How hours at the pool table and his mum’s favourite song inspired 'The Gypsy King', writes James Dielhenn
Monday 2 March 2020 20:32, UK
Tyson Fury's flight home was delayed by a thunderstorm leading to a boozy wait in a random airport - it was the only thing to go wrong in an otherwise perfect assault on Las Vegas.
The 48-hour stretch from before to after his destruction of Deontay Wilder veered from a calculated calm to wild celebration and ended with Fury's inner-circle sat in an airport pub wondering when they could go home.
They arrived back in the UK later than planned, sleep-deprived and a bit hungover, but the mission was complete. The WBC heavyweight championship belt was part of Fury's on board luggage.
The final hours of the Tyson Fury mission began on Friday evening after the weigh-in, with no more appearances or media commitments required. The atmosphere, as explained by Fury's protégé Isaac Lowe who won a fight on the undercard and stayed in the same Vegas mansion, was peaceful.
"We had a few games of pool and a bit of a craic. By 7 or 8 o'clock Tyson went to his room," Lowe told Sky Sports.
"Everyone went back into their own rooms. Tyson went to watch telly. Everyone has an early night and the house is quiet."
There was no talk on the Friday night of the fight ahead. Wives and girlfriends had long since departed the fighters' rented residence - Paris Fury, Tyson's wife, had arrived in Vegas on Thursday and visited her husband on Friday but left him alone by early evening.
There was an ominous calm around the house as the team slowly woke, one by one, early on Saturday morning. This is always a strange day in the life of a boxer - under instruction to conserve energy but also not to think too much about the evening's work.
"We always get up early, around 7.30 or 8am. Tyson sleeps in a bit later," Lowe explained. "We have breakfast, a coffee, and see what everyone else is up to."
Fury, Lowe and their team of trainers lounged around the house and its swimming pool. Inside, the pool table continued to be a constant source of distraction from what lay ahead.
But rather than everybody trying to distract Fury from the biggest fight of his life, it was the future WBC champion who distracted everybody else with his unique methods.
"It's not us making jokes with Tyson, it's Tyson making jokes with us," Lowe laughed. "That is the truth. He is always up to something! He is great to be in camp with because sometimes it can be hard, you miss home, especially if you're in America. He's always pulling stunts, up to something, up for a game of pool, keeping us occupied, he is good to be around.
"You wouldn't think Tyson is going for a fight. He is relaxed and calm, he doesn't worry about it. We told him: 'Wilder is a big puncher so keep your hands up' but he said: 'Chill, I've got this'.
"He had it under control, alright!
"He is a freak of nature. Super calm and super cool under pressure. Tyson was born to do this. His full family came from a fighting background so it's just another day in the office.
"This camp had a lot more to it, it meant a lot more to Tyson, and meant a lot more to everyone. It was a lot stricter. In the past we've been known to sneak a Mars bar! But everything was by the book - we ate, slept and trained when we were told to."
By early-afternoon the team began to splinter - Lowe was fighting at 3pm local time, much earlier than Fury.
"I try not to think about the fight until I get to the arena," Lowe said. "The more you think about it, the more you zap yourself of energy. You can't do anything until you get into the ring so I relax, and switch on when I get to the arena."
Lowe beat Alberto Guevara via unanimous decision. He had recovered and showered by the time that Fury, and the main group surrounding him, had driven 20 minutes to the arena.
Fury was still nowhere close to mentally tuning in to his fight.
Only certain members of his entourage knew about his epic ring-walk plan to dress as a king. He had managed to keep it a secret from everybody else all week.
"We never knew about it," Lowe said. "He's always got something up his sleeve."
His entrance song was 'Crazy' by Patsy Cline, hardly a traditional war cry. It is Fury's mum's favourite song.
"It was a great choice, everyone loved it," said Lowe.
"I thought: 'What a beast!' He was so relaxed, I just knew. When someone is so calm and relaxed, taking everything in, you know he is ready. No-one was denying him on that night."
Then the fight happened.
The after-party was at Hakkasan nightclub, in the MGM Grand, the same casino that hosted the fight itself.
It was an old-fashioned all-nighter so Sunday, understandably, was a write-off.
"We left Monday morning but it took 24 hours to get back," Lowe said. "We had to fly to Georgia, then there was a thunderstorm which delayed the plane. We were knackered."
How to kill the time?
"We had a few beers."
Not long later, the victorious homecoming was complete.