Paul Stewart column: Why I'm backing Tyson Fury this weekend
This Sunday morning, BT Sport Box Office hosts Tyson Fury's fight against Deontay Wilder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Rewind two years and this fight would seem a mere pipe dream for most, owing to Fury’s trials and tribulations.
Fury’s well publicised issues outside of the ring would have left many in doubt we’d ever see him in a ring again, let alone fighting for the only belt to have eluded him.
There is one thing I should have known all along. Never write off Tyson Fury.
I remember the night at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf well when Fury wasn’t given a chance of beating Wladimir Klitschko with the bookies rating his chances at 4-1.
To the surprise of many Fury turned out a magnificent technical boxing performance, having long since rented space in his opponent’s head.
Fury won a unanimous decision that night before being stripped of the titles ahead of the rematch for failed drug tests.
I can only admire what he has done in the past 18 months, beating drink, drugs and mental health problems not too dissimilar to my own.
He has lost an enormous amount of weight and made a return to the ring that many thought impossible.
Over the years there have been many controversies surrounding Fury and I feel, at times, he has been a target – somewhat unjustly – for news.
From what I’ve seen and heard about his behaviour when visiting Blackpool, as he regularly does, that tells you more about the real man than any of those stories will.
The amount of time he gives to fans and gave even a week after defeating Klitschko in our town tells you all you need to know.
I recently watched him live on UFC commentator Joe Rogans podcast and it was possibly one of the most amazingly touching pieces of video I have ever seen and, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a must watch.
On Sunday morning he faces a formidable foe in Wilder, the big-talking, unbeaten knockout artist with 39 stoppages in 40 wins.
The Alabama native is looking to upset Fury’s rhythm and potentially set up a blockbuster undisputed fight with the man who currently holds Fury’s belts, Anthony Joshua.
Wilder has been around a while, 10 years in fact, and I have seen most of his fights but been slightly frustrated at his outright refusal to face top-ranked opposition.
That being said, he carries one hell of a right hand and I feel this will tell us more about Wilder than the Luis Ortiz fight and certainly more than the second fight against Bermane Stiverne.
I feel Wilder has more to prove in this fight than Fury and, one thing is for sure, the American will be looking for the knockout on Sunday.
All that being said, just like that night in Germany, my money will be on Fury.
Whoever is victorious, it sets up a mouthwatering bout against the nation’s favourite Joshua, which we must surely hopes happens in the New Year.