MANCHESTER, England — Tyson Fury removed his T-shirt, turned to Wladimir Klitschko, pointed to his flabby belly and blurted out: “Shame on you, you let a fat man beat you.”
It was just one of the many lively moments in an expletive-laden, at-times-shocking news conference at the Manchester Arena on Wednesday between two fighters vying to become world heavyweight champion on July 9.
Fury was the star of the show, as always. It started with him waltzing into the event backed by music and cheerleaders, and dancing in front of Klitschko. It ended with Fury ranting about how he hates boxing, how he’d rather be sitting on his sofa eating chocolate, and calling himself a “joke.”
Klitschko often sat motionless, sometimes shaking his head at what he was hearing.
The Ukrainian still cannot believe his nine-year reign as world heavyweight champion ended at the hands of Fury in a unanimous decision in Germany in November. Not because he doesn’t think Fury is a bad boxer, but because he doesn’t respect him as a person.
Fury is outspoken with his views. He has criticized abortion, openly disagrees with homosexuality, made sexist comments like “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back,” and said doping should be legalized in all sports to make it “fully fair.”
Klitschko said he is “embarrassed” that he has given a “stage” to Fury by losing to him.
“I’m not OK with what comes out of Fury’s mouth, his statements,” Klitschko said Wednesday. “For example, that all homosexual men and women and pedophiles belong in the same place, in jail basically. That all women belong in the kitchen and on their back. So that is basically where he sees Elton John and the Queen.”
Klitschko added that he wants to win the rematch “not just for myself but for the people ... and the better reputation of the heavyweight champion.”
Fury, it seems, isn’t ready to change. Holding one of the most prestigious titles in all sports hasn’t made him more of a role model. He says what he thinks and continues to offend people with his controversial views and language.
“I’m like a performing monkey, aren’t I?” he said in one of his rants during the news conference. “Silent music and Tyson Fury performs. I am really a joke, aren’t I, when you tell the truth?”
But Fury, who comes from a bloodline of Gypsy boxers, is a talented fighter who has won all 25 of his professional fights, 18 by knockout. Standing at 2.09 meters (6-feet, 9-inches), his reach and movement caused Klitschko problems in the first fight and the Ukrainian barely landed a punch.
“You got beaten fair and square the first time in Germany on your own turf in front of all your own people — you got whooped,” Fury said. “You’ll need to be about 1,000 times better because you landed about four shots in 12 rounds.”
The 40-year-old Klitschko said he will adopt a different game plan for the rematch.
“I was in the perfect physical shape but mentally I was absent,” he said. “I was going into the fight passively. The fight was lost, but we didn’t lose the fighter.”
Klitschko attended the Champions League match between Manchester City and Real Madrid on Tuesday, and said 80 percent of the people that came up to him wanted him to beat Fury.
“I met so many people saying, ‘Dude, knock him out please. I can’t stand him,’” he said. “This is revenge for me, not a rematch.”