Tyson Fury, a 6-foot-9 heavyweight from Manchester, England, is not biting his tongue in advance of making his American debut against former two-time IBF cruiserweight titleholder Steve Cunningham, of Philadelphia, on April 20 in The Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
In an event promoted by Main Events, Fury-Cunningham will be televised on NBC’s Fight Night at 4 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Mick Hennessy, CEO of Hennessy Sports, Fury (20-0, 14 knockouts) has weighed as much as 270 pounds for a bout and is coming off December’s unanimous decision over American former title challenger Kevin Johnson.
Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs), who stands 6-foot-3, will be fighting as a heavyweight for only the third consecutive time. He weighed a career-high 207 pounds for his debut in the division — a unanimous decision over Jason Gavern last September.
Cunningham is coming off December’s disputed split-decision loss to former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek in a rematch of his split-decision loss in a terrific cruiserweight bout in December of 2008.
Fury was on fire during a New York press conference on Thursday, where he not only exchanged vicious barbs with Cunningham, but also, the American’s trainer, Naazim Richardson.
During an interview with RingTV.com on Friday, Fury assessed himself as well as other top fighters within the division:
RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs): “I mean, he’s a bitch. I mean that, and that’s exactly what I’m saying. Wladimir Klitschko does not want to fight back, so that, to me, is a bitch.
“A man who considers himself to be the heavyweight champion of the world yet he doesn’t want to fight dangerous customers is a bitch.
“I don’t mind calling Wladimir Klitschko a bitch, and I will call him a bitch to his face if he was here, because I believe that he is a bitch.”
WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs): “Vitali Klitschko’s a pensioner. He’s an old man, and I’ve got no interest in fighting pensioners. At 42 years old, you’re a pensioner and not a heavyweight boxer.
“You can not mess with a young man like me who is 24 or 25 when you’re 40-odd years old. I don’t care if you think that you’re Super Man.
“The young blood will always come better than the old guys, because age waits for nobody. If I got the chance to fight Vitali Klitschko, I’m going to take his heart out and feed it to him.
“But, I’ve to respect an old fighter, and so it wouldn’t be a wise move to put him in the same ring with me anyway, let’s just say that. I think that the Klitschkos both know that as well.”
Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs): “Johnathon Banks is a mediocre guy, something similar to Cunningham. Johnathon Banks is a small heavyweight.
“You know, Banks is another one of those guys who likes to maneuver himself in and out for easy fight. No match for Tyson Fury.”
“You know, this fight is going to last only as long as it takes me to hit him. That’s it. As soon as I land on him, he’s gone. That’s 100 percent true.”
Seth Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs): “Seth Mitchell is a football player. He’s not a fighter. You know, you saw what happened to him when he fought somebody who could fight a bit.
“He fought Johnathon Banks, and, let’s face it, ain’t one of the best heavyweights in the division or the world. Seth Mitchell got knocked out in two rounds. He’s no match for Tyson Fury.”
Former titleholder David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs): “David Haye? Well, I called Wladimir Klitschko a bitch, and, well, at least now, he’s a bitch that beat David Haye.
“What can I say more about David Haye than that he hasn’t already humiliated himself, you know? The guy goes into a world heavyweight title fight saying to everyone that he’s going to do this, and he’s going to do that?
“And that he’s gonna knock out Klitschko. But then, he goes in there and he runs away. Well, that’s worse than being a bitch, isn’t it? I don’t know what you’d call that. A pathetic loser.”
Robert Helenius (18-0, 11 KOs): “A big, stiff European. Useless.”
Bryant Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs): “Bryant Jennings is a decent mover, you know? He’s got some good boxing skills, but again, you know, he’s too small to mess with a big heavyweight like myself.
“A guy that is 6-2 or 6-3 and 230 or 240 or whatever he is, he’s too small to mess with any of these big heavyweights today, like me, who is 6-9 or 6-8 in the 260s or 250s.
“I don’t think that he holds a shot too well, either. I’ve seen him go down quite heavily against Bowie Topou, and Bowie Toupou is not too good, either.”
Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KOs): “Oh my God, Fracesco Pianta. Yeah, he’s quite useless. When I was a kid, around 18 years old, I went over to Berlin and smashed him to pieces in the gym in Berlin.
“That’s how much rubbish he is. The guy’s best wins are over Francois Botha and Oliver McCall in 2012, so do I need to say anything more?”
Alexander Povetkin (25-0, 17 KOs): “Alexander Povetkin? A little girl is what I call Alexander Povetkin. Alexander Povetkin doesn’t want to figth anyone with a heartbeat, you know? Look at his last title defense against Hasim Rahman, you know?
“A guy who is 15 or 16 years out. These guys? Come on, they don’t want to fight today. We’ve offered Povetkin a fight times already and, it’s been ‘No, no, no, no.’
“When I was starting out as a pro, I used to be over in Berlin a lot sparring with the Sauerland heavyweights, and I used to really give heavyweights like him a really good beating.”
David Price (15-1, 13 KOs): “Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. You know, he lost to a pensioner (Tony Thompson). He lost to an old fellow. How do you let an old man who is out of shape land a punch on the head.
“I mean, you do down when it was just that he clipped you and didn’t even land a solid punch on the head. It just shows you how right I was all along about David Price.
“David Price was a fraud all along, and I’ve been saying it from Day One, but, you know, nobody listens to me. But I’m a connoisseur when it comes to heavyweights, and I know what I’m talking about.
Tony Thompson (37-3, 25 KOs): “Tony Thompson is an old man who got lucky with David Price. After Cunningham, if we can make the fight and somebody else doen’t get him before I do, then we’ll put him out of his misery.”
Deontay Wilder (27-0, 27 KOs): “Again, another big guy, good puncher. But he finishes in third place [Bronze medal in the Olympics] and he’s proud of it. He calls himself the Bronze Bomber.
“If I was a third-place loser, then I wouldn’t want to keep bragging about it. The guy has had 27 knockouts, but let’s face it, he hasn’t knocked anybody out that can fight like me at all.
“I think that he’s still untested, so my jury still is out on Deontay Wilder. But he’s probably one of the best heavyweights in America at the moment.”
Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs): “I have one thing to say: I’m big, I’m strong, I’m fast, tall, I’ve got good feet. I’m a very, very, very good thinker, and I’m an adapter. I can adapt to any style that you throw at me. I have a million tools in my box to use. Not just a one- or two- style guy who works just off the jab.
“I’m not just someone who boxes orthodox. I can box orthodox, upside down, inside out, slip and counter. I’m slippery. I can do whatever you want to do. I’m comfortable moving forward or backward or sideways, so this is why I’m the full package. As Jesus Christ is my savior, I am the savior of the heavyweight division.
I’m here, and I’m going to prove it. It’s redemption time for the heavyweights. I’m bringing it back to the glory days, back to the days when everybody wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world. Nobody wants to be the heavyweight champion of the world now because nobody even cares.
“We need to bring the excitement back to the heavyweight division and make the heavyweight championship of the world the No. 1 goal in sports as it used to be. That’s where I come into things and that’s where I transcend boxing. The biggest thing of all is that I can talk.”
Video by Ryan Songalia
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com