I met Tyson Fury a few times on his way up, but the first time I really had any dealings with him was when he fought Dereck Chisora the first time.
That was a nightmare for me as a promoter, Dereck came in overweight and he was dreadful. Tyson did what he had to in that fight, but I remember I quite took to him. I got on with him. I liked him from the off. What you see is what you get with Tyson. He was funny. We had to deal with typical Mick Hennessy before the fight, they were trying to drum up attention for the fight and start arguments.
I wasnt standing for that, but I remember speaking to Tyson for a while after the fight. I wished him the best because the best man won. We went our separate ways. Then he came with me for a while, got him a couple of fights and he fought Chisora again.
That was an eliminator to get him into the top spot to fight Wladimir Klitschko, and he done a job on Chisora. He was really good to work with, his problem then was his management werent so good to work with. Tyson has matured since those days. Its no secret the problems hes had, but he seems a better person for everything thats happened to him.
Wed been talking for a while back and forth before we officially announced our partnership last April. I was checking in with a few texts, hoping he was alright. I knew he was having all these problems with UK Anti-Doping, he was banned, and I was wondering why it was taking so long to resolve.
It was ridiculous what happened to him, it was two years before he got his case heard. I couldnt understand that. So we talked about that, but also just little things too. Then suddenly I got a phonecall from him, we got together and done a deal. It was quick to be honest, we shook hands and it was done.
Our initial plan was nowhere near how its turned it. It was basically have three or four fights before a possible title fight. Tyson though was feeling good and looked good. The opportunity came up and he grabbed it. I couldnt stop him.
He said originally he wanted to fight for a world title within a year. It will be just five months on Saturday since he made his comeback in June. Obviously, he changed his mind. Its a funny thing, with all his problems, it seems boxing has been his saviour. Its given him direction and motivation. Wanting to regain his titles and fight the best has got the best out of him.
The condition hes in, I think hes in better condition now than when he fought Klitschko. Thats remarkable. The thing about Tyson is hes got no miles on the clock. Hes not been in any wars as a fighter. Hes a well preserved 30-year-old, and 30 is pretty young for a heavyweight.
And people forget, he had one fight in 2015 before he fought Klitschko. For so many fighters, but Tyson especially, its the mental side of things. If thats good then the rest follows suit.
Thats why Ive not had any doubts about Tyson in the last 12 months. The first two fights, lets be honest, he was training to make the weight not to fight. The first opponent was a disappointment from my point of view.
Sefer Seferi folded, he didnt want to know and Tyson didnt get the rounds I wanted for him. I never doubted his commitment, hes single minded in that.
He knows what he wants, and hes not an idiot because he knows what hes got to do to achieve it. I was always convinced he could get back to where he was. I thought it might take longer, but having said that you have to look at who the two heavyweight champions are: Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Its my take that the Tyson Fury that beat Klitschko would beat both those champions. Can he get back to that? Even if he gets back to 80 or 90 per cent, Id back him to beat Wilder and Joshua. Tyson has always been strong on the mental side of boxing, but his mental desire heading into this fight is stronger than ever.
Hes a student of the game and a clever, clever fighter. Hes one of those fighters that can adapt. He can fight southpaw or orthodox, on the offensive or defensive.
Hes got lots of different game plans and in a fight he can bring them into play when he needs to.
Thats what makes him stand out against these champions. Joshua and Wilder do the same thing every fight. Joshua has got the same predictable pattern of how he fights, as has Wilder in the way hes unpredictably predictable.
Hell throw these shots from out of the blue from awkward angles, but if you keep him on the back foot then you can beat him. If Tyson can keep him on the end of a real strong jab then Wilder will get discouraged.
Matchroom and Eddie Hearn didnt want Joshua to fight Wilder. We all know that. If Tyson beats Wilder, they certainly wont want to fight Tyson. Barry Hearn has said himself Joshua is a long-term project and he doesnt care if Joshua never fights Wilder or Fury.
That tells you where theyre at. They dont have any intention of fighting Wilder at Wembley in April. Providing Dillian Whyte beats Chisora, thats who Joshua will fight next.
Theyre talking about Oleksandr Usyk. Hes not even a heavyweight. Eddie Hearn has got a promotional contract with him, thats why hes getting a look in.
Whether Joshua actually wants it, I dont know. Usyk is a great fighter, but hes not exactly big, is he?