How do you beat Kubrat Pulev?
We’ve got our strategy and we’ve got our game plan. I don’t want to give too much away ahead of the fight, but we’ve been working really hard in training for the past few months and you’ll see that in Bulgaria. I know what I need to do. People will just have to tune in on October 27th to see how I stop him.
You’ve won precisely half your fights on points – do you trust the judges to give you a fair crack in Pulev’s native Bulgaria? Or will you need to go for a knockout?
I think he’ll be the favourite and I do think the judges will be on his side. I’m going to his backyard, so I think that’s the way it’s always going to be. Like I say though, we have a game plan and we’re going to stick to it and get the win so whether the judges are on his side or not it won’t matter too much.
Come through Pulev and you’ll be mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s IBF belt. What do you see in Joshua that makes you so confident you’ll defeat him?
I think he’s very vulnerable. I’ve seen that in the past, especially in his last fight against Povetkin. I was rubbing my hands together during that fight because I think my style would be really difficult for him. Having said that, it’s ok talking about beating AJ, but doing it is a different matter and that’s what I want. I want the chance to get in a ring with him. People can talk about beating anyone, but you’ve got to do your talking in the ring as well and after Pulev, that’s what I’m going to do.
What did you learn from your sole defeat against Joseph Parker?
I’m not dwelling on the controversies around the Parker fight as i thought I won, however it’s all a learning curve and I’m stronger mentally because of it.
I was coming back from a two year lay out going into that fight and on reflection, I don’t think I was as ready as I would have liked to have been. But, I’ve come away from that fight a completely different fighter both mentally and physically. I definitely feel stronger now and altogether I’m a different person.
Physically since that fight my body has also developed. I’m 24 now so my body is still transitioning. I was just finishing recovering from a skin condition ahead of the fight against Parker so physically I wasn’t at my peak.
Mentally I think it also gave me the motivation to get back to the top again. I want to be fighting for world titles, so that loss has driven me to get another shot at one.
At one point I did consider retiring because of my acne but that’s all in the past now
Was it frustrating to watch Parker in those big money fights against Joshua and Dillian Whyte? It could so easily have been you…
I wouldn’t say so. You can’t dwell on the past, you just have to move forward from the losses and go again. I believe everything happens for a reason and this is where I am today. I’m sure I will get back up on the world stage at some point in my career, so those money fights will come my way eventually.
You suffered from acne conglobata for much of your life – how much better do you feel in the ring now the condition has been cured?
It’s completely changed me in the ring. When I had the condition my immune system wasn’t great, and I was pretty much ill all the time. I had absolutely no energy at all and I was always getting infections in the blood.
At one point I did consider retiring because of it but that’s all in the past now and now I can focus on moving forward without having to worry about it.
Did you ever consider a life outside of boxing? What would you have done?
Boxing has always been the life for me. I’ve been boxing full-time since I was around 11 years old and I’ve not really considered doing anything else other than that, so I can’t say for sure what I would have done if I wouldn’t have been a boxer.
Do you believe your cousin Tyson Fury will beat Deontay Wilder?
I haven’t really thought too much about that fight as I’m more focused on my own. I hope Tyson gets the win and I wish him all the best of luck as I would in any fight.
You never fight family – I’d never fight my cousin Tyson
You’ve said before that you’d never fight Tyson in the ring – is that still the case? Do you think Tyson feels the same way?
You never fight family. That has always been the case and that always will be the case, I’d never fight Tyson.
You’re a much more mellow character than the likes of Tyson, David Haye and Dillian Whyte. Do you think that might be detrimental to your marketability?
No I wouldn’t change for nobody. I enjoy being the chilled-out guy and there’s no reason whatsoever for me to pretend to be someone I’m not. I like to let my fists do the talking, rather than my mouth, and that’s the way I’ve always been.
You’ve been single-minded in your dedication to boxing. Do you ever regret devoting so much of your childhood and adolescence to the sport?
No, not at all. It was my choice to start boxing from such a young age and dedicate that much time to boxing and I have absolutely no regrets about doing any of that. I’m still on my boxing journey and I’m not going to stop until I get to the top.
How long do you intend to fight for? As long as your body allows, or do you have a getout plan?
I haven’t really considered that. I’ve only just turned 24 so I’m still young for a boxer. At the moment I just take it one fight at a time and I’ll consider what’s next when I’ve achieved everything I’ve set out to achieve and when I’m entering the latter stages of my career.
Do you worry how you’ll fill the days once you finally do retire?
Not really, I’m sure I’ll end up finding something I enjoy doing. Like I say, for now, I’m just focused on boxing and getting to the top of the sport.
How do you relax away from the ring?
I like to chill out as much as possible. I’ve actually cut myself off from the world ahead of the fight against Pulev which means no social media at all. I don’t even have a phone at the moment. Having said that, I do have an iPad and I’ve got Netflix, so I am getting through quite a lot of series at the moment. I’ve finished Suits recently and I’m a huge Peaky Blinders fan!
Watch Pulev vs. Fury live on free-to-air Channel 5 from 9pm on Saturday, 27 October