Fury and Johnson trade insults ahead of Odyssey bout
When the dust settled on a hot and heavy press conference, Tyson Fury and Kevin Johnson were level on points and if Saturday's clash at the Odyssey Arena matches up to the verbal sparring then the fans are in for a treat.
World class inside the ring, both men proved once again at the Malone Lodge Hotel, in Belfast, they are at the summit when it comes to shooting from the lips with American Johnson following on from coach Jeff Mayweather's assertion that unbeaten Fury will be outclassed.
After a solid opening, matters hit boiling point when Fury and Johnson traded insults nose to nose with both predicting a brutal end to their bubbling rivalry in the Odyssey. With a World title shot at stake the air was filled with super-charged testosterone.
“There's a difference between US and Irish fighters, there's a difference between artistic good-looking fighters like myself and Irish fighters like Martin Rogan and Tyson Fury. Me being the Michael Jordan of the game I'm too hot to handle and too cold to hold,” said Johnson.
“How in the hell is Fury going to dominate me? The only thing he has is a couple of inches over me but I actually think that I have a better reach, how will he cope with my slick power?
“There's going to be stars, this fight ain't going the distance.
“I've been working on a closed casket, let's see who ends up in the casket because one of us is going to be laid out and it damn sure ain't going to be me.
“I applaud the man. Over the last two years not one of the top heavyweights would fight me, why? Because I'm one of the most feared heavyweights out there.”
Fury wasn't going to stand back and allow Johnson to control proceedings and he let rip with his own broadsides, making sure the man from New Jersey knew he was in for the fight of his life.
“Look at the state of you, look at the size of that big head how could I miss that, you're a fat pudding, you're a bum. I'm ten times the man you will ever hope to be, there's more heart in my little finger than there is in the whole of the US, Mr Chubby Checker. You're getting smashed to bits,” fumed Fury.
“Your're going to see something special, a spectacular performance, you'll see the best heavyweight in the world and I'm proud to be fighting in Belfast.
“This is the Tyson Fury show, this guy is just a part of that. I'm going to take everything that he has got. I'm the greatest heavyweight since Lennox Lewis and I'm going to be the first Irish heavyweight champion of the world.
“I've been to hell and back in training, this is the best Tyson Fury there has ever been.”
And back came Johnson: “You're not ready for me boy, I will Navy Seal your ass, I see right through you. You going to get your ass whipped... it's a shame because I didn't come here to do this to the boy, he could have fought after this but after doing the s*** that I'm going to do he ain't going to be heard of again. I'm going to crack his head.”
The barbs were unrelenting, leaving both men with plenty of words to back up on the night when former World title challenger Johnson (pictured) faces his biggest challenge since losing on points to Wladimir Klitschko in 2009 and Fury clashes with the most dangerous opponent of his career.
Fury, whose uncle lives in Nutts Corner, admitted that in the past he has not been in the best condition but is adamant that on Saturday night the world will see a genuine world title contender.
“In the past I've been in terrible shape but now I'm in great shape, I'm 8.2 per cent body fat, I'm the natural athlete here. I could box 20 rounds but Kevin Johnson is a bit of a pudding.
“He said he was going to come to fight and let's hope he does come for a fight because if he does then it's Christmas for me.”
Promoter Mick Hennessy simply sat back and smiled, insisting Fury would make the world sit up and take notice of his 24-year-old protege.
“Tyson's the most exciting heavyweight in the world. Muhammad Ali has said that he will be tuning in, Larry Holmes will be tuning in because the fight is going live to the States.
“This is a massive fight, a unique fight for Irish fans because it's a World heavyweight title eliminator and I believe you're going to see a very special performance from Tyson,” said Hennessy.
Roll on Saturday night.