Tyson Fury said on Thursday this weekend’s world title bout against fellow British heavyweight Derek Chisora would be a “Christmas cracker” even though he has been the convincing winner of their previous two encounters.
Fury is an overwhelming favourite to maintain his unbeaten professional record and retain the World Boxing Council (WBC) belt at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.
The strapline for their last meeting in 2014 was ‘Bad Blood’ and many of Fury’s contests, notably his fights against Deontay Wilder, have been marked by the disparaging comments he has made towards his opponents.
But the past eight years have seen a friendship develop between Fury and Chisora, with a respectful tone the hallmark of Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference
“Whoever fights Derek Chisora is in for a good fight,” said Fury, who will enter the ring with a career record of 32 wins and a draw, including 23 knockouts.
“Just before Christmas and it is going to be a Christmas cracker,” the 34-year-old added.
The fight with Chisora was agreed after negotiations over another, much-anticipated, ‘Battle of Britain’ bout with Anthony Joshua broke down.
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Fury could also face Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, the man who deprived Joshua of his world titles, next year in a bid to unite the heavyweight division.
But he insisted Chisora was an opponent worthy of respect for a fight where a crowd of some 60 000 are set to brave a a cold winter’s night at the London home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur.
“Come Saturday there will be no friends…I hear critics talk, but in a two-horse race, never underestimate anybody,” Fury said.
“Derek will come and try to knock me out, I will try to knock him out and it is on like Donkey Kong. Why did I fight Chisora? Like Chisora said, there is a lack of names in the division. Plenty of depth, but not many names.
“I could have fought someone 34-0 from another country and people would say ‘who is this guy?’ But we’ve sold out 60,000 tickets at Tottenham and it is very much of interest.
Chisora, 38, said he had no interest in ‘trash-talking’ Fury given the champion was under no obligation to give him a title shot when promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum had no such interest.
“I am sitting with a man and looking at a man who is giving me an opportunity when Frank Warren didn’t want to give me one, when Bob didn’t want to give me one, when even my own promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t want to give me one,” said Chisora (33-12, 23KOs).
“Tyson phoned me up and said ‘I want to give you an opportunity’. So for me to sit here and talk about a man who is putting food on my kids’ table? I cannot do that.
“But come Saturday I can guarantee friendship will be out the door and me and this big man will get it on.”
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse