In a sport often dominated by brash personalities and loud voices, silence made the lasting impression at the kickoff news conference in Los Angeles for Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III.
Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, will defend his belt July 24 at T-Mobile Arena against the boxer he took it from.
Wilder spoke first, striding to the lectern and reading a brief poem. He didn’t say anything else the rest of the news conference.
“Enough said, time to cut off his head,” he said. “Come July the 24, there will be bloodshed.”
Wilder, wearing headphones, then sat down and paid no attention to questions for him and his new trainer, Malik Scott.
Fury, however, was his usual boisterous self. He danced around the stage and promoted the fight by himself.
“I don’t believe he’s mentally, physically or emotionally involved in this fight,” Fury said. “I think he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. When people do things for the wrong reasons, they always wind up getting hurt.”
Fury went back and forth with Scott, telling the former heavyweight that he couldn’t properly train Wilder because he wasn’t a great fighter himself. Fury also mentioned that he busted Scott’s eardrum in a sparring session years ago.
“Don’t we find it funny that I’ve busted both of these guys’ eardrums — trainer and fighter? Crazy,” Fury said.
Fury, who weighed 273 pounds for the second fight, said he’s trying to get to 300 pounds for the third one.
The two fighters then engaged in a staredown that lasted more than five minutes.
After a few minutes, they were asked to face media members and photographers. Still, they stared, and Wilder again refused to answer questions.
“If the guy isn’t going to speak, I think he’s digging his own grave,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said.
Members of both teams eventually joined the fighters and jawed back and forth, but no one touched either one. Still, they stared.
Finally, Wilder put his sunglasses on and turned away, trailed closely by his team. That left Fury standing alone, his gaze still aimed in the direction of the former champion.
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 knockouts) first squared off against Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in December 2018, fighting to a controversial split draw. Fury outboxed Wilder for long stretches, but Wilder scored two knockdowns — including a momentous one in the final round that seemed to have Fury out cold before he miraculously beat the count.