Tyson Fury has been brutally honest about various sensitive subjects in recent years.
Alcoholism. Depression. Drug use.
The types of topics that typically embarrass men of his figurative and literal stature. The WBC champion’s candor has made his incredible comeback from the depths of despair to the top of the boxing world all the more inspirational, particularly to people battling similar demons.
The undefeated Fury should’ve spent this week promoting a heroic homecoming.
The last time the 6-foot-9, 276-pound Fury fought in England, he beat overmatched Sefer Seferi on the Terry Flanagan-Maurice Hooker undercard in June 2018 at Manchester Arena.
Almost four years later, the former IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion will help draw an enormous audience of 94,000 on Saturday night to Wembley Stadium in London. The crowd for his pay-per-view showdown with mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte will set a British boxing record.
Fury has spent some of his time talking about that remarkable accomplishment, but the Daniel Kinahan cloud has covered ominously over Fury-Whyte fight week. The 33-year-old Fury could’ve somewhat minimized this undeniable distraction by publicly distancing himself from an adviser that the United States government alleged last week is one of the masterminds of a criminal organization responsible for numerous murders, trafficking heroin throughout Europe and running guns.
Instead, Fury stubbornly stated that Kinahan’s business dealings away from boxing are “none of my concern at all.”
Only in boxing could such a dangerous entanglement exist.
Imagine if a few years ago, before his capture, “El Chapo” were advising Tom Brady during his contract negotiations with the Patriots. And then Brady rather ridiculously dismissed questions about their partnership by stating that whatever Joaquin Guzman did when he wasn’t negotiating with Bill Belichick was “his business.”
The NFL obviously vets advisers better than that, but that’s the boxing equivalent of what Fury did during what devolved into a contentious interview Wednesday with Sky Sports News.
“I just had a million questions about all this rubbish before,” Fury said. “But like I said to them, it’s none of my business, and I don’t get involved in other people’s business. So, it doesn’t really concern me. ”
Sky Sports’ determined interviewer wouldn’t let it end there. He pointed out that Kinahan has been his adviser in the boxing business, yet also has been identified, along with his father, brother and others, by multiple governments as an organized crime figure.
“And what do you want me to do about that?” Fury asked. “And I’ve told you three times there’s nothing to do with me, and I don’t care. … What a man does in his own business is none of my concern. I’m a boxing man. I don’t get involved in anybody’s business at all. If you’ve gone and done what you’ve done, I don’t care what you did. It’s none of my concern. I am only concerned with what I do. And I don’t do anything apart from the box. End of. ”
Though it isn’t realistic to expect Fury to publicly condemn Kinahan, at least separating himself from someone whose arrest and conviction would net a $ 5 million reward from the US government isn’t asking too much, either. If Fury and Kinahan either are or were as close as Fury’s comments and a lot of photographs, one taken as recently as February in Dubai, seem to indicate, Kinahan clearly would understand Fury’s public need to cut ties with him.
His comments below are as close as Fury, who now spends much of his time living in Henderson, Nevada, would come to a mea culpa.
“You know, what the US have said, the US have said,” Fury said. “And that’s it. We have to listen to the government. And that’s what we do. End of, because I don’t wanna get in trouble with the US government, which I never have been, and that’s it. ”
Fury wouldn’t admit, though, that they had never had what he considers a “close” relationship.
“To be honest,” Fury said, “I’ve never been close to anybody, apart from my wife and my kids, so there we are.”
The heavily favored Fury denied Kinahan had any involvement in helping him for this second WBC title defense. His fight with Whyte was mandated by the WBC, which led to his co-promoter, Frank Warren, winning a purse bid with a record-setting offer of $ 41,025,000.
Based on the 80-20 split the WBC approved for this fight, Fury’s guarantee is $ 29,538,000. Whyte will earn at least $ 7,384,500.
A 10-percent win bonus, an additional $ 4,102,500, has been set aside for Fury or Whyte to collect. According to Fury, Kinahan won’t get a cut of his payday.
“I haven’t done any dealing business with him for a long time,” Fury said. “I think there was a statement released in 2020. So, that was the end of the business. The fight with [Anthony] Joshua didn’t happen, and that was it. ”
If only that was indeed it.
Fury called himself “just a dumb boxer” during an interview with a small group of reporters Tuesday in London. He is more than intelligent enough to know no one actually believes that, particularly as it pertains to Kinahan.
Bob Arum, Fury’s other co-promoter, told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole last week that his company, Top Rank Inc., paid Kinahan more than $ 1 million in consulting fees for each of Fury’s four fights from 2019 through 2021 – two technical-knockout victories over former WBC champ Deontay Wilder, a points defeat of Otto Wallin and a quick knockout of Tom Schwarz. Arum also stated that his company has stopped doing business with Kinahan.
“Yeah, I saw that,” Fury said. “What Bob Arum does with his own money is Bob Arum’s business. If he goes and spends on Gummy Bears and cans of pop, I don’t care what he does with it. He’s got plenty to give out, so what Bob does with his own money ain’t my concern, is it? So, when you get paid your salaries and you go spend it on whatever you spend it on, that’s not my concern, is it? Because it’s not my money. ”
What Fury defiantly refused to discuss was how and why he did business with Kinahan, who was oddly allowed to operate behind the scenes in boxing before the US Department of the Treasury identified him and his co-conspirators as public enemies last week. After maintaining his composure for a few minutes Wednesday, a frustrated Fury finally tired of Sky Sports News’ line of Kinahan questioning.
He then got up from his chair after offering these final thoughts.
“I think it’s gonna be a great fight on the night,” Fury said. “And I’m not here to talk politics, war or religion wit you. You’re trying to probe for me to say something. I’m not interested. Other people’s concerns, I’m not interested. Don’t care. None of my business at all. I’m a boxing man, and I’ve got a fight to think about. And that’s enough said. “
Fury has said a lot this week, yet not nearly enough of what he should’ve spoken when the topic turned to Daniel Kinahan.
Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.