Tyson Fury aims barb at Deontay Wilder in build-up to Pianeta fight
Former champion takes on Italian in Belfast on Saturday but is already eyeing next bout
“The old Tyson Fury is gone.” Above, Fury at the Europa Hotel, Belfast. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tyson Fury managed to find time to goad his heavyweight rival Deontay Wilder as the English man prepares for another comeback fight, with Francesco Pianeta, at Windsor Park on Saturday.
The former world champion’s return to boxing continues with a showdown against the experienced Pianeta in Belfast, where American WBC champion Wilder will be ringside in his role as a TV analyst for BT Sport, which is screening the event.
Negotiations for the two to meet in December are at an advanced stage. Should Fury overcome Pianeta, one of the division’s super-fights will move a step closer.
“If I come through this, then Wilder has the chance to fight me for the lineal championship. Let’s face it, he’s not really fought anybody and he’s had 40 fights,” Fury said.
Pianeta, born in Italy but based in Germany, has lost only four of his 40 fights. Wladimir Klitschko, Ruslan Chagaev and Oliver McCall are the bigger names on his resumé.
“I study my heavyweights and I know he’s fought some good men,” Fury said. “He’s a big strong fella and he knows that if he wins he will fight Wilder instead of me. He’s going to try to knock me out. Hopefully he won’t be successful and we’ll put on a show.
“He’s southpaw, which is a lot more awkward because there aren’t many of them in the division, so it’s hard to get sparring. But every southpaw I’ve ever fought I’ve knocked out.
“What you’re likely to see from me on Saturday is a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard. Anything less is a failure. Judge me on that comment – a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard.”
Fury made his comeback in June after 2½ years out of the ring by overwhelming Sefer Seferi inside four rounds, having shed in the region of 10 stones.
“The old Tyson Fury is gone. Tyson Fury from three years ago and beyond is finished. I’m not looking to live in the past, I’m looking to go on and improve on what I am today and tomorrow,” he said.
“I do want to win a world title again, so I have to raise my game after three years out of the game nearly and ballooning up to 28 stones. To lose that weight has been mentally and physically draining and to do it there has to be a want in the brain, and I have that. That’s why I’m a sick boxer and I win fights.
“The new Tyson Fury is going to put on a good fight. Whether that will be better or worse than the last Tyson Fury, we’ll have to wait and see on Saturday.”
Paying tribute to the local fans who turned up to pack out the room in the Europa Hotel, Fury said Belfast fight fans are “among the best in the world”.
“Boxing on an outdoor stadium is something new for me, I boxed in a football field in Germany but it had a roof on it, so to box outside, it’s a new experience and I am always happy to take on a new challenge,” he said.
“It’s going to be a good fight, you know. I know Francesco is going to come at me, and when people come at me, well they are there to be punched in the face, I have a funny feeling he is going to come swinging, looking for big shots to try and knock me out. It’s going to be a big fight.”