Thanks everybody for joining us for this call for the December 1 SHOWTIME PPV® live from STAPLES Center presented by Premier Boxing Champions. The fight is headlined by the WBC World Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder defending his title against lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury in a blockbuster matchup of undefeated heavyweights. his is the most significant heavyweight fight in the United States since Lennox Lewis took on Mike Tyson in 2002.
Tickets are on sale for the live event and available at AXS.com, STAPLES Center Box Office or STAPLESCenter.com. It’s been a great year for SHOWTIME Boxing. It’s a great way to end the year for Stephen Espinoza. Stephen’s been instrumental in Deontay Wilder having a home at SHOWTIME and he was instrumental in creating this tremendous card for the fans here on December 1. So it’s my pleasure to introduce Stephen Espinoza, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
Thanks very much, Tom. Big-time heavyweight boxing heavyweight is definitely back. Wilder versus Fury will be the 13th heavyweight world title fight presented by SHOWTIME since 2015 — that includes three heavyweight world title fights so far this year in 2018. This is a showdown of undefeated consensus top five heavyweights. As Tom said, the most significant heavyweight title fight in the U.S. in almost 20 years. And with the 6’7″ Deontay Wilder and the 6’9″ Tyson Fury, we’ve got two of boxing’s greatest showmen with larger than life personalities and true heavyweight charisma.
Tyson, of course, is undefeated former IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Champion. He is unique in the heavyweight division. His size, mobility, his footwork, his skillset — he presents a challenge unlike any other. Interesting side note here, both Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are alumni of ShoBox. They’re among the 78 ShoBox fighters who have gone on to win world titles.
On behalf of the network, I’d like to extend our thanks to Tyson Fury and to John Fury and the entire Fury camp. For those of you that have seen the clip that we released earlier, you can see that Tyson has given us thorough access to his training camp. It’s been a fascinating experience and we are confident that those who are not familiar with Tyson are going to be enamored by him once they are exposed to him.
So, here in the U.S. “All Access” premieres on SHOWTIME this Saturday at 10:00 pm. ET.
Thank you very much, Stephen. There will be a slew of events leading up to the fight on the week of the fight. The main event press conference is on Wednesday. The undercard press conference will be on Thursday and we have a public weigh in on Friday. So now it’s my pleasure to introduce International Boxing Hall of Fame Promotor, Frank Warren.
Good afternoon. Good evening, as we’re in the U.K. at the moment. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. Tom, thanks for that statement. Tyson is a unique boxer — there’s no doubt about that in his unique style. As Stephen just said, Former WBA/IBF/WBO and current lineal champion and his trials and tribulations have been well documented. But if you look at him now and look where he’s at, he’s come quite a long way. He knows there were problems he had in early life, but he’s showing what a man he is by coming back and putting himself into a position now where I think he looks the best he’s ever been as far as everybody’s concerned who knows him. And that’s both mentally and physically.
He is doing what he always does — going to the other guy’s backyard and getting titles, this time titles that he never lost. He’s without a doubt — in my opinion — one of the best British heavyweight champions of all time. Undefeated and he’s a man on a mission. He’s in a position where a lot of people would hate to be where he was, the lowest you could ever be. But he’s come back with all the strength and character and he’s here in the most fantastic physical shape and maybe in his best mental shape as well.
So I think we’re going to get a great fight. He’s a great fighter, great champion and he’s undefeated. I think he’s going to show what he’s really worth. Is he as good as everybody thinks he is? This is without a doubt the toughest fight he’s ever going to have. Tyson wants to show the world that he is the best out there and it’s going to be a great fight and we’re looking forward to it. And Tyson’s here now and I’m sure he’s got some things to say that will be of great interest to you.
So I’m sure you want to hear from the Undefeated World Champion, Tyson Fury.
Hello. Good afternoon everybody on the line. I hope you’ve got some good questions for me.
What went into your decision to bring Freddie Roach aboard and how is he helping you along here in camp?
Yeah, we’re training at Freddie’s gym now in Hollywood at the Wild Card. It’s really good to have Freddie’s experience around, giving us good pointers. He’s also a very nice guy, so I thought I’d invite him to be a part of the team and he can give us some good experience in the corner.
What will his role be on fight night? Obviously Ben Davison will be in charge, like usual? Is that the way it’s going to go?
Whatever Freddie wants to do he can do. Freddie is his own man. Whatever he wants to do, he’ll do in the corner. I’m sure he will.
How much of an advantage do you feel that could be for you, Tyson? Being that Freddy has worked with so many great fighters and had so much success?
It’s always good to have experience in the corner. It’s always good to have a wise head in the corner and it’s going to be to my advantage.
When did you shift your camp down to (Freddy’s) gym there? Did Big Bear not work for you? Or why did you do that exactly?
About three weeks ago. We always planned to move. Big Bear was altitude training. We had three and a half weeks in Big Bear. It was very good. I loved every minute of it. But we moved down to sea level to train for the fight.
Is there any truth in the rumors that you knocked out Joe Joyce and was that one of the reasons why you left the Big Bear Gym?
No, there’s no truth in it and it’s got nothing to do with why I left. It was always planned to leave.
Do you think this fight will be a tougher fight than your win against Wladimir Klitschko?
I’m hoping it’s going to be the toughest fight of my life. That’s what I’m preparing for, so if it’s anything less, than it’ll be easy for me.
What are your feelings toward Deontay Wilder? What do you make of him?
I don’t really know him as an individual character. I only know him as a boxer, so I don’t really have an opinion on him. He’s in my way and that’s all I’m focusing on at the moment. I’m not going to hold no hard feelings. It’s just a sport.
Do you see this fight going 12 rounds? Do you think you’ve got the power to knock him out?
We’re heavyweights. We both can knock each other out. We should be fit enough to do 12 rounds. So if not, there’d be no point in training for 12 weeks would there?
Why would you say that this is the biggest fight of your career even when you do consider your old Klitschko one?
Because every fight that I fight is the biggest fight of my life up until that moment. They’re all the biggest fights — all of them. My last fight, the fight before that, the fight before that — they’re all the biggest fights because I don’t look back in the past. I only look forward to the future. So every fight that I come across is my biggest challenge to date.
Do you think the winner of this fight should be considered the absolute Heavyweight Champion of the World, even with Anthony Joshua out there with some belts?
I’m not sure. People will always have an opinion on who’s that and who isn’t. So it’s really unimportant to me what people think who is the best or whatever. The most important is that we all fight each other and give the boxing fans of our era something to talk about. It would be a crying shame to not fight each other and all get in the mix. It’s going to be an exciting time. It’s an exciting time. Whether – who’s the best, we’ll all found out when we all fight each other.
The fact that it is the first Heavyweight Championship in America in a long time, does that add to it even more or does the location not really matter?
The location is fantastic. To be in America, boxing on U.S. PPV, boxing in Los Angeles — it’s a fantastic place. I’m happy to be a part of such a massive event. I’m sure it’s going to go down in American boxing history. It’s the first time you’ve got two unbeaten world heavyweight champions — both giants, both have got big points to prove — fighting each other. I’m as excited as a boxing fan.
Do you feel like you’re as supported as other British fighters and do you feel like you should have more support from them, considering all you’ve achieved in the ring?
I feel like I’ve got the support of the world behind me at the moment. Not just the British fight fans. I’m jogging down the road in Los Angeles and everybody’s cheering my name and saying I’m champ and I’m getting messages from all over the world. So I don’t just have support from the UK. I have support from all over the globe, which I’m very, very happy about.
Do you expect British fans to travel in support of you? Do you expect to have, like, a large cheering section at this fight?
I’m sure I’ll have as many fans as Deontay Wilder at the fight, but let’s just say if this fight would have been in Manchester or anywhere in the UK, it would have sold 75,000 tickets. I’m happy that it’s here, because it gets me on the road again. I’m becoming a proper road warrior now traveling to countries and taking championships off champions in their own countries. So I’ve become accustomed to it. But make no mistake, if this would have been in Manchester, we could have had this at a stadium and that would have sold 75,000 tickets.
Is it less distracting to be the traveling fighter and going to the other guy’s home grounds in order to fight than it would be if this was in the UK and all of the obligations that come with that?
Not really. I think it doesn’t really matter where the fight’s going to be. As a fighter it doesn’t really matter to me, because the outcome’s going to be the same; a fight is a fight. No matter how many funds you’ve got behind you or how many people want you to win, if you’re good enough, you’re winning, if you’re not, you’re going to lose. So it’s really unimportant where the fight is, traveling to different countries. But for me, as a fighter it makes it all the sweeter when I win in somebody else’s home backyard.
When your comeback was announced earlier this year, did you envision getting the world title shot against Deontay Wilder just months after that first return fight against Sefer Seferi?
Yes, I did because I was very motivated and very determined. When I make my mind up on something I just do it; I don’t take no prisoners, I don’t beat around the bush, I don’t play games, I don’t play at boxing so whatever I want from boxing I take. And that’s the attitude I’ve got.
How does training for this fight against Deontay Wilder compare to the training you went through close to three years ago when you were preparing for Wladimir Kitschko?
All training comes from the same whether I’m training for Francesco Pianeta, Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder or anybody, they’re all the same. You just train, eat, sleep, repeat for a long period of time and that’s it. The only thing that might change is the size of the sparring partners. The only thing that will change in the training camp ever is the size of the sparring partners, that’s it.
When you’re preparing for someone like Deontay Wilder and his kind of knockout power, do you focus more on trying to get Wilder deep into the fight or being able to withstand Wilder’s shots and being able to trade with him?
I don’t really focus on any of that, to be honest, I just do what I do and that’s it. I don’t really care what Deontay Wilder is going to bring to the table. As long as I do what I do best, I’m not really bothered by anything he does. I just hope he comes to fight, so that’s what I’m hoping for.
I’m wondering if boxing provides some type of therapeutic value for you and if so in what ways?
I’m not so sure it’s the boxing but definitely the training does help. See, when I don’t train I tend to get down and low so I need to train on a regular basis. When I train I’m fine. I think with the boxing side of things it’s always giving me something to look forward to, something to train for or a goal. And it’s really helped me in the last year or so.
When you win this fight, what would your victory meal be? And where do you plan on going for vacation?
It’ll probably be about 4:00 in the morning when I get finished with the drug test and the press conference so I probably won’t be eating after the fight, I’ll go to bed straight away when I get finished. And my vacation I’ll be back at home where I live in the UK because I’ve been away for over three months. I’ve not seen my kids in over three months and my wife and all and we have Christmas coming up so that’s going to be like a good vacation for December.
Is adding Freddie Roach part of the mind game or is this to improve Tyson Fury for this fight?
We always intended to train down to Los Angeles and then I asked for Freddie Roach in the corner because he’s been very hospitable to us. And I thought he’d be good if we got him in the corner as well and gives us some tips and just helps out generally. He’s very experienced and he’s a very nice guy. It’s not a mind tactic to Deontay Wilder, there’s no mind tactic things going on. I didn’t try and get involved in Klitschko’s mind, it just seemed to work out that way.
Do you agree with the betting line that has you opening up at a plus 138, Wilder at minus 165 but Fury to win by decision is plus 200 and Fury by KO plus 600?
It means nothing to me the betting odds because I’ve defied the odds, just even being alive today I defied the odds. Being a world champion defied the odds; being named Tyson Fury defied odds too. So odds, I don’t really think about odds, they don’t mean anything to me at all. I’m not a gambling man at all.
My mother was on the aircraft carrier during the promotional event in New York City, thinks you’re quite a character. She wants to know if you abandon sex during training?
No sex. No sex. No sex at all, boy.
How do you really rate Deontay Wilder as a fighter and a threat on December 1?
I hope he can bring his biggest threat into the ring on December 1. As a person, as a fighter, and as a champion so he’s done his job. Congratulations to him for that.
We always talk about styles make fights so can you give your assessment of the difference between yourself and Wilder as boxers please?
Yes, I’m very good looking and Deontay Wilder is not. That’s the difference between us.
Deontay Wilder is a good fighter. Styles do make fights as you’ve seen time and time again in the past. Very rare that we get to see two people over 6 foot 6 fighting each other, so it’s going to be an interesting clash. We’ve never probably seen this before, so people don’t know what to really expect. You’ve got someone who’s got dynamite power and he’s going to be looking to land it; and you’ve got someone who’s got great boxing skill and he’s going to be trying to use that. But at the end of the day it’s a fight and at some point or other, two men, heavyweights in the fight, will have to punch each other and stand and fight. And when that moment comes, you’re going to see who’s the better fighter, who can take the bad punches, and who can’t.
The loser of this fight rebuilds and the winner continues on along the road. The fans are the only winners in this fight. Me and Deontay Wilder, we have something to lose. I’ve been boxing my whole life and never lost a fight. So if I lose on December the 1st, I’ve lost something, I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for in the last – I don’t know how many years, 10 years or so. And I suppose Deontay Wilder is the same. The fans ain’t losing because they get to see two fighters punch each other to pieces.
But make no mistake, I can box for 12 hours on my toes. At some point he’s going to rip me and I’m going to rip him. It’ll be a 20-foot boxing ring so it’s not that big for two fighters to fight. At some point we’re going to have to stand and when that point comes I’m very confident that I can withstand his power and knock him out.
You can’t avoid though getting drawn into a war because you’re known for being clever, aren’t you?
Well I don’t know about clever; if it was clever I’d be a rocket scientist and not a boxer. But I have got the ability to see punchesbefore that happens, which is a very good skill. And so like you say, I’ll be looking to avoid the knockout punches and land mine. Boxing is about hitting your opponent and not taking any in return, that’s the way I look at boxing.
I don’t look at boxing like I’m going to hit you in the face and you’re going to hit me back because then I’d be a fool because a heavyweight, you don’t want to be taking big punches to the head because it may cause brain damage sooner or later. And that’s not something that I want to occur and it’s my business to get out of the way.
Well thank you Tyson, and thank you, everybody, for joining us. Just one more time, the event is at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Tickets are available on axs.com and this is a rare opportunity to see a real heavyweight championship fight, two undefeated heavyweight champions in one night on SHOWTIME PPV