JEFF POWELL: Tyson Fury primed for Vegas debut against Tom Schwarz

Tyson Fury primed for Vegas debut against Tom Schwarz as the ‘Gypsy King’ bids to become an American Idol

  • Tyson Fury is preparing to face Tom Schwarz in a Las Vegas showdown
  • The ‘Gypsy King’ enters the clash off the back of his draw with Deontay Wilder 
  • Despite the magnitude of the fight tickets have not sold out and seats remain
  • Fury needs to be at his bedazzling best to win over the American audience 

The Gypsy King Show hits this notorious neon oasis in the Nevada desert on Saturday night.

If there are to be return engagements, Tyson Fury will have to put on a punch and dance act so unforgettable that Americans will queue down the Strip for tickets. Maybe with one of his renditions from the Vegas crooner’s songbook to round off a knock-out debut in the fight capital of the world.

Fury was in good voice at his media rehearsals and his natural flair as an entertainer has generated increasing interest in this heavyweight fight between an Englishman and a German — Tom Schwarz — in the USA. Not even Bob Arum, the high priest of promoters over here, has gone so far as to claim a sell-out.

Tyson Fury knows he can make a name for himself if he topples Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas

Seats remain available in most parts and it is likely that the turn-out will be enhanced by handing out free tickets to lucky guests in the MGM hotels and the rounding up of some of that group’s employees.

Nothing wrong with that, since the object of this exercise is to continue the selling of Fury to the American market.

But Fury needs to be at his bedazzling best when the lights go down and the TV cameras zoom in on the ring at the Grand Garden Arena.

All the indications are that he will be. He is as honed of body as a 6ft 9in giant possibly could be, at an expected 18½ stone.

Fury was in good voice at his media rehearsals and his natural flair as an entertainer emerged

That is several pounds heavier than for his epic draw with WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, after a crash diet of Titanic proportions.

‘I needed to put about a stone back on,’ he says, ‘to balance power with speed.’

That is a clear indication of his awareness that US crowds like their boxing skills to be set against a backdrop of fireworks. Fury says he feels under no pressure to make the impact expected of him by Arum and ESPN, who are backing him to the merry tune of a reported £63million. 

Certainly, any stress inside those ropes would not compare with the massive mental struggle with which he hauled himself clear of the darkness of chronic depression.

None who witnessed that psychological effort ever expected this colossus to achieve the incredible lightness of being he now exudes.

‘Not even me,’ he says. ‘But here I am, really happy. I have the pleasure of seeing my name up in lights in this town, of fighting in the iconic MGM Arena where all heavyweight greats boxed.’

Schwarz (right) is putting his undefeated record on the line when he comes up against Fury

Can he stay that way, even if he were to suffer a defeat as shocking as that which cost Anthony Joshua all his world titles a fortnight ago? 

‘No problem,’ he says. ‘Not that I expect it, even though I know Schwarz will feel he can be inspired by what Andy Ruiz did to Joshua. No, I was born to fight. And I love it. Now I love to train, too. And to keep doing that will keep me happy. And don’t forget, nearly all those greats lost at some point.’

With the chances of that happening tonight as remote as summer snowfall in Vegas, the focus is on how enchanting Fury can be in this Disneyland for grown-ups.

No one is denying that Fury is the heavyweight emeritus of the Sweet Science. The fluid skills, the astonishing athleticism for so big a man and the genius ring IQ hallmark the most talented of the largest prize-fighters of his generation. 

The big sell to American audiences began with a bang against Wilder, although the thrill came from the Bronze Bomber’s freakish punching power, dropping Fury twice.

Fury can expect to find himself the lone entertainer in the ring against a competent Schwarz and a couple more Honest Joes who are expected to follow into the opposite corner this winter.

‘Yes,’ he confirms, ‘I’ll be boxing over here for the next few fights. For the money ESPN are paying me they wouldn’t be happy with me going back home to box. And now of course Joshua is out of the picture.’

Fury last stepped into the ring in December when facing Deontay Wilder in a blockbuster bout

Fury envisages two more fights — ‘preferably in September and December’ — as he works his way into America’s consciousness and talks himself on to more prime-time chat shows. Both are designed by Arum and his UK promoter Frank Warren to build the rematch with Wilder — perhaps a trilogy — into financial blockbusters.

Fury might not have anything left to prove in the UK perhaps, but the Americans are harder to please and the historical scepticism about British heavies was reawakened by what happened to Joshua.

Schwarz has an unbeaten record rooted in durability, so the likeliest outcome is Fury on points by a wide margin.

If the knockout is not forthcoming, a mesmerising masterclass would suffice to keep the American bandwagon rolling and the after-fight party rocking on to dawn.

That is booked for Hakkasan, the hottest and most expensive club in Vegas, with Fury promising to buy all the drinks for everyone who gets in — all night long.

Expensive? ‘What’s a million bucks with what I’m earning,’ he laughs. Not too much, as long he keeps on winning.

Fury v Schwarz, live on BT Sport Box Office late tonight. Expected start 4am.

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