“There’s my happiness there,” he suddenly blurts, abruptly interrupting his own train of thought and pointing to a nearby Bible which he proceeds to pick up and open at a pre-selected page. “God. I think I’m a very spiritual person and without this thing ‘ere, my life ain’t worth living. When I go down the wrong track, having a good time, driving fast, drinking, messing around with women, anything that feels good or you like is bad to this.
“I was gonna read you a little passage and I think this is why I’m not really bothered about nothing: ‘Do not value worldly success. Do not trust worldly wealth. Repent wherever you have done these things. Recognise that worldly assets have no spiritual or heavenly value. Return to a spiritual value system wherever you have departed. Do not adopt the world’s way of thinking or standards of behaviour.’”
Documenting the life and times of Tyson Fury, one is conditioned to expect the unexpected, but even I was startled as he began to quote scripture. A self-confessed sinner in his younger years, Fury now seems to derive much-needed stability from his faith, while the humility and fraternity it prescribes may yet develop. Beyond the bluster, introspection and maudlin outlook, Fury is striving to be a better man. A higher power may have placed him on that virtuous path, but someone much closer to home is encouraging Tyson’s adherence to it.
Peter Fury enters the trailer now and the rest of us inhale, almost unconsciously, as our space is further restricted. Peter took over from another brother, the late Hughie Fury Snr, as Tyson’s trainer seven fights ago. He has made a huge difference to his nephew as an athlete and – especially given the recent and lengthy absence of John Fury – as a man.
“I just want him to win the world championship for me,” Peter remarks, unwittingly endorsing Tyson’s selfless philosophy. “I’d like him to win it and then take stock of exactly what he wants to do. Because if he decides, ‘Well, I’ve won the world title, I’ve had enough of this s***, it’s too hard, I wanna be a family man’, ‘Do what you wanna do’, I’m fully supportive whatever he wants to do, like me own lad.”
Peter excepted, we have been talking for nearly an hour, minds perpetually engaged but our long-dormant limbs, increasingly stiff and aching, beg for mercy. We start to withdraw in order to commence the photoshoot, but Tyson, figuratively speaking, grounds us with one last profound pronouncement.
“I’m 27, I don’t want to be boxing late on in life and I want to enjoy what I’ve done really,” he says, at least offering a glimmer of hope for his post-retirement future. “Because when you don’t like what you do, you don’t like your job, you don’t wanna do it, do you? I hate being here, I hate being in this trailer or in a hotel. I hate every minute of training and every minute of boxing. I just don’t like it, I’d rather be out eating s***, going to the movies. I do this because I can and I can’t earn money any other way. I’ve got no education, I’m no good at anything else so I box because, fortunately, I’m bigger than everybody else and I’m blessed with a little bit of talent.
“We’re all gonna die anyway, so it is what it is. We’re all on a one-way ticket to the grave so whatever happens, we’re just killing time.”
A rather morbid if ultimately accurate note on which to conclude our interview, but I have thoroughly enjoyed ‘killing’ the last hour with Fury, who, even on his most sombre day, remains fascinating and intelligent company. As I jump into Craig’s car, eager to return to civilisation but equally sad to leave this strangely captivating triumvirate, I reflect on a purported nihilist, his fiery father and intensely focused uncle who may use their collective talents to devastating effect in five weeks’ time.
And, as the sun defiantly re-emerges from the clouds, I ponder a man who claims he cares for little but may soon own this sport’s most coveted prize.