Linear heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury sinks his chunky 6-foot-9-inch frame into the brown leather couch in the spacious two-story home he rents in the southern highlands, switching effortlessly between sarcastic and serious during a series of phone interviews performs before his fight with Otto Wallin.
The 31-year-old resident of Lancashire, England, is not looking for the proverbial spotlight, but sees it as perhaps the best heavyweight in the world. He combines talkative bravery with uncanny sensitivity.
For his own entertainment, if nothing else. Just like he does in the ring.
“I think Tyson is round,” said his coach Ben Davison. “If you want to play mind games, he can play mind games. If you want to keep it relaxed, he can keep it relaxed. But if he needs to turn it on, he can turn it on. “
Like his Las Vegas debut in June. How he plans to do it again on Saturday.
Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) meets Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) in the T-Mobile Arena. Fury made his Las Vegas debut at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and scored a technical knockout in the second round against the then undefeated Tom Schwarz. Since then he has loved the lifestyle in southern Nevada.
So much so that he is considering buying a house in the valley.
“When you wake up in the sunshine, you’re in a good mood,” said Fury, who would much rather talk about defeating depression than the prospect of defeating his enemy Deontay Wilder. “I want to focus on positivity.”
Fury is still wondering about the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip, but this time from his backyard, which is about 12 miles away.
“I think it’s a good place if you like to drink, play and party,” he said. “And have good food and stay in nice hotels and do nice things and shop.”
Oh, and boxing.
Fury vowed to travel to Las Vegas for just one fight and spent most of two decades mastering his craft in England. He rose to a top heavyweight in Europe, defeating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to win the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles before depression caused nearly three years of inactivity.
But he made a triumphant return last summer, fought the vaunted Wilder to a draw in December and pulverized Black in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,012.
“The first time I did everything. I went down the strip, ”he said. “I’ve been to hotels and shops, to pool parties. All of these things. The clubs, bars and restaurants. I got everything out of my system. “
Fury didn’t visit attractions on the Strip during the brunt of his five-week training camp and instead opted for rigorous twice-a-day training and relaxation at his home.
“I’m sitting in the room and basically doing nothing,” he said. “I will see a movie or not. I’ll just sit there. It’s a very boring lifestyle. On the other hand, a training camp in a boxer’s life shouldn’t be exciting at all. “
There is something magnetic about the pursuit of one’s passion, however.
He doesn’t chase the lore that comes with the monumental victories or the hollow materialistic lifestyle that he can access on a whim. He chases luck.
“And this fighting game makes me happy,” said Fury. “I don’t know how long it will take. But all the time I’m active and I’m good and fit, I shoot all the cylinders. Then I am a very happy person. I don’t want to get into big fights and be helped off the screen. (When it happens) it happens. I only do it for luck.
“I’m getting away, I’m training, I’m fighting. I’m going home and becoming a normal person again. “
But now he’s in Las Vegas.
Exactly where he wants to be.
“He raised a flag because this is the place he wants to fight,” said its promoter, Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank. “It’s perfect for this market.”
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Contact reporter Sam Gordon at [email protected] Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.