’m only thinking about this fight here.’
Fury goes into the Staples Center as a considerable under-dog in the betting. Understandably, since this is only the third fight of his comeback from an absence of two years from the ring since he dethroned Klitschko and the first two were comfortable warm-ups.
But his physical and psychological recovery from the effects of bingeing and boozing, achieved with the help of his new young lead trainer Ben Davison and a nutritionist, is remarkable to behold. With this big man, there is never any knowing what he will do next.
The WBC heavyweight champion has not ruled out fighting Anthony Joshua in the future
But the American has insisted he is only focusing on the 6 foot 9 in Fury for the time being
Wilder v Fury will be televised live late next Saturday exclusively on BT Sports Box Office, at £19.95
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