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Tyson Fury: Wilder "knows what's coming"

Undefeated former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury tells CNN that heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder "knows what's coming for him - the beast is coming."

Posted: Dec 1, 2018 11:38 AM
Updated: Dec 1, 2018 11:38 AM

Tyson Fury bought a convertible Ferrari in 2016 and made the decision to drive it off a bridge at top speed.

At the time, Fury had it all: a loving wife and children, and was the heavyweight champion of the world.

But he says he was "frozen in 2015" -- the time of his greatest triumph when he shocked Ukraine great Wladimir Klitschko.

The three-year thaw has been long and painful, but in theory, it will reach its climax with another world title shot against Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videos

In the intervening time, Fury has very publicly dealt with his demons of drugs, drink and depression.

It was "the lowest low that anyone could ever have," he recalled of that moment behind the wheel of the Ferrari where "I gave up on life."

Thoughts of his children wrestled him back to sanity, and he quickly sought help.

A psychiatrist warned family members he was an imminent death risk. The slow climb back to physical and mental health began when fellow boxer Billy Joe Saunders, his cousin and best friend, lured him to his boxing camp in Marbella, Spain.

Going in, Fury topped the scales at a whopping 392 pounds. By the end of the Spanish camp, he was already 28 pounds lighter.

Now back on the brink of another heavyweight title, the 30-year-old's resurrection is almost complete.

READ: Wilder vs.Fury: Tempers flare in angry exchange

'Quick fix'

Boxing has also been Wilder's salvation. The American picked up the gloves at the age of 19 -- far older than most of his peers -- after his daughter Naieya was born with spina bifida. He thought the sport would offer a financial quick fix to help pay for treatment.

"All I was thinking about was the money," he said. "I thought everyone made a lot of money by just stepping into the ring. My focus was to do whatever I could to support my daughter."

Naieya remains his guiding light in the ring, and he has a tattoo on his hand with the words "Road to Success" to remind him of his personal journey.

Branding himself a leader, king and soldier, the 33-year-old Wilder has a contrasting boxing background to that of Fury.

The son of a pastor, the family were just $50 away from going broke on a number of occasions.

At his parents' behest, he worked hard and became a college basketball star before getting his then girlfriend pregnant with Naieya and quitting college for a life within the ropes.

Shed 'a welterweight'

In contrast, Fury's name alone meant he was born to box. As he said back in 2014, "While other kids watched cartoons, I watched video tapes of boxing."

But it was not his namesake Mike Tyson that he aspired to emulate, instead Michael Spinks, renowned for his skilful boxing and footwork.

Born into the traveling community prematurely at little more than a pound, for a time Fury was the self-styled "Gypsy King" in the ring. Undefeated in his 27 fights, Fury insists the greatest threat to his own thrown has always been himself.

As he has said repeatedly this week, "The only one to stop me being successful as a boxer is me."

The turnaround has been remarkable. "I've come back from wanting to commit suicide and 28 stone [392 pounds) to as fit as a fiddle and in a great place mentally," he said.

Fury has shed nearly 140 pounds -- akin to an entire welterweight -- and much of his return to form and fitness is down to the relatively unknown trainer Ben Davison, who was working initially with Saunders in Marbella.

Shedding that weight has only been part of the fix. Post-Klitschko, Fury took cocaine and drank heavily. On the road to recovery, religion has been key. At his lowest ebb, he prayed to God. There are still days where he thinks "this is shit."

Getting inside Klitschko's head

The one major blot in his own salvation story is a positive test for a banned substance in February 2015 for which he received a two-year backdated ban from UK Anti-Doping, which left him free to box again in December 2017.

READ: Fury vacates heayweight belts

But there is no doubting his self-belief as a boxer. Against Klitschko, no one gave him a chance but he completely outboxed the Ukrainian.

The secret to that success lay in the build-up. Famously turning up as Batman to one press conference, Fury was a conundrum the normally methodical Klitschko could not work out.

It was the same in the ring -- one sparring partner likened Fury to an octopus, with attacks coming from everywhere, making him immensely difficult to prepare for.

As one of Wilder's team, Mark Breland, put it: "Even Tyson Fury doesn't know what he's going to do. If he doesn't know, then how can his opponent know? Tyson is the most awkward guy in the division, he's the hardest to figure out."

The evidence of Wednesday's final press conference would suggest Fury has got inside Wilder's head, such was the vitriol from the American. The alternative, cynical view would simply be that two men had millions more to be made from the pay-per-view audience -- the thinking being no publicity is bad publicity.

For his part, Wilder is adamant he won't fall into the same traps as Klitschko: "This is not Klitschko. I looked him in his eyes at the first press conference and said I'm not Klitschko, you can't get in my head."

Trying to assess the fight is nigh-on impossible. Fury has added Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach to his corner, either an astute bit of business or a late sign of panic from Fury and Davison, depending on your take.

Wilder is the No.1 ranked American, Fury Britain's No.2 behind Anthony Joshua, who is primed to face the winner in April in London.

"Either of them that's ready, if you're serious, talk about me post-fight all you want, but if you're not really serious about fighting, leave me out of it so I can focus on fighting someone else," said Joshua.

A Joshua fight would finally unify the division. First, comes Saturday night in front of Wilder's home crowd, although Fury insists home advantage will have little impact with Wilder not heralded in the same way as Mike Tyson and the past American heavyweight greats.

Either way, it is a salvation for both; Fury for his mind, Wilder for his child.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 263023

Reported Deaths: 5752
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17675191
Hinds16813331
Harrison14224204
Rankin11167219
Jackson10839190
Lee9050144
Madison8568168
Jones6668114
Forrest6177124
Lauderdale6097192
Lowndes5518120
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Lamar503965
Washington4923125
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Warren3674103
Monroe3671108
Union355663
Marshall355270
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Hancock291862
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Pike268981
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Scott259648
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Prentiss252553
Tippah249250
Copiah249049
Coahoma248054
Simpson242171
Leake237367
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Adams213671
Wayne212634
Winston207371
George204339
Newton199046
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Tishomingo194161
Chickasaw189044
Jasper179538
Holmes171768
Clay165837
Tallahatchie156235
Stone151425
Clarke147262
Calhoun140822
Smith129226
Yalobusha122034
Walthall114337
Greene113529
Noxubee112926
Montgomery111636
Carroll106622
Lawrence106517
Perry104531
Amite101426
Webster96124
Tunica88821
Claiborne88325
Jefferson Davis88329
Benton85623
Humphreys84624
Kemper80520
Quitman7089
Franklin69917
Choctaw63213
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45117
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
Shelby19248132
Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
Calhoun11496206
Marshall10420123
Houston8988164
Limestone832081
Cullman8257124
Elmore8183110
DeKalb7871107
Lauderdale7847107
St. Clair7808130
Talladega6445112
Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
Conecuh97822
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
Choctaw51924
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