Tyson Fury's dad feared the worst when his son was knocked down in the 12th round of his WBC world heavyweight championship fight with Deontay Wilder in 2018.
Fury, after getting himself back into fighting shape following a depressive period in which he ballooned to 28 stone, boxed superbly in the title fight in Los Angeles.
But in the final round, he felt the Bronze Bomber's unparalleled punching power when he was caught with a wicked left hook.
The 6ft9 fighter was sent crashing to the canvas, his eyes rolling to the back of his head while Wilder was already off celebrating.
He was set for his 41st career knockout.
“I thought that was it," John Fury admitted speaking exclusively to SPORTbible.
"I was worried about his health and strength. I thought, ‘Just get up to your feet and be normal’ at that point because we see a lot of bad things happen in boxing.
“I thought my son was gonna be one of them victims unfortunately."
Somehow, Fury found something within himself. He rose from the dead like The Undertaker, prompting a shocked expression on the face of Wilder.
Fury finished the fight strongly and that incredible resurrection set the tone for his dominant victory over the Alabama fighter in their February 2020 rematch.
John continued: “We had to go through that bad experience to bring us where we are today.
“That get-up in the 12th round made Tyson’s life and career. It stood him in good stead, more good than if he would have stopped Wilder in two rounds.
“It will never be equalled in my eyes. He admits it himself, he said, ‘Dad, I was out – I heard him count three, opened my eyes, I got up, felt my legs were strong and went for the kill myself.’
“That’s the heart of a champion and I don’t think Deontay Wilder possesses that.”
On Saturday night, the Gypsy King defends his WBC strap against the same man he took it off in Las Vegas.
It represents another chapter in the remarkable Tyson Fury story. His enormous success hasn't come as a surprise to his old man, however.
"I knew from the minute he was born he was going to do special things," the 56-year-old stated.
"I didn’t know what but I got told by a fortune teller in 1991 that he was going to do something big in sport.
“She said you’re going to have a superstar in your family and he’s going to become world champion at a sport.
“She didn’t say boxing but she said world champion. She said a lot of other stuff and it all came true.
“He was going to be a basketball player but he declined that sport to box because it’s a DNA thing that’s kicked in.
“I just think you go down these avenues you’re meant to go down. It was destiny for Tyson, always will be and always has been.”
Fury is an anomaly of a boxer in the nicest possible way. Despite his size, The Ring magazine heavyweight champion is light on his feet, with head movement and footwork that a lightweight would dream of.
"He was born with that," John said.
"People like Tyson come along every five hundred years and everything comes naturally to Tyson – his mannerisms in the ring out and out of the ring – that's just Tyson.
“He doesn’t practice anything, just like me. I don’t practice nothing. What’s the best, a pre-cooked meal or a fresh meal you’ve just prepared for yourself?
“Anything pre-cooked, what can you say about it? It is what it is. Tyson is going to bring hell to breakfast to Deontay Wilder and I think he knows it."
After suffering a first career defeat in his 43rd fight, Wilder drew up an incredible list of excuses that ranged from his 40lb ring-walk outfit to outrageous claims Fury's gloves were illegally loaded.
He's since dropped coach Mark Breland, who he believes was part of the conspiracy plot, and hired Malik Scott.
In Fury Sr's view, the 35-year-old's head has completely gone and the loss has "ruptured his mind".
"He’s got all these people around him holding him up to all this stupidness but that’ll just undermine his performance.
“When he gets up close and personal in that ring, under them lights, he’ll realise everything he was told was just total bunkum. The shock will set in and it will cost him dearly.
“Guns have got power but if you don’t aim them you won’t hit nothing. If we take his aim away, what’s he gonna do?
“He can have as much power as he likes but if he can’t land it, it’s no good to you.
“We’ve trained and we’ve practiced not getting hit. We’ve got a good game plan in place. Tyson will change it as he goes along as he always does.
“I don’t see what Deontay Wilder can do. He’s got the wrong mindset. He's incapable of accepting he got beaten up badly and if you don’t take onboard your mistakes, how are you going to learn?
“For me the guy just can’t move on. He’s stuck in time and it’s ruptured his mind. He can’t think of anything else because he knows he got badly beaten.
“He got disgraced as a champion and let the whole of America down. That’s on his mind.”
The miraculous Fury get-up at the Staples Center, coupled with his switch to trainer SugarHill Steward, has taken him to a whole new level where he almost feels untouchable.
As a result, his father has no reason to have any shred of nerves when watching the trilogy bout.
“When Tyson got up in the first fight, he [Wilder] realised he could never master Tyson. Tyson’s only got better and stronger and he’d had two camps.
“He’s had a few little niggles with his daughter and the COVID-19 but these things are unavoidable. I think he’s had the best camp he’s had.
“I’m ultra-confident in Tyson’s ability and I'm excited. There’s a difference between being excited and nervous.
“I don’t do nerves to be honest because what does nerves do? It ruins your evening but excitement, excitement is enjoyable.
“We’re too positive and we only do a lot of positivity where we come from.”
BT Sport Box Office will show Fury v Wilder: The Trilogy exclusively live in the UK on Saturday 9th October. For more info go to www.bt.com/sportboxoffice
Featured Image Credit: Image: PA
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