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The riddle of Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Tyson Fury claims he’s downing pints instead of training as Eddie Hearn says the Anthony Joshua super fight is signed and sealed, writes George Gigney

IF a Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua megafight is on the verge of being formally announced, as Eddie Hearn declared on Monday (July 15), that’s news to Fury himself. Appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast of a show in Bolton, the WBC heavyweight champion gave a rather sobering update on where he stands.

“I’ve been out of the ring for a bit, so I’m back to square one again, basically,” Fury said. “I’m not training any more. I’ve packed in at the moment,” he said.

“I’m having some time away from the game at the moment because I have been ready to fight since I beat Deontay Wilder last year. So I’ve had no success in getting another fight. It’s down to COVID-19 and a lot of stuff going on. But at the moment I am concentrating on getting from 10 pints of Stella to 12 every day. I could drink 14 pints of beer and still give ‘AJ’ a hiding.”

He claimed his training team have all “gone home” and that he is not aware of the Joshua fight being agreed.

Tyson Fury
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

“I think everyone in this building knows more about this fight than me,” he continued. “Apparently it’s done, it’s signed, we’ve got a date, venue, we know how much we are getting – news to me, I don’t know Jack.

“As far as I am concerned I am not even training any more now. SugarHill [Steward, Fury’s head trainer] has gone home, he went home in November, Andy Lee has gone home. I’m burnt out. I’ve done too much. I need a rest mentally and physically and emotionally.”

Fury’s no stranger to giving interviews with his tongue kept firmly in his cheek, often contradicting himself from one day to the next, though he did seem to be trying to strike a serious tone during the broadcast.

So, his comments about feeling “burnt out” and frustrated that he’s not fought in over a year are, to an extent, worrying. Fury has made it clear in the past that training regularly is a vital tool in keeping him from falling back into depression, so if he is in fact not doing so at the moment then we must hope he can still remain in a good place.

Conversely, it seems extremely unlikely that Fury has either heard next to nothing about the Joshua negotiations, or that the comments from Eddie Hearn, Bob Arum and others about the fight being agreed are all false.

A safe bet would be that Fury was mainly just venting his frustration over being inactive and also, as only he can, putting a cat amongst the pigeons with regards to the potential Joshua fight. That’s what we’ll keep telling ourselves, anyway.

Hearn did respond to the interview, questioning whether Fury was “in a bad mood or just pulling everyone’s plonker,” and insisted that Tyson is “on board” with the fight. On Monday Hearn told ESPN that all parties had signed contracts and all that was left to do was finalise the date (likely June or July) and location, with Saudi Arabia among the favourites to snare the event.

“We know we’ve got to go out and complete the site deal but that’s quite a statement from both guys to put pen to paper… Let’s focus on what we’ve all agreed to, which is the biggest fight in boxing.”

Warren, Tyson’s UK promoter speaking to talkSPORT, hypothesised that Fury is “peed off” because of how much negotiations have dragged on, and because of how long he’s been out of the ring. Hopefully none of us will have to wait much longer.

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Just days after he announced he will now be training with Andy Lee in the UK, former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker was linked to a major international drug importation and supply conspiracy in New Zealand.

As reported in various New Zealand news outlets, Parker has been fighting for the past two years to keep his name out of the press with regards to the case. He has never been charged in connection with the case.

Last week, the Supreme Court in New Zealand ended Parker’s bid for secrecy after ordering his name suppression to expire, revealing that it is alleged Parker played a role in the importation of methamphetamine by transporting and changing currency.

He aggressively denied the claims made in court, which were a bombshell in Parker’s home country.

Whether true or not, the allegations will be damaging to Parker’s reputation in New Zealand, where he is a superstar.

The Telegraph revealed that Billy Joe Saunders’ upcoming fight with Canelo Alvarez will not be shown on Sky Sports, despite Hearn’s contract with the broadcaster.

Saunders’ two most recent fights have been shown on Sky since he linked up with Hearn, but the biggest fight of his career to date will instead air on DAZN in the UK. Sky did not put in a bid to secure rights to the fight.

Some speculated that this was due to Saunders’ links to Daniel Kinahan, who was at the centre of a recent BBC Panorama investigation. However, Hearn insisted that it is simply because Canelo’s current contract with DAZN – which includes global broadcast rights – supersedes Hearn’s with Sky in this instance. Saunders also made a few headlines by claiming on social media that he had torn his scrotum, just a few days after also stating he has recently had the flu. The first claim was clearly a prank and while the illness also appears to be untrue, some have taken it at face value.

Either way, Saunders’ focus would be better used solely on the gargantuan task he faces on May 8 when he challenges the best fighter on the planet.

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