Tyson Fury believes his showdown with Dillian Whyte will be the biggest British bout since Lennox Lewis fought Frank Bruno.
That all depends, however, on whether Whyte shows up after he failed to attend the first press conference publicising the April 23 WBC World Heavyweight showdown at Wembley Stadium.
Not that reigning champion Fury was going to let absent ‘friends’ take the shine off his latest moment in the spotlight.
The Gypsy King was in typically-ebullient spirits as he gave his opponent a risible playground nickname, staged a mock face-to-face with the AWOL challenger and vowed to win “for England and St George”.
Fury said: “I’ve got a new name for him. He is called ‘Frillian White Knickers’, because he is as soft as it says in the title.
“He has shown his colours today. He gets upset and causes a ruckus, now he has given me that much more confidence.
“I’m not concerned because this is the Tyson Fury roadshow, it’s never about the opponent.
“He’s ugly anyway, this is about me and celebrating my legacy and celebrating it on the biggest stage possible.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, it’s always going to be the Tyson Fury roadshow.
“He’s definitely raised the white flag for this fight. He doesn’t want to go face-to-face because he would see the fire in my eyes and know he’s getting smashed to bits. It’s fear, it’s terror and I don’t blame him for not being here today.”
April’s fight will see Fury return to the UK after five successive bouts in America.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride. I’ve been across the ocean and now – after four years away – I get to come back to Wembley Stadium with almost 100,000 fans there,” he added.
“I believe it’s the biggest British heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis against Frank Bruno (in October 1993).
“Who knows it could be me who gets chinned? But I think, when I land the Lancaster bomber on his jaw, it’ll be over.
“It could be over in round one or in round six but I don’t think it will go past that.”
Speaking after the press conference, Fury said he would retire after fighting Whyte.
He told reporters: “This is the final fight of my career, I’m retiring after this.
“I’m going to buy a massive yacht abroad. I’m retiring, I’m out, this is my final fight, I’m done.”
Promoter Frank Warren, meanwhile, branded Whyte “disgraceful” for demanding and then turning down the offer of a private jet to fly him over from his Portugal base for the press conference.
Whyte is only entitled to 20 per cent of the purse and there was speculation he was seeking to renegotiate terms before signing his contract last week, but Warren maintained the 33-year-old would receive a career high pay-day.
“I’ve never heard of a fighter not showing up to a press conference,” Warren said.
“He’s getting eight times more than Tyson got to fight (Wladimir) Klitschko, he’s getting more than (Anthony) Joshua got paid to fight (Charles) Martin, he’s getting more than (Oleksandr) Usyk got to fight Joshua.
The atmosphere is going to be brilliant. All we need is the other side of the card to show upFrank Warren
“Champions bank on themselves to win, that’s what they do to become the king: you win the title, you get the money.
“It’s just not right. We are where we are but Dillian Whyte is in Portugal. He should be here. It’s disgraceful that he’s not here, it’s not professional.
“The atmosphere is going to be brilliant. All we need is the other side of the card to show up!”