Last week, your writer spoke with John Fury ahead of what was set to be the biggest challenge of his son’s life. Unless you’re enduring the effects of a particularly adventurous weekend, you’ll know by now that Tyson Fury’s undisputed heavyweight fight with Oleksandr Usyk has been pushed back to May due to a cut sustained in sparring.
This rendered much of my hour-long sit-down with the elder Fury a little out of date as the publication deadline approached. But the man they call ‘Big’ John is nothing if not an enthusiastic orator. As well as an in-depth chat about the now-nixed Fury-Usyk fight, John spoke at length about a number of other topics. It is these discussions that Betfred Insights present to you here, in association with FreeBets.com, for whom John is an ambassador.
On fighting Mike Tyson
Let me tell you, if the reward outweighs the risk I’m up for it. I have people wanting to fight me every day. There's only one man I’d get in the ring with. There's nobody else. Mike Tyson.
Even though he doesn't want to fight me. He wants to fight everybody else. I don't get that, but that's up to him. I'm not going to bang on about it. He knows where it's at with me, I’d fight him at the crack of a hat if the business sense is right, because it's a business. I've got still faculties going on in my head. I can put stuff together in my mind. If it's not beneficial, if it's not Mike Tyson, if the reward doesn't outweigh the risk, forget about John Fury. I'm too clever by far. I'm not like my sons that’ll carry on forever and a day.
The Saudis have given him a brilliant offer. He doesn't need the money. He's working. He's working well with the Saudis over there. Why should he get in there? And why should he do what he doesn't want to do?
Me, I've always been short of money so it would change my life. I could probably go and get killed crossing the road. That's how I look at life. I could get on an aeroplane to Saudi and never even get there, God forbid. So for me, getting in the ring and fighting a great like him, (I’d be) straight in there. Because the reward outweighs the risk. All these other people calling John Fury out are wasting their breath. I’m not interested in them, they bring nothing to my table. You know? They want off me like I want off Mike Tyson.
Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou
It's down to management, isn't it? Looking at just how Tyson performed, we're taking nothing away from Ngannou. If you’re not tricky, like Tyson, Ngannou will knock you spark out. Don't worry about that. I'll be surprised if this fight takes place to tell you the truth. Because it’s not a good move, is it?
It’s a risk at the highest level for AJ. Because you can't gauge AJ on how he looked for (Otto) Wallin, because Wallin crapped himself he didn't want to fight. He’d come for the money because some fighters, they’re beat before they start. He had his number. He saw AJ stood like a big Adonis and obviously the muscle situation frightened the life out of Wallin.
Some fighters do absolutely crap their self, when you see the big muscular setup. That's why everybody brings their A-game for Tyson, because they’re not scared of him. He’s a bit fattier, a few bingo wings, he’s not threatening to look at. They bring their A game.
But in AJ’s presence, Wallin totally and absolutely embarrassed his full team. I’d have wondered about paying him to be honest. Because when you look how he fought against Tyson. I know Tyson was not his best that night again. But he showed bravery. It was a different fighter.
I'm not taking nothing away from AJ, he looked sharp, you know, powerful. He looked different, a man on a mission. You know why? Because AJ knew the other one was frightened of him. Because one fighter knows another. He thought “You're terrified of me? I'm gonna look sensational here.” It's all about mentality. He knew he could beat Wallin. You're gonna look sensational, aren't you? But if you're getting in the ring thinking “Hang on, could get chinned here”, you're cautious yourself. If (AJ isn’t cautious with Ngannou) he’ll get his lights put out.
Ngannou is 6’4” or 6’5”. I’ve been up close to him, he’s that wide. Just muscle. I said to Tyson, “Can he punch?”. (He said) “Can he? Don’t worry about that!” And it’s only the ‘Gypsy King’ that can get up, let me tell you. If I was managing AJ, it wouldn’t be something I’d want to do. Especially with the winner of (Fury vs Usyk) lurking around the corner.
I know he’s getting paid well for this. But it’s probably his last hurrah. Because I think Ngannou stands a very good chance of beating any heavyweight in the entire world today. He’s good, powerful, he’s there in your face isn’t he? He ain’t going anywhere.
AJ would have to show a different set of balls than in any of his other fights, messing with Ngannou. Because don't forget Tyson is a tricky heavyweight, he’s slipping most of the shots. But he still caught Tyson. At the end of the day, it’s tricky business. If he wins, sensational win, But if he doesn't, where does AJ go?
(Ngannou) is no mug. If they think he’s useless, looking at Tyson, Tyson’s good when he's bad Always remember that. He's on a different level to these men mentally. Tyson, for Ngannou, never turned up. Two o'clock in the morning for the ring entrance, in the dressing room I can see he lost interest. He never looked right from the off.
When I got off that plane a week before I looked at him and went “You don't look right”. When we got done with four rounds of sparring he couldn't get his breath. That was a week before the fight. You know your own children. Just didn't look right. I thought there's something wrong with him from the off. But he's that proud of a man he'll go through with anything. But Tyson, on form, beats the two of them in the same night.
Saudi Arabia becoming the home of boxing
They're the men with the big fat chequebook. People are going to go where the money is. Everything the Saudis do, the reward is outweighing the risk. So it'll keep going on and on until the Saudis get sick of it. Till they get what they want out of it. But until that happens, there's gonna be a lot of rich heavyweights and boxers and sportsmen in other fields. Because they're putting the money up. They pay for what they want.
The Saudis, a great country. I like the people. I like the way they carry on. They’re my kind of folk to be honest with you, They’re straightforward, if they want something they pay for it. Great people, they are doing a fantastic job. They've given it a lifeline injection, boxing. Took it to a new level. And everybody out there is a lot richer.
They deserve to be because fighters might never see that level of money in 10 lifetimes. So I'm glad that the Saudis have come up with an idea to let the non-world champions get what they deserve. And that's a payday. Everybody who climbs through those ropes deserves paying well because it’s a dangerous sport.
Has Tyson Fury boxed in the UK for the last time?
I think most definitely. I thought that when he fought Chisora the last time. But we've got the best crowds in the world, haven't we? Forget about the money. You're never gonna get 90,000 in Saudi.
The atmosphere, the people, the crowd; that outweighs the money. Is Usyk and Tyson going to be any more electrifying than Dillian Whyte and Tyson? 90,000? Freezing cold weather? I don't think so. I had goosebumps walking to that ring. I don't get goosebumps anywhere else.
When you walk out to the roar and people, 90,000, come on. I felt like a Division One football player when I walked out. I enjoyed it probably more than Tyson! You see how it got to him. He was running to the ring. Every member of the team, every one of us are running. That’s adrenaline. That's what the crowd does to you. Without atmosphere nothing is worthwhile. We've got the greatest boxing fans in the world.
Will John fight for his country if conscription happens?
If they’ll take an old age pensioner, why not? At my stage of the game, put me on the front line. I'll do my bit, don't worry about that. So will all my sons. If war breaks out, get us in, Because we’ll all do it. Because we're too proud not to do it. You think we're gonna sit back and let other people die? While we're sat here? You can't do that. If you look in the mirror and you value your family name. We're meant to be fighters. A war breaks out and you're gonna hide in the closet? Come on, Fury’s don't do that.
John Fury spoke courtesy of FreeBets.com