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'Even if I hate this guy, I've got to respect him' - Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder face off ahead of Las Vegas rematch

British heavyweight admits opponent is a great puncher who gets the job done

Tyson Fury insisted he has great respect for Deontay Wilder ahead of their heavyweight rematch - even if he hates his opponent.

The pair will go head-to-head at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena on February 22, 14 months after their controversial opening bout, where the match was drawn.

In a stand off moment before the start of the press conference, it was Deontay Wilder who broke the stare first before a light-hearted exchange between the two heavyweights.

Fury said: "You're looking at a man here who's knocked out 43 opponents in a row, now even if I hate this guy, I've got to respect that - that's awesome.

"I never met anybody before who knocked out everyone they ever fought."

He added: "Deontay's got amazing power and no matter what it comes to, verbal blows or anything, you always have to respect him.

"He's 10 defences, beaten Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson and all these guys' record defending the belt and he's done a fantastic job here in the United States, holding his title and defending it regularly so congratulations to the guy.

"I've got nothing - I can't take anything from him. He's a great puncher and he gets the job done."

In the first fight, the British fighter outboxed WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, despite suffering two knockdowns, as the match ended in a draw.

Fury insisted he had something that Wilder does not have, despite the American's powerful punch, he said: "The statistics don't lie, he is a much bigger puncher than me, a one-punch knockout artist.

"That's what he does but I don't believe anyone can match me with heart and determination.

"I will put my iron will on Deontay Wilder and we'll see.

"Listen, it can only go two ways, unless we get a draw again which he don't want and I don't want.

"He wins or I win, but I'm not afraid to go el mono-el mono with the biggest puncher on the planet, biggest puncher of heavyweight boxing. When I knock him out it's going to look excellent for me."

Wilder took a different approach, dismissed Fury's lineal championship, and insisted he can defeat the 6ft 9in boxer.

He said: "I'm the biggest puncher probably in boxing history, so of course that would play into my gameplan ... when you're coming forward you're giving me all of the momentum I need to land a shot."

When asked whether Fury had the power to knock him out, the 34-year-old said: "I didn't. I still think Tyson had a pillow as a fist but he's a skilful fighter though. But you can't have it all, people say I don't have skills but I have the punch.

"It's an adrenaline rush in the ring, we're all brave warriors, we're all gladiators and that's what we become in order to fight and give you guys the best show of your lives."

Updated: January 26, 2020 10:41 AM

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