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Las Vegas is a city famous for people getting lucky.
Whether that be on the slot machines, the card tables, the roulette wheel or in one of the thousands of hotel rooms.
But while Tyson Fury has made this chaotic town his home away from home, the Manchester-born star insists nothing about his success here has been down to fortune.
Unbeaten Fury. 33, makes the first defence of the WBC heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder at the T-Mobile Arena just off the Strip.
It is his fourth fight in a row in the boxing capital of the world and his earnings will surpass £60million for all of those when he faces Wilder for a third time in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Fury has certainly struck it rich in the gambling mecca but it is not down to chance.
“I don’t feel fortunate or grateful for anything because I have worked my nuts off for this,” he said.
“There is never a man in the room who has put more time and effort into their career than me over the years. I have worked really hard to get to this position.
“Some people like to say ‘you’re a lucky man’ but am I f*** a lucky man.
“I have dedicated my life to this game and I don’t feel fortunate because everything happens for a reason.
“Whatever is meant to be but am I fortunate or lucky?
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“Hell no, I am not, I have worked very hard for everything I have got.
“Every penny I have earned is blood money, it’s an old expression but that’s what it is.
“Every penny has been taking out of my blood and face and body, the trauma, the punches to the brain and body, it definitely takes its toll on a man.
“And it is definitely called blood money for a reason, whatever fighters earn – going hand to hand combat and fighting for their lives – they deserve a million times more.
“No matter what they earn it is minimum wage for what they have done.”
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The only blood that was spilled in Fury’s last fight against Wilder was the American’s of course.
The Brit bullied and battered the Bronze Bomber before the towel came in during the seventh round.
But the damage the sport can do is clearly on the mind of the Gypsy King as he prepares to head into his 20th round with one of the most fearsome punchers on the planet.
“Boxing doesn’t take any prisoners, it just takes casualties,” said Fury.
“That’s a fact. You look at all these great world champions from the past, they’re all broke into pieces today.
“I read in the papers that a good friend of mine Frank Bruno has recently [was during first lockdown] been sectioned with mental health problems again.
“I watch interviews with Mike Tyson and Bruno on the Sky documentary and I see a lot of similarities in us all. We’re all victims of this game.
“A granny who has never been hit in her life, she can come down with dementia more than a man who has had 350 fights.
“I don’t think it is a lot to do with it but I think it could be connected, getting punched in the face and getting all around the head rattled.”
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It is 20 months since Fury and Wilder shared a ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
We’ve had the pandemic, injuries, TV clashes, undisputed fight negotiations, an arbitration and even Fury catching Covid causing many delays.
But finally they will settle their rivalry as both men aim to ‘close the book’ on each other.
There are no further rematch clauses and the winner will go hunting for the undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua.
The mood is different around Vegas in comparison to last time. When Fury was last here, 5,000 British fans descended on the Strip.
But the travel ban for UK nationals to get into the US has meant the supporters in town will be predominantly cheering on the American.
Anyone here is masked up as Nevada still fights off the pandemic, too. It is not as wild as it usually is around the party-mad city.
Fury has won fans in America though so there will be plenty of cheers when he makes what will surely be a spectacular entrance into the arena.
They like his loud suits, big talk and, of course, his ability in the ring.
The only blemish on Fury’s record is his 2018 draw with Wilder in LA but he has not lost in 31 fights.
He dethroned Wladimir Klitschko as WBA, IBF and WBO champion and he ended Wilder’s WBC reign.
There are negatives, of course. A backdated two-year drugs ban and battles with cocaine, alcohol and mental health meant he has not been as active as he should have been.
But now the question is what can he go on to achieve to improve his status when talking about the very best in the division’s history.
Yet in true Fury style, he insists he doesn’t care.
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“I don’t have any goals in boxing, I have done everything and won everything, the only one to do it in my era,” he said.
“I have done everything so maybe they need to make more belts and awards.
“I counted them up the other day and I have 20 titles in boxing.
“History and being remembered means you are finished and once you are finished, you are finished.
“It doesn’t matter how many belts you have, who you beat, what your record is. You are just another bare bum in the shower and I have always had that opinion.
“The great Joe Calzaghe, one of the best fighters of all time in my opinion, one of the greatest fighters who has ever lived, unbeaten in 46 fights but where is he today?
“He is in Wales somewhere – living his life – because once you are finished you are finished.
“Even the wins and the glory die down and sooner or later you just become another person and a has-been.
“You achieve your dreams and whether someone behind a computer believes you are the best or not, it is over.
“I bet Joe doesn’t really care where you rank him, does it matter? He has had his career, he has done what he wanted to do.
“I will always have been the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, Ring Magazine champion, that will not evaporate in history but once it is done, it is done and you cannot get it back.
“It is not going to last forever so enjoy it while it is here.”
- Anthony Joshua
- Deontay Wilder
- Tyson Fury
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