STAGING an open-air world heavyweight title fight in this country three weeks before Christmas Day seems as daft as putting an ice rink in the middle of the Sahara desert.
I was one of many who thought promoter Frank Warren had taken leave of his senses when heÂ announced Tyson Fury would defend his WBC belt against DerekÂ Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3.
It didnât appear feasible that anyone â other than the most die-hard fans â would pay Â£1,000 to sit ringside and brave the possibility of a freezing cold, wet night to watch Fury against a man heâs already beaten twice.
But Warrenâs faith in Furyâs ability to draw a crowd whatever the time ofÂ year, or weather, has been fully vindicated.
FrankÂ told meÂ an incredible 58,000 tickets have already been snapped up and heâs confident he will have a 62,000 sell-out.
Tysonâs magnetism hadÂ 94,000 paying a total of Â£13million to see him KO Dillian Whyte at WembleyÂ in April â a British record boxing crowd.
It wasnât far-fetched when I compared Fury with Muhammad Ali, for being able toÂ mesmerise millions with the sheer force of his larger-than-life personality and oftenÂ outrageous rhetoric.
Though itÂ goes against the grain with a lot of people, because of his pastÂ controversialÂ opinions about race, sex and religion, Fury hasÂ become one of the most marketable and best-lovedÂ British sportsmen.
Just like Ali, Tyson has charisma coming out of his ears.
Roger Dawson, aÂ well-knownÂ American bandleader, beautifully summed up that kind of charm when he said: âCharismaÂ is the intangible that makes people want to follow you, to be around you, to be influenced by you.â
Fury vs Chisora 3: Date, live stream and TV info for huge heavyweight bout
Warren said: âSince he went to America and twice beat Deontay Wilder, Tyson has transcended boxing.
âAnd I canât believe there has been another British fighter who could have attracted such a huge crowd in the open air on a winterâs night.â
There has been valid criticism that Fury shouldnât be having a third battle with Chisora, havingÂ dominated him so comprehensively on two previous occasions.Â
Oleksandr Usyk finds it hard to comprehend and the WBA, IBF and WBO champion commented: âIt kind of makes me laugh a little bit. Why is he doing this?â
There is a simple explanation. Fury and Usyk will meet in a blockbuster unification confrontation early next year and Tyson is badly in need of a fight before then to help keep him sharp and focused.
Unfortunately, Anthony Joshua turned his back on meeting Fury next month andÂ all the other topÂ contenders are unavailable.
Because of their long history âÂ as well as their two fights, Chisora was also Furyâs sparringÂ partner early in their careers â there is mutual respect between them.
Thereâs certainly not going to be anyÂ phoney hate campaigns in the build-up.
As Fury said: âIâve got nothing bad to say about Derek. Heâs a good fighting man and he brings his A-game every time.â
Chisora may have lost 12 times but only Fury, Whyte and David Haye have stopped him and heâs still in the WBCâs top 15 rankings.
He may be a 10-1 underdog but anything can happen once the heavyweights start throwing leather.
Fury knows he darenât be complacent.
It can never be forgotten the Cinderella Man, James J Braddock, was 10-1 when he outpointed Max Baer, Ali was 7-1 to winÂ the title from Sonny Liston and Buster Douglas was 42-1 when he caused the biggestÂ upset of all time by knocking out Mike Tyson.
Thereâs no such thing as a certainly â not even in boxing.
/ 31 mins ago
Sun mascot Harry Mane steals the show during a dance-off with Senegal fans ahead of World Cup knockout game
SUN mascot Harry Mane stole the show yesterday during a dance-off with Senegal fans....
/ 32 mins ago
‘Clearly concussed’ – Frampton slams Dubois’ trainer for letting him fight on against Lerena after THREE knock downs
CARL FRAMPTON lambasted Daniel Dubois’ trainer for allowing him to continue fighting Kevin Lerena...
/ 34 mins ago
ENGLAND’S lucky charm Chesney Hawkes is in a race against time to get to...