By Declan Taylor

TYSON FURY knows the eyes of the world will be upon him at the Kingdom Arena on Saturday night but in Morecambe next week, he will plot his dog walk so that nobody will see him at all.

Given the postponement of this undisputed fight with Oleksandr Usyk, caused by a sparring cut above Fury’s right eye back in February, it feels like this promotion has dragged on far longer than usual. It was no surprise that both fighters had few words left at Thursday’s final press conference when they combined to speak for a shade over three minutes in total.

But the truth is, despite the showmanship and bravado, Fury insists he fares far better in solitude anyway. Although he has toiled for nearly 20 years for the chance to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, he is already looking forward to getting home.

“I’ve got 34 gates at my house and a 20-foot wall,” he says. “Every day when I’m in there, I get peace.

“If I’m just in there, no problem. My idea of a good day is getting up early, going for a run, maybe dropping the kids off at school or whatever, and then I found this really long walk thing, there’s nobody on it, I take the dog for a walk in privacy.

“It’s a secret location; walk for a load of miles with the dog. Man’s best friend, loyal, everything. Loves me to death. Always happy to see me, never ever gives me any lip. He’s the best.

“I’m very cautious of taking my dog for a walk because a dog is an animal. It can jump up to somebody and all of a sudden you’ve got a lawsuit or something. ‘Tyson Fury’s dog’s tried to bite me!’  It’s very complicated. When you’re in my position, everybody’s hunting you down. They want a few quid off you. So I go where nobody else is. If I see any other dog walkers – I won’t go there any more. Because he could cause me a problem. I don’t need problems in my life any more.”

Fury’s life outside the ring has been turbulent throughout more than 15 years as a professional, no more so than in the immediate aftermath of his unforgettable victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 when alcohol and drug abuse left him suicidal.

His fight back down from close to 30 stone to become heavyweight champion of the world has been one of this generation’s greatest sporting success stories and made Fury a household name.

“I’ve never changed,” he insists. “All them years later, from being 14 to being 35, I’ve not changed. People change around me, but I rarely change.”

He has, however, had to handle dizzying levels of fame and fortune, about which, on the eve of banking the biggest purse received by any British boxer in history, he delivers a stark assessment.

“It’s a curse for sure,” Fury says. “Not a blessing. Everyone wants to be famous for five minutes until they’ve done it, but not every day for ten years. But it is what it is. I’m not complaining.

“People are always sold a dream of being rich and famous. It’s probably not true when you finally get there. Because you can have stuff you want to buy and you get to choose what you want, but that’s all right.

“But when you can have everything the world’s got to offer you, you don’t want nothing. When you can’t have everything, you want everything. That’s just the way it crumbles.

“Like there’s a lot to be said for having a normal 9-to-5 and being a normal person. You can do normal stuff every single day, go anywhere you want, everything. No bother. Me, I can’t go anywhere. I’m tortured. I can’t even have a dinner. People round my neck taking pictures. I feel like hitting them in the mouth when they’re doing it.

“People have no respect when it comes to someone they know on telly or whatever, they’re straight over. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

“If there was such a thing as earning a right few quid or not having any fame, that’s the one I’d choose. Yeah. That’s the best thing. If you can earn plenty of money but not to be famous, I think you’re onto a winner. If someone wins the lottery you can be out with it or anonymous, being anonymous, something like that. Someone like out of the way, under the radar, nobody knows them.  If you’ve got plenty of money you can do what you want.”

Fury famously described his feeling of dread once he had beaten Klitschko that night in Dusseldorf. Although he had climbed Everest and had achieved his ultimate dream, it had struck him as an anti-climax. On Saturday night in Riyadh, he knows another one might be coming.

“I think the journey to the destination is always better than the arrival at the destination, always,” Fury adds. “Because if you ever dream about something and then it’s a big journey to get to that moment, or buy something you really want and you saved up for it for a long time. The actual getting it, the deliverance of the end goal is an anti-climax compared to what you thought it might be, always. I remember thinking I’d love to buy my own house. That would be – if I could just do anything out of boxing, that was my goal.

“Being a champion and all that – fantastic. But we all know that don’t pay your bills and it doesn’t pay for a house or put food in your stomach or whatever. Having a belt in your cupboard is not what it’s about, really. So I wanted to buy my own house out of boxing. I got to about 22 and I bought my own house. And I’m thinking – I was thinking more about how it would be fantastic, and when I got it, it was what it was.

“So on and so forth, set different goals and whatever, and here we are today. I’m in a position where I can go anywhere, do anything, buy anything, and I choose not to, because I just don’t see the point in it.

“I don’t really do much other than stay in Morecambe Bay. I very rarely even go to Manchester any more. I stay at home. I don’t like going on holidays. I’ve no interest in all that because it’s a headache and hard work.”

Clash of personalities: Fury refused to look Usyk in the eye when the two met for a face-off (Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Speaking of which, Fury has been in camp for the majority of 2024, given the postponement of their February date and subsequent rearrangement. Much has been made of the shape he has whipped himself into over the course of the last five months. Fury, though, insists it is business as usual.

“I don’t feel any better or any worse than I always do, really,” he adds. “No better or no worse shape than I always am. That’s it, really. I’m in good shape. You know, I’ve done a lot of training over the last – whatever. I’ve had three camps back-to-back, so I’ve been active, I’ve been sparring with no complaints.

“I don’t think it’s really about fitness. Fitness or whose fitter or whatever. I just think you’ve got to go in there and do the best you can with what you’ve got, and that’s it.

“He’s had 350 amateur fights and 21 professional fights. I had 35 pro fights and 35 amateur fights. So we’ve done a lot, haven’t we? In our lives in boxing matches and stuff. And we’re bothered about another fight? I don’t think so. Neither one of us.

“If it’s destined for us and it’s meant to be, it will be. And if it’s not, then it won’t be. But will I cry about it? No. Why would I cry?  I’ll thank God for the good times and the bad times and I’ll roll on, collect me money and go home.

“That’s it. Back to picking up the dog shit.”

And, with any luck, there will be nobody around to see him do it.