Heavyweights Wilder, Fury scuffle at promotional appearance
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have wrapped up their three-city publicity tour for their upcoming bout by nearly coming to blows again.
The unbeaten stars' news conference in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday got physical when Wilder and Fury exchanged shoves after pushing their heads together during some nose-to-nose trash talk.
Moments later, the fighters had to be separated by their respective entourages and promoters during a prolonged group scuffle in which a podium was overturned.
"You're dealing with the baddest man on the planet," Wilder said to Fury. "When I look over your body, I'm not going to have no mercy for you."
The 6-foot-7 Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will meet the 6-foot-9 Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 1. Their bout is one of the most important heavyweight matchups of recent years, and arguably the biggest U.S. heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis' victory over Mike Tyson in Memphis in 2002.
Both fighters are making their U.S. pay-per-view debuts on Showtime, and both displayed plenty of mutual disdain at a theater across the street from Staples Center.
The loquacious Fury directed a long list of insults at Wilder before their physical clash on stage.
"I've seen plenty of killers, and I know I'm not looking at one here," Fury said. "But you're looking at a Spartan."
The fighters also promoted the bout in London on Monday and in New York on Tuesday. Their trash-talking appeared to be a bit more tongue-in-cheek at their first two stops, but the clash got physical in LA, even if both fighters maintained a level of public respect.
"He's great for the heavyweight division," Wilder said of Fury. "He's charismatic. He can talk. I've got a great dancing partner. He's fearless in the ring, and he's got a background of boxing in his blood. It's good that he's from another country so you get to see different cultures, different personalities from the two of us. You've got one from America and you've got one from Great Britain. So that's going to make it even more pleasurable for me when I knock him out."
Fury won three major heavyweight titles in November 2015 with a persuasive unanimous decision victory over Wladimir Klitschko, who had reigned atop the division for nearly a decade. But Fury lost all of his titles during a 31-month period of inactivity during which he tested positive for cocaine use and struggled with depression.
The Manchester native returned to the ring this year with two one-sided victories, and his passion for boxing appears to be rekindled.
"I can walk around here, and I can talk as good as any man in the country," Fury said. "But when it comes to a fight, it's going to be a hell of a fight. Deontay Wilder: massive puncher. Me: skillful boxer. It's going to be an epic night. This is a legacy fight ... and after I win, he's going to hire me as his publicist because I do believe I can promote Deontay Wilder back to being heavyweight champion of the world in no time. But there's no shame in losing to me, because I am the greatest boxer of my generation and I can't be beat, especially not by him."
Wilder has been the WBC heavyweight champion since January 2015, defending his belt seven times. The 32-year-old Alabama native has produced many spectacular knockouts in his career, including the finish of a stunning comeback victory over Luis Ortiz in his last fight in March, but Fury is his highest-profile opponent to date.