Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 27-0 (19) has revealed how he got one-up on long-time heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 64-5 (53) long before the pair faced off in the boxing ring.
The 30-year-old self-styled ‘Gypsy King’, who will face American knockout artist Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) for his WBC belt at Los Angeles’s Staples Center on December 1, opened up about the mind games between himself and Klitschko that took place five years before the pair finally met in a Dusseldorf ring in Germany in 2015.
“When I was about 22, we were both in the sauna – everyone said he was the sauna king – he couldn’t be beaten,” Fury said on Showtime.
“Everyone goes in the sauna and Klitschko has to stay in longer – it’s his mental thing he does to beat everyone.
“I was in there a minute and I was totally f***ed, thinking ‘I can’t do this’.
“But I saw a newspaper, picked it up and laid down reading it.”
According to Fury, Klitschko appeared entirely comfortable in the unforgiving heat before something unusual happened.
“It got to about 45 minutes and he [Klitschko] walked out, didn’t speak to anyone and just went upstairs,” Fury continued.
“I then walked out after a few minutes, nearly passed out and felt really faint.
“And everyone was like ‘what have you done?’ and I told them ‘I’ve just won a mental battle with him’.
“Then when I was sat on a table with him before our fight and he claimed he didn’t remember it – so I knew I had him mentally.”
Fury, who went on to defeat Klitschko by unanimous decision to claim the world heavyweight championship three years ago, told the story in a video uploaded to Showtime Boxing’s Twitter channel.
The timeline of the story puts this at around 2010-11, when the then 14-0 (10) Fury fought a 14-0 (9) Dereck Chisora for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
Around the same time Klitschko, already a veteran of 58 fights, was preparing to defend his IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against WBA champion David Haye.