Get ready to hear from two of the heavyweight division’s biggest stars several times before they do battle later this year.

This week, current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-0 39 KOs) and Tyson Fury (27-0-0 19 KOs) will hold court in London for the first of three planned press conferences. The “Gypsy King“ and the “Bronze Bomber” will then cross the Atlantic to New York for the second stop before wrapping up the tour in Los Angeles.

It may only be a coincidence, but online whisperings have L.A.’s Staples Center as the likely venue for the pair’s WBC heavyweight title clash, which is set take place on Dec. 1. So arranging the tour’s final port of call to be in L.A. would make sense.

For both men, the media tour represents an opportunity to create a narrative that does not solely revolve around current heavyweight kingpin and reigning IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua (22-0-0, 21 KOs).

Since defeating Wladimir Klitschko (64-5-0, 53 KOs) in 2017, Joshua’s star has only gotten brighter. This past weekend on a cold, wet Saturday evening in London, approximately 80,000 fans were in attendance to witness Joshua successfully defend his title against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (34-2-0, 24 KOs).

Last October, over 70,000 were on hand at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium to see Joshua stop Frenchman Carlos Takam in the 10th round. Takam is not an easy night at the office for any fighter, but outside of boxing circles he is almost entirely unknown. Joshua’s star power now means he can turn each of his fights into an event.

There is no other heavyweight and arguably no other active boxer capable of regularly generating those types of numbers.

For Wilder and Fury, a bout with Joshua would automatically cast them in the role of supporting actor. The public would see all their words and actions through the prism of their impact on Joshua. It is not an unusual situation as there are often fighters whose personalities and public followings cast a shadow over their opponents. However, it is also not an ideal situation for either Wilder or Fury.

The upcoming press tour will allow both Wilder and Fury extended time in front of the world’s media, giving them the opportunity to increase their profile on both sides of the Atlantic as well as even further afield. This will be a boost not only for their upcoming title fight but for the heavyweight division as a whole.

In Wilder and Fury, the division has two talented, undefeated fighters with interesting back stories, who are both engaging and entertaining speakers. Wilder has almost been on a one-person crusade in his efforts to spark interest in the heavyweight division in the USA. The 32-year-old has treated every pre- and post-fight press conference to his unique, bombastic style of speaking, no matter how small the media turn out.

Wilder vs. Fury
Wilder vs. Fury
It has not been his fault that the platforms provided have yet to do the 40-0 undefeated champion justice. Wilder has been criticized for his less than stellar opposition, but it was Wilder who was first prepared to fight Povetkin back in 2016 — and on the Russian’s home soil. It was beyond Wilder’s control that Povetkin got popped for PEDs.

It was also Wilder who took on and defeated the division’s bogeyman, Luis Ortiz, this past March. It was a result that while earning him respect among boxing fans, failed to translate into increased public recognition for the man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

A title fight against Fury will pull in sporting press from around the world, not just the U.K. and U.S., finally giving Wilder the stage he deserves, allowing him to fully step into the world’s spotlight. Perhaps underneath that light, he will morph into the global sporting figure he is capable of becoming.

For Fury, getting press in the U.K. has never been a problem. The outspoken former WBA, WBO and IBF world champion has had no shortage of column inches written about him. The problem for Fury is that most of it in recent time has either been framed around him coming back to fight Joshua or his battles with depression.

The 30-year-old Fury is one the most interesting and articulate boxers on the scene. It is true that he is capable of providing short, attention-grabbing headlines that often emerge from the streams of insults he lobs at the likes of Eddie Hearn and other fighters in the division, but these statements do not do justice to the other side of Fury.

This is the side of Fury that can speak in-depth not only on boxing matters but on the values and ideals he holds and his views on such as matters as family, fame and material fortune.

This more reflective aspect of Fury is the side that comes out in one on one interview situations, where he is less Fury the showman and more Fury the man. Hopefully, during the course of the tour, we will get to see both sides.

Fury and Wilder do not share any genuine enmity between each other, and both men appear to understand that if the other shines they will also shine. Their different stories and personalities are tailor-made to produce not only a great fight but a great boxing event.

For the sport, it can only be a good thing if both of these men emerge after their December bout as not only household names in their country of origin, but household names around the world.

Hopefully, by the time the tour reaches L.A., it’s more than just boxing fans who will be anticipating the pair’s clash.

Source: FS