Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Bob Arum on Tyson Fury: I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali

Top Rank promoter predicts that Fury would beat heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder after scoring second-round TKO of Tom Schwarz on Las Vegas debut

There has not been a boxer with as much charisma as Tyson Fury since Muhammad Ali, says Bob Arum, with the celebrated promoter claiming a second fight between Fury and Deontay Wilder would outsell Manny Pacquiao’s record-breaking bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Fury put on a sensational show against Germany’s Tom Schwarz on debut in Las Vegas on Saturday night, when the undefeated British heavyweight recorded an impressive technical-knockout victory in the second round.

Fury, 30, provided a comprehensive display of his ability at the MGM Grand Arena, first knocking down a bloodied Schwarz in the second before the referee was forced to step in and call an end to the fight.

Fury, who entered the contest to James Brown’s Living in America and dressed in the Stars and Stripes – a nod to Apollo Creed from the "Rocky" franchise - then sang in the ring after the decision was announced and in the post-fight press conference, too.

The fight was part of the multi-million dollar deal Fury signed with Top Rank, whose chief executive Arum promoted Ali for many years as he became the biggest name in sport.

“I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali,” Arum said. “That was amazing. Tyson Fury is a force of nature. This was one of the great shows I’ve ever seen and not just because of the boxing. He’s an entertainer. He is truly unique.”

All eyes will now be on a rematch with undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, scheduled for sometime early next year. The two met in a blockbuster battle in Los Angeles last December, when Fury famously rallied from a 12th-round knockdown to earn a draw - a hugely contentious decision given the Brit seemed to have been well up on the cards.

Fury, who with Saturday's victory improved his record to 28-0-1 with 20 knockouts, said he plans to have one more fight later this year before taking on Wilder again.

"Now that he’s in shape, he can knock out every heavyweight in the world," Arum said. "Deontay Wilder is not going five rounds with him. We will have another fight, then we will fight Wilder.

"I've been around a long time. And [Fury] is right now easily the best heavyweight in the world, maybe one of the all-time best heavyweights. I mean, how do you deal with a guy who is 6ft 9in and moves the way he does? He's something else and something special."

Arum even predicted Fury-Wilder II would become the biggest fight in boxing history, surpassing the reported $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) generated by Pacquiao-Mayweather in May 2015. That bout, won on points by Mayweather, boasted a record 4.6m pay-per-view purchases.

"I can’t see why that fight won’t equal or surpass numbers done on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight," Arum said. "That was built up for a lot of years and still they’re not heavyweights."

"Why wouldn’t it be? People always look for the big, big heavyweight fights. Ali-[Joe] Frazier did more business than any other fight before it. I can’t see why that wouldn’t happen. And particularly when it matches somebody from the UK, who is not coming over as an opponent but is an equal with an American, it can do tremendous business on pay-per-view."

Updated: June 16, 2019 12:44 PM

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