IT occurred to me, as Tyson Fury sprang over the tables, the cape of his Batman costume flapping behind him, and barrelled into a man dressed as The Joker, that this was not panning out like a typical press conference.
Few men can accelerate from zero to crazy with quite the same rapidity as Tyson Fury. In fact no one in boxing, sport or regular human life, other than Tyson Fury, would charge into a press conference, dressed as a superhero, run round the room to the theme music from the (classic) Batman television series before launching himself bodily into a co-conspirator.
It was strangely risky for someone contesting the world heavyweight title in little over a month’s time. As he grappled with The Joker the two rolled along the floor, through a table, sending Wladimir Klitschko’s world title belts flying. They rolled back over them and ploughed into a bank of photographers, who scattered as the two large men in fancy dress fetched up at my feet. What unforeseen genius, I thought, to have sat in the second row today.
I’d been at the Vitali Klitschko press conference, over four years ago now, that finished with Dereck Chisora and David Haye brawling right in front of me. That encounter had had genuine menace, Haye hefting a tripod was not lightly done, neither literally nor figuratively. This was in jest though later in the press conference, Fury’s temper badly frayed as, ironically, he threatened to lose control at being called a ‘clown’.
There probably is method to the madness. Perhaps he was trying to rattle Wladimir Klitschko, anger him and make the champion less composed in the fight. Maybe he was doing his bit to rack up pay-per-view sales, or he’s trying to convince Klitschko that he’s going to be in the ring with a maniac. Or maybe it just felt like a good idea at the time. Fury is as Fury does.
The stunt will get attention, which just on its own merits the fight deserves. Klitschko for his part did not seem fazed, though surely he must have felt that he, or at least the title belts they’ll fight for, deserve more respect.
As Klitschko adopted a professorial tone with him, lecturing his challenger, Fury did seem agitated. For all we know Tyson may have the capacity to switch from a wild tirade back to normalcy in an instant. We had the sound, we had the Fury, but we still need to see whether Tyson is indeed crazy enough to win. Klitschko has an unnerving knack of forcing opponents into their shell once the first bell has rung to leave them alone in the ring. Fury at least has given every indication he won’t lose his madcap, reckless approach. You might not be able to win a press conference, but Tyson will at least take comfort that on this occasion he, not Klitschko, took control.