Fury and Wilder go head to head in Los Ageles.
WBC world heavyweight champion Fury, 32, and American challenger Deontay Wilder, 35, faced each other in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The pair were appearing to preview their third fight, which takes place on Saturday, 24 July in Las Vegas. Sadly, there was no Batman costume this time. In fact, there was almost no clothing at all as Fury walked on stage topless, in just a pair of white jeans (with his own face on – of course) and a backward baseball cap. But that wasn’t even the most bizarre moment of the press event. Here are a few contenders for that title.
Wilder, who was defeated when the pair met for the second time in 2020, only stepped up to the microphone to say he wasn’t going to say anything. After thanking Jesus, his training team, and his lawyers, he said: “Look, enough said. Time to cut off his head. And come July 24, there will be bloodshed.” And that was it. Wilder put his headphones on and didn’t say another word, with his trainer Malik Scott speaking for him throughout the press conference. Asked about his opponent’s behavior, Fury said it “showed how weak a mental person he is” and that the previous loss has had “an emotional and physical effect on his life”. Hat’s off to Crystina Poncher, the ESPN commentator, who had the tough job of hosting the event. She continued to press Scott for responses, barely blinking at the fact one of the fighters was point-blank ignoring her questioning.
As Wilder wasn’t going to hit back at Fury’s constant stream of put-downs, Scott could only respond and defend his athlete. But Fury decided to make it personal, reminding him of an occasion when the pair sparred. “You can’t expect him to do something you couldn’t do,” he said to Scott – a former heavyweight fighter who lost to Britain’s Derek Chisora for the vacant WBO International heavyweight title in 2013. Scott hit back by saying: “You are a 260lb man that can fight – you burst my eardrum the first time we sparred – that’s not something to brag about, that’s what you do!” Fury, perhaps a little frustrated by this, further questioned Scott’s expertise, saying: “You can’t teach him to be some great fighter when you [weren’t].” The back and forth continued a little longer, with eardrums mentioned once or twice more by both men, before Fury, in typical Fury-style, rounded off the debate. Speaking to the assembled media, he laughed: “While we are on the subject of eardrums, don’t you find it funny that I have busted the eardrums of both trainer and fighter?” Fury went on to mention that he was aiming to reach the “300lb mark” by the fight, saying he was looking for “a big knockout straight away.”
The press conference ended with both men in the classic “face-off photo op” position, with Fury once again removing his jacket especially for it. But both fighters’ determination to win the staring contest appeared to become a little tedious for the expectant media. After around two minutes of the pair staring menacingly into one another’s eyes, and with Fury’s taunts having to become even more creative, (“The bogey man is here to get you again”), one or two members of the press requested they face the cameras for a final snap. But the request was ignored by both fighters for a further four minutes until Wilder eventually replaced his sunglasses and walked off stage right. Thus concluded one of the most bizarre press conferences the boxing world has ever seen. Fury summed it up. “Thank you for turning out for this one-sided press conference,” he said.