Fury wary of 'make-or-break' Wilder as trilogy bout looms

Los Angeles (AFP) –


World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury believes he will be facing the most dangerous incarnation of Deontay Wilder yet when he clashes with his American rival for the third time next month.

Fury, the undefeated World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, faces Wilder in a trilogy fight in Las Vegas on October 9 in his first bout since dethroning the 35-year-old from Alabama via a seventh technical knockout in February last year.

That victory followed an epic 2018 battle between the two heavyweights in Los Angeles which ended in a draw after Fury remarkably climbed off the canvas following a 12th round knockdown.

Fury had initially been set for a unification fight this year with former world champion Anthony Joshua, but was ordered to grant Wilder a rematch in May after the intervention of an independent arbitrator.

The fight was originally due to be held in July but was postponed until October after Fury's training camp was hit by an outbreak of Covid-19.

Talking to reporters on a video conference call on Wednesday, Fury (30-0-1, with 21 knockouts) said next week's fight was "make-or-break" for the hard-hitting Wilder.

"The one thing I don't do is underestimate anybody," Fury said. "Whether it's the smallest man in the room or the fattest man in the room, I'll never underestimate anyone.

"Make no mistake -- this will be Deontay Wilder's make-or-break moment in his life. Anybody can lose a fight, anybody can have a bad night.

"But this is his make-or-break fight. He's a three-to-one underdog. He's got everything to gain and nothing to lose.

"Everyone expects me to go in there and beat him down -- which I will -- but you can never write Deontay Wilder off because he's at his most dangerous now."

- 'Wounded' by Joshua loss -

Fury said he had been "wounded" watching Joshua lose his WBA, IBF and WBO belts in a defeat to Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday, effectively scuppering any chance of a money-spinning unification fight with his fellow Briton.

However the self-styled "Gypsy King" would not be drawn further on Joshua's defeat or whether he had considered a future fight with Usyk.

"Usyk did his job, and that's all I know," Fury said when asked about the Ukrainian's performance. "He won his fight, and good luck to him.

"There's not much to assess or express. Did I watch the fight? Yes I did. Was I absolutely wounded when Usyk won? Yes I was.

"I was hoping that Joshua could win the fight. But he couldn't and that's none of my business.

"So my only concern now is beating Deontay Wilder -- he's the most dangerous heavyweight out there. In my opinion, Wilder beats Joshua, Usyk, all the rest of the division comfortably -- but he cannot beat me.

"I've no real concern about anything else other than Wilder, I've got a mammoth task ahead.

"It's a very dangerous task that I'm giving 100 percent focus, and I don't care who I fight after this.

"Let me get through Wilder first and then on Sunday morning we can talk about who I'll fight next. But right now I don't give a damn."