THE next time Fury and I got together again, in November 2012, Peter – who has been incredibly helpful over the years – was at the helm of Team Fury and appropriately enough the taskmaster, Tyson and I met at a indoor running track in Belfast. The photographer this time got off easier – mirth isn’t really Peter’s style. The pair were a week away from Fury’s points win over Kevin Johnson and there was growing evidence – beyond his admirable and hitherto unseen abdominal muscles – of Fury’s new-found commitment to his vocation.

“The training I was doing, I wasn’t so confident that I was going to go much further than I was,” Fury candidly conceded. “I looked in the mirror one day and I thought, ‘It’s not for me, this, I’m going to do something else [with his life] or get in proper shape.’ I spun a coin – heads or tails, box or not box – and boxing won, so I decided to get myself in proper shape, and I knew Peter was training a couple of lads down there in Manchester so I decided to go and give him a try. I liked what I saw so I stayed.

“I was never in shape, after three or four rounds I’d always be tired and professional fighters should be able to do 12 rounds. I don’t know how I won so many fights and beat some good fighters because I never had any fitness, my footwork was all over the show, balance, everything. I won on heart and determination. Now I’ve got all the right conditioning and nutrition, we’re going to go ahead full steam.”

Tyson and Peter had experienced two stoppage triumphs since linking up and pre-Johnson the heavyweight was projecting less bravado but more genuine confidence. “This Tyson Fury, he’s an Alexander [as in ‘The Great’],” he laughed. “I think my style is indestructible; I’ve got a good jab, good movement, good footwork, power, good chin; it’s going to take a good man to beat me.”

Five additional wins later, Fury has been proved accurate in that assumption.

Next – page 5 of 6: The final furlong

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