Fury v Chisora set to be a Christmas cracker and 62,000 sell-out – Gypsy King can mesmerise millions like Muhammad Ali
STAGING an open-air world heavyweight title fight in this country three weeks before Christmas Day seems as daft as putting an ice rink in the middle of the Sahara desert.
I was one of many who thought promoter Frank Warren had taken leave of his senses when he announced Tyson Fury would defend his WBC belt against Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3.
It didn’t appear feasible that anyone — other than the most die-hard fans — would pay £1,000 to sit ringside and brave the possibility of a freezing cold, wet night to watch Fury against a man he’s already beaten twice.
But Warren’s faith in Fury’s ability to draw a crowd whatever the time of year, or weather, has been fully vindicated.
Frank told me an incredible 58,000 tickets have already been snapped up and he’s confident he will have a 62,000 sell-out.
Tyson’s magnetism had 94,000 paying a total of £13million to see him KO Dillian Whyte at Wembley in April — a British record boxing crowd.
It wasn’t far-fetched when I compared Fury with Muhammad Ali, for being able to mesmerise millions with the sheer force of his larger-than-life personality and often outrageous rhetoric.
Though it goes against the grain with a lot of people, because of his past controversial opinions about race, sex and religion, Fury has become one of the most marketable and best-loved British sportsmen.
Just like Ali, Tyson has charisma coming out of his ears.
Roger Dawson, a well-known American bandleader, beautifully summed up that kind of charm when he said: “Charisma is the intangible that makes people want to follow you, to be around you, to be influenced by you.”
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Warren said: “Since he went to America and twice beat Deontay Wilder, Tyson has transcended boxing.
“And I can’t believe there has been another British fighter who could have attracted such a huge crowd in the open air on a winter’s night.”
There has been valid criticism that Fury shouldn’t be having a third battle with Chisora, having dominated him so comprehensively on two previous occasions.
Oleksandr Usyk finds it hard to comprehend and the WBA, IBF and WBO champion commented: “It kind of makes me laugh a little bit. Why is he doing this?”
There is a simple explanation. Fury and Usyk will meet in a blockbuster unification confrontation early next year and Tyson is badly in need of a fight before then to help keep him sharp and focused.
Just like Ali, Tyson has charisma coming out of his ears
Unfortunately, Anthony Joshua turned his back on meeting Fury next month and all the other top contenders are unavailable.
Because of their long history — as well as their two fights, Chisora was also Fury’s sparring partner early in their careers — there is mutual respect between them.
There’s certainly not going to be any phoney hate campaigns in the build-up.
As Fury said: “I’ve got nothing bad to say about Derek. He’s a good fighting man and he brings his A-game every time.”
Chisora may have lost 12 times but only Fury, Whyte and David Haye have stopped him and he’s still in the WBC’s top 15 rankings.
He may be a 10-1 underdog but anything can happen once the heavyweights start throwing leather.
Fury knows he daren’t be complacent.
It can never be forgotten the Cinderella Man, James J Braddock, was 10-1 when he outpointed Max Baer, Ali was 7-1 to win the title from Sonny Liston and Buster Douglas was 42-1 when he caused the biggest upset of all time by knocking out Mike Tyson.
There’s no such thing as a certainly — not even in boxing.
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