Tyson Fury has sent a warning to the rest of the heavyweight division by insisting he is getting better with age after putting together a “maximum damage” tactic with trainer SugarHill Steward.
The WBC champion will return to the ring on Saturday to complete a trilogy bout with old rival Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It has been the usual rollercoaster ride for Fury since he knocked out Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 spectators at Wembley in April with a retirement u-turn followed by potential fights with Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua collapsing, which led to veteran Chisora stepping up.
This week marked the seven-year anniversary of Fury’s stunning success over Wladimir Klitschko that made him the world heavyweight champion, but also sent him down a dark hole that resulted in a mental health breakdown before one of sport’s great comeback journeys was completed.
Life in and out of the ring has been up-and-down for the ‘Gypsy King’ since that night in Dusseldorf but what has changed is his approach to boxing and it means another knockout is on the horizon.
“When I got to 29-years-old, I decided to take my career seriously. Before that it was just a joke,” Fury explained in a custom-made suit displaying Latin writing and the Lancashire red rose.
“When I boxed Wladimir seven years ago, I came into camp at just under 25 stone and I got down to 18 stone within about eight weeks. Then I still went in there and beat him up. That is not a joke. I am not lying.
“Me and (my brother) Shane were out drinking vodka skinning around a field racing in a four-wheel drive eight or nine weeks before that fight but I go over there, lose all that weight and gave him a boxing lesson. It is something I have always been able to do.
“From a little kid I have always had a natural ability to beat someone in front of me. Now as a man, as a very experienced and mature man at 34, I know what I have got to do and how to do it.
“I am not the same Tyson Fury as 2009 or 2010, I am much, much older. Like we saw with George Foreman in his second career, he changed his style. You’ve got to be smarter.
“(Bernard) Hopkins was a smart fighter in his later age. I am not the same reflex fighter as I was missing every punch. I have changed up my style now. I am a bit more smarter, a bit cuter and I do more damage with my punches. That is mainly factoring what SugarHill has brought to the table.
“Before SugarHill, I was erratic and all over the place. If you threw 100, I would want to miss 110 of them. Now I am not in a rush.
“Everything has been slowed down to do maximum damage and that’s what we’re going for every time.
Steward, the nephew of Lennox Lewis’ former trainer the late Emanuel Steward, joked Fury was still a “baby” but joined his fighter in promising the spectacular against Chisora, who lost the first two contests between the pair in 2011 and 2014.
“Tyson is still learning. There is a lot to learn and he likes to learn,” Steward insisted.
“Each time you see him go out there we see something different. The last fight was spectacular but I believe this fight he will do something even more spectacular.”
Standing in Fury’s way is big outsider Chisora, who will box for a 46th time on Saturday but has no plans to retire whatever the result.
“We’re in a golden era,” Chisora pointed out.
“Let’s all be honest. You’ve got Tyson, myself, AJ, Deontay (Wilder), Oleksandr.
“We’re talking about entertainers and people who sell out stadiums.
Friday’s weigh-in at the Business Design Centre in Islington passed by without drama with Fury set to be heavier than his battle with Whyte in April.
The WBC champion came in 19st and 2lbs with Chisora weighing 18st and 6lb on the scales.