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Tyson Fury insists he’s worked ‘non-stop to improve my boxing’ ahead of Deontay Wilder showdown

Tyson and a few of the team whiled away one of these long pre-fight evenings by sitting down to a game of poker in his new mansion.

‘Right here,’ the champ shouted, banging one of those meat cleaver fists on a handsome table beneath the classical artwork in a cavernous kitchen diner.

Then he roared with laughter. Whatever the game, Tyson Fury plays as hard as he will against Deontay Wilder in their trilogy world heavyweight title fight here on Saturday night.

Tyson Fury is in bullish mood as his heavyweight showdown with Deontay Wilder draws closer

So did the cards fall for him as sweetly as he expects to bring America’s Bronze Bomber crashing down again?

‘I just have to win at everything,’ he says with a smile as broad as the front driveway. ‘Don’t I?’

Well, he usually does. Still undefeated. Still heavyweight champion of the world. Still, he didn’t have it all his own way with the cards, as he did when obliterating Wilder in their first rematch.

‘It was a six-man poker tournament,’ he says. ‘Winner takes all, £20 in each. It came down to the last two of us. I was the leading chip holder but the game was dragging on. So I said let’s settle it on who draws the highest single card.

‘I went first. Ouch. Cut a five. Feared that for once I was going to come up second best. Then, bang, a three came out. I thought, “wow”. Couldn’t believe I’d won with a five. For sure you’d never win with a five in any casino on the Strip. High fives all round!’

The Gypsy King has been locked down in a luxury training base ahead of his second rematch

The Gypsy King has been locked down in a luxury training base ahead of his second rematch

Fury, 33, is not afraid to chip in and takes the bins out between poker games with his team

Fury, 33, is not afraid to chip in and takes the bins out between poker games with his team

Fury says he and his family are moving forward after almost losing their sixth child (pictured with wife Paris Fury)

Fury says he and his family are moving forward after almost losing their sixth child (pictured with wife Paris Fury)

Not that he is letting his £120 winnings go to his head: ‘I’m stashing the money away to take home and put into my bank savings account.’

That said, he came out of the house at dawn the following morning towing large trash bins. Does the champ make a habit of putting out the rubbish? ‘Hey,’ he says. ‘I’m a father of six so of course I do.’

Then he is off running with his brothers and trainers around the luxury estate to which the entry is guarded by two heavily manned sets of iron gates. Some wealthy neighbours keep him jogging on the spot as he signs autographs. The folk next door are walking the dog and he stops to make a smiling fuss of it.

A medic from the local clinic arrives and he stands in the warm sunshine as he performs the latest Covid test on himself: ‘I have to do it because my nose has been broken so often in fights that no one else can manoeuvre the stick in there.’

The result would come back negative. Not to his surprise. He has caused something of a stir by delaying a second vaccination — ‘because I don’t want to get in the ring feeling weak or anything’ — but is confident there will be no repeat of the July postponement of this fight with Wilder because of his coronavirus infection. He is sure he is full of antigens now, saying: ‘I’ve actually had Covid not once but twice.’

Fury regularly takes Covid tests, having tested positive to force the fight to be rescheduled

Fury regularly takes Covid tests, having tested positive to force the fight to be rescheduled 

The British star stops to pet a dog while out on his run with his brothers and trainers

The British star stops to pet a dog while out on his run with his brothers and trainers

Even so, he is taking more stringent precautions. The team has been pared down to five living in the big house, three more staying at a rented property nearby. He adds: ‘We also keep the bubble secure by having the gym under lock and key with nobody else allowed in while we’re there.’

Then it’s back to his home from home. Although he says: ‘This house is not a home at the moment. It’s a base for my work. Home is where the family are and they’re not here.’

Not the lovely Paris. None of the six children. They are back in Morecambe following the heartache of almost losing the new baby daughter at birth.

Fury says: ‘When you’re told your child is dead it’s trauma. Thanks to those great nurses and doctors who saved her we’ve moved on now. We always like to look forward, not back.’

So, onward now to Fury-Wilder III. He says: ‘I never take anyone for granted. Some people are writing Deontay off because I smashed him in seven rounds last time. Not me. He is still my most dangerous opponent. There are some good boxers but with Wilder’s power I know I’m messing with an atomic bomb.

Fury's trilogy bout with Wilder has been a long time in the making due to twists and turns

Fury’s trilogy bout with Wilder has been a long time in the making due to twists and turns

‘If he connects right with just one punch it can be a catastrophe for anyone. Trauma in the ring. I felt it when he put me down in our first fight.’

In that astonishing final round of a disputed draw, Fury got up barely conscious to finish the fight.

Ask him how he did that and he says: ‘You’ve got to have guts to succeed in boxing. Sheer guts. There will be moments when it’s not about how much you get hit but how much you can take. I’ve taken a lot in my life. That’s why I’ve trained for this one like Rocky in the movie.

‘No man could have done more. The toughest possible sparring. Eating nothing but the best foods — vegetables, fruits, fish, meats, vitamins, minerals.’

The Gypsy King destroyed his American rival 20 months ago and wants to emulate that feat

The Gypsy King destroyed his American rival 20 months ago and wants to emulate that feat

However, Fury is acutely aware of the threat that the big-hitting Bronze Bomber (above) poses

However, Fury is acutely aware of the threat that the big-hitting Bronze Bomber (above) poses

To combat the dry atmosphere of the Nevada desert he is also downing astonishing amounts of water. ‘Well over a gallon a day,’ he says. ‘Hydration is a vital key to performance. Your body is 75 per cent water. And I’ve got a big body. Must keep watering. One per cent dehydration equals a 20 per cent drop in performance. It is hard to drink this much. You have to keep running to relieve yourself.’

Fortunately, in this Catholic father’s house are many bathrooms. Also a great deal of dedication. He says: ‘Anything worth doing is going to be hard. If success was as easy as getting drunk then everyone would be successful. But that’s not the way the world works. To win you have to be very determined. To be sure of winning you have to be able to do things the others won’t do. And with me, there’s always a surprise.’

So what does he have up his sleeve for Wilder? He says: ‘Deontay will find himself up against a Tyson Fury who is 30 to 40 cent better than the Tyson Fury who steamrolled him in the last fight. I haven’t wasted our 20 months out of the ring.

‘I’ve worked non-stop to improve my boxing, my footwork, my jab. Everything. I’ve been an elite fighter for years but I’ve used the break to move up to an even higher echelon.

The Gypsy King remembers being floored by Fury in the 12th round of their first bout in 2018

The Gypsy King remembers being floored by Fury in the 12th round of their first bout in 2018

The 33-year-old (right) says he is in superb condition, insisting that no corners have been cut

The 33-year-old (right) says he is in superb condition, insisting that no corners have been cut

‘I’m sure Deontay’s been trying hard to improve, too. He’s got a new trainer and he wants to get better. But while he will also have the biggest punch in the world, I can’t really see how he can make a big difference to his basic boxing. I hope he’s better. I hope he can give me a bigger challenge because we don’t want another beat down.

‘I love boxing and we all want good fights. Anyway, if we’ve both improved then the outcome should be the same. Me breaking him down and smashing him to bits again. Only quicker.’

Meanwhile, he’s ready to play the great entertainer: ‘I like the circus of fight week. The build-up. The funfair. Let the games begin.’

So, will it be high fives again for Fury on this fabled Strip? Don’t bet against it. According to the bookmakers here, The Gypsy King still rules on Sunday morning. 

Fury v Wilder will be televised live on BT Sport Box Office late this Saturday night.

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