Even with a British title victory behind him over world title challenger Dereck Chisora many had doubts over whether or not Tyson Fury could cut it at world level.
Criticised for a lack of conditioning and a leaky defence, unbeaten Tyson turned to his uncle Peter Fury and over the past 12 months his mind and body have been transformed.
On Saturday night at the Oydssey Arena in his adopted home city Fury will clash with American Kevin Johnson knowing this will be the first serious test of their partnership.
Peter is adamant that Tyson is ready for such a challenge and for that matter a shot at either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko for a version of the World heavyweight title.
“When Tyson came to me he didn’t know where to turn. He was unbeaten but he wasn’t happy with the shape he was in, he was very low,” revealed Peter.
“But he has worked very hard, his whole attitude has changed and he’s a different man, a different fighter entirely.
“Physically everybody can see the kind of shape he is, he looks like a real athlete now.
“People don’t realise that I am a qualified nutrionist so I know exactly what Tyson should be eating and when he should be eating.
“I look after his diet, his conditioning and his work in the gym and it’s working.
“An athlete needs the right fuel at the right times, he needs the right mix of protein shakes. All these things are crucial.
“But it’s not just about the body, it’s about the mind and Tyson is mentally very strong.
“He’s ready right now to fight for a world title, I’ve no doubt that he is the best heavyweight in the world.”
Tyson has been to quick concur with his uncle when it comes to taking one of the big Ukrainian brothers in 2013.
“We’ve made contact and Wladimir has said we can do the fight whenever,” said Tyson, who has been working out at the University Ulster, Jordanstown.
“I want it in May or June — as soon as possible. The quicker the better because I’m in tremendous shape. I will beat Wladimir Klitschko for sure.”
For the past eight weeks uncle and nephew have been in a training camp in Belgium and Peter says it has been ideal hideaway.
“Tyson works best when he has no distractions and everything in the camp went to plan.”
American Johnson has mixed it with Vitali Klitschko, going the distance in 2009, and Peter knows that this is a step up for the 24-year-old number ranked heavyweight in the world.
“Johnson is a world class fighter, this is no longer domestic level fighters, he’s a couple of steps up from anyone Tyson has ever fought before. He’s a strong guy with his own world title aspirations so Tyson has to be ready for a hard night.
“And he couldn’t be in better shape. He has had great sparring and I think a lot of people are going to be shocked by just how good he looks and the performance he gives. It’s going to be a world-class performance.”
Tyson’s last trip to the Odyssey saw him chop down Martin Rogan in April and he wants the fans to get in the festive spirit this Saturday night.
“Everybody is starting to get ready for their Christmas parties and in Belfast at the Odyssey Arena my fans are going to have the ultimate party — they’ll see a great fight and then go out and party knowing they’ve just seen the future heavyweight champion of the World,” said Fury.
“This is a huge fight for me, it’s going to be a fight to the finish. I think Johnson and I are going to take each other to the limits.”
Meanwhile, Carl Frampton’s clash with European champion Kiko Martinez now looks set to be moved from February 2 to February 9 at the Odyssey Arena.