Tyson Fury believes Wladimir Klitschko win will make him as big as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Tyson Fury claims he can be as big as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if he beats Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night, writes David Anderson in Dusseldorf.
Fury believes winning the world heavyweight title would make him a global superstar like the two footballing greats.
“When Mike Tyson was world heavyweight champion, he would have ranked with the Messis and Ronaldos of today,” said the unbeaten challenger.
“Klitschko, he doesn’t rank up there with those superstars of today. Take him out of Germany and he’s not really that well known.“But me, for instance, when I beat him, I can be a global phenomenon because of my personality, my boxing style and the way I conduct myself.
“I could be one of the most famous sporting stars in the country - in the world. A win over Wladimir Klitschko would put me right up there with those great players.”
Fury, 27, is adamant the can take Klitschko’s WBA Super, IBF and WBO crowns to make history by becoming Britain’s first white world heavyweight champion since the legendary Bob Fitzsimmons in the 1890s.
“Britain has not had a white heavyweight champion of the world since Bob Fitzsimmons over a hundred years ago,” said the Traveller, who could earn a career best purse of £3.5million.
“I want to change that. I know how big a deal this is and I want to make history. I’m the Gypsy King and I want to be the first gypsy to win the world heavyweight title.”
Not since Oz from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet has Dusseldorf hosted such a big lump from Britain as Fury.
The challenger is as loud and colourful as Jimmy Nail’s Geordie brickie from the hit 1980s TV show set in this city on the banks of the Rhine.
Ever the entertainer, Fury has amused with his stunts in the build-up to tonight’s £30million clash with Klitschko by dressing up as Batman and serenading the champ.
Now the games are over and at 10.15pm Saturday, the serious business starts of trying to beat the world’s best heavyweight, who is undefeated in 11 years.
Fury does not lack confidence and on the eve of the clash in front of a 50,000-plus crowd in the Esprit Arena, he was goading Klitschko.
He claimed his opponent was chinny because he has been stopped three times and said he was the Trojan Horse to breach the Ukrainian’s defences.“Chins don’t get any better,” said the unbeaten challenger. “They just get worse. Let’s face it, when Wladimir is tagged on the chin, he wobbles all over and goes down.
“Make no mistake, he’s almost made his chin like the city of Troy with its high walls. But even Troy was breached with brains, wasn’t it? And I’m the Trojan Horse for him. He may think he’s Superman, but I’ve the Kryptonite and I can handle his powers with ease.”
All good knockabout stuff from Fury, but his words will count for little when the first bell sounds.
And rather than Klitschko’s chin, he should focus on other parts of the champ’s anatomy, principally his booming right hand, piston jab and left hook.
Klitschko, with 27 world title fights behind him, believes Fury is too inexperienced to realise he is out of his depthThe WBA Super, IBF and WBO title holder has the insurance of a rematch clause should he lose and is adamant he will not need it.
“He’s undefeated so thinks he is the king of the world,” he said. “But he’s not climbed a hill, yet alone a mountain. It’s immaturity, yes.”
Klitschko, 39, intends to dictate tonight’s fight with his jab and keep out of range of Fury’s four-inch longer reach.
He has insisted on a 24ft ring – the largest allowed – and is ready to engage if, as expected, Fury goes toe-to-toe with him.
Klitschko was knocked down earlier in his career, including in a 2004 defeat by Lamont Brewster.
Watch Tyson Fury SING to Klitschko during public workout:
Fury unloaded one last salvo at him before wrapping up his final press conference.
“He’s mutton dressed as lamb,” he said, warming to his insult. “He’s like a 40-year-old woman full of make-up. From half a mile away they look like a supermodel, but when you get up to her, you realise she’s all soft and saggy. She looks like a right dog.
“That’s what Wlad is. He’s all painted and pretty. He’s pumped a few weights, he looks good, but it’s all glitter and mirrors. It ain’t what it seems to be. All that glitters is not gold.
"And if me at 27, in the prime of my life, can’t beat a 40-year-old, then I might as well pack it in. I’ll be a fraud.”
Bold words, but Fury winning would be the biggest heavyweight upset since Hasim Rahman sensationally knocked out Lennox Lewis in 2001, and I expect Klitschko to stop him.
Tale of the tape
Hamburg & Kiev
The Gypsy King
WBA Super, IBF, WBO, European and Heavyweight Commonwealth