Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Fury keeps faith as he chases dream

Tyson Fury: Faith in God drives him on, inside and outside the boxing ring

He may punch people for a living and dream of becoming World heavyweight champion but Tyson Fury says his deep faith in God means more to him than anything else.

Fury, who makes his King’s Hall debut tonight, has revealed how his faith lifted him out of depression and is the driving force behind the unbeaten 23-year-old British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion.

Fury may not turn the other cheek when he is in the ring but outside the ropes he is happiest enjoying the quiet life with his family.

Many believe that the 6ft 9’ colossus has the raw potential to seriously challenge Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the Ukrainian brothers who currently rule the heavyweight division, though that ambition is secondary to Fury.

“Boxing is sport and you know going to heaven means more to me than beating Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko on the same night with one hand,” said Fury, who faces American Nicolai Firtha this evening.

“The ultimate sacrifice has been made for me on the Cross and I could never emulate what Jesus has done for me.

“Anyway, a man’s good deeds are nothing but dirty rags.

“If you have faith in God you can achieve anything.

“The Bible says that with faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains, so if we have faith in Christ you can do anything.

“If the whole world can be made through Christ then why can we not ask him for anything and believe we can do it.

“Ask and you shall receive, so I’m asking and I’m receiving — so any problems I have I give them to God and he sorts them out.

“Before God was in my life there was an empty space in my life that nothing could fill, I just felt depressed, horrible ... even when I don’t feel great now I’ll get my Bible out and read it and everything just comes right again.

“God is the main thing that drives people even though they don’t realise it. Even those who say they don’t believe in God, because God is speaking to them, they’re very close to their lives being changed.

“That’s what happened to me five years ago. My uncle is a pastor just outside Cheshire and I asked him one day how do you become a born again Christian, how do you give your heart to Jesus and he told me what to pray and since then I’ve been trying to uphold the name of Jesus and spread his Word.

“I’m not the best Christian in the world but we’re all born sinners. Without faith I don’t think men have anything.”

The obvious question for Fury concerns what many perceive as the clear dichotomy between the Noble Art and the teaching of Christianity. The big man tackles it as directly as he would the heavy bag.

“I pray for every opponent that I fight, even when I was fighting Dereck Chisora for the British title I was praying that he would bring his ‘A’ game, that it would be a good fight and that afterwards everyone would be safe and healthy and I have prayed for this fella as well,” he revealed.

“Fighting has been going on for ages and ages. You can think back to David and Goliath when God gave David the power to defeat Goliath. It’s just a job.

“And I believe God is helping me in my career to help spread the word of Jesus Christ. I have a special opportunity because God has given me the size, the height, the ability to go on and be the heavyweight champion of the world. I never think about damaging someone. They have to be fit to fight and if they are not fit then the doctor won’t pass them.”

Tonight he will let his fists do the talking and should cut down Firtha by the eighth round.

Former European champion Willie Casey and ex-World champion Junior Witter are on the supporting bill as well as debutant David Walsh against Gerard Healy and Joe Hillerby against Tommy Tolan.

Doors open at 6pm.

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