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I truly think boxing has saved Tyson Fury's life, says dad John

 

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On rise: Tyson Fury says the best is yet to come from him

On rise: Tyson Fury says the best is yet to come from him

On rise: Tyson Fury says the best is yet to come from him

Tyson Fury's journey back from the wilderness to world title contender has captivated the public but for those closest to him it has even deeper significance.

Fury's dad John, a former professional heavyweight who once defeated the Italian champion Cesare di Benedetto, has witnessed his son's decline from the heights of dethroning world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to a 28-stone man trapped in depression followed by the upward curve which has brought him to tonight's bout at Windsor Park.

WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is in town to confirm a battle with Fury once the former title holder has overcome Italian Francesco Pianeta this evening and he enjoyed some verbals with both Fury men at yesterday's weigh-in at the Europa Hotel.

As for Tyson's transformation from those dark days, even dad John, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, has found it hard to believe what he has seen unfold.

"Tyson needs boxing like roses need the rain. From where he has come from to now is incredible. I would honestly say that boxing has saved his life," said John as father and son looked ahead to his meeting with Pianeta - and beyond.

"He was in a very bad way, one minute he wanted to fight, the next he didn't. Now I can see that he is the happiest he has ever been as a boxer. He's in a great place now.

"It's going to take a very clever boxer, someone with brains, to beat Tyson and I don't see anybody out there with that level of boxing intelligence."

As Fury seeks to show Wilder and the rest of the boxing world that he is truly ready for a shot at the WBC champion, the 30-year-old insists the best is still to come.

While ending the 10-year reign of Klitschko remains his benchmark, Fury says it is a level he will surpass in the coming years.

"People still haven't seen the best of me, we know what I can do in the gym," he said.

"People go on about how great the performance was against Klitschko when I beat him for the world title but I was in a bad way before that fight and I beat the unbeatable man in his own back yard. I couldn't even spar after three rounds because I had a virus.

"This camp has been excellent. I came in on weight, we trained hard, ate right, drunk well, had the right vitamins - my sparring has been good. I never really had a bad session."

As for the potential fight with WBC champion Wilder, Fury believes it is just the test he needs in order to bring out the best in him.

"What's for me isn't going to go past me. I'm just following God's plan. I want the Wilder fight because I want to see how good I am," he said.

"Every time I put gloves on I feel comfortable. I expected Klitschko to be hard and I worked him out in two seconds. I had an American over for sparring and he was a guy who came with a big reputation, he was going to be the business and after a round I had him.

"It's good for me to have challenges, it's the way my personality is… I need them.

"But first I have to deal with Pianeta and turn him into Italian sausage!"

Belfast Telegraph