Exclusive Interview With Lee Swaby - Next For Tyson Fury!

by James Slater - Lincoln, UK heavyweight Lee Swaby is as tough and honest a pro as you could wish to find. A pro since April of 1997, the 32-year-old southpaw has been in with a veritable who's who of the cruiserweight and heavyweight division. Occasionally upsetting the favourite - as he famously did in his fight Vs. Enzo Maccarinelli in 2000 - Swaby will be looking to do the same again this Saturday when he takes on the highly touted and hyped Tyson Fury.

With his 23-22-2(11) record Swaby may not look too formidable, yet he is as game and as durable - and as dangerous - as they come. Always in the gym and therefore in fighting shape, the 6'2" warrior kindly took time out to speak with this writer today..

Looking forward to testing the 6'9" Fury as he's not been tested before, the friendly and accommodating Swaby (who was recently seen almost causing the upset on Sky TV's "PrizeFighter" tournament) gave the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: When did you first get the call to fight Tyson Fury, Lee?

Lee Swaby: I've been offered the fight three times actually. The first time was very short notice, less than a week. I said yes, but after I did my medicals and they were sent to London as usual, they didn't get done in time - a admin error. The second time, I had a fight of my own in the offing, so I said I wasn't interested. And now, the third time, the fight's on. I'd say I've had just over a week's notice this time.

J.S: Is that enough time for you? It always seems like the "star" has more time to get prepared, part of the game isn't it? I know you're always in the gym though.

L.S: Yeah, that's how the game works. But I don't mind. I'm always in the gym, and I've always got enough conditioning to do a six-rounder - no problem.

J.S: Fury is really being given a lot of hype right now. What have you made of him so far as a pro?

L.S: I watched one of his fights, and the beauty of the internet is that you can find almost any fight on You-Tube. His first fight, that's not even worth talking about. It was obscene! I'm not even sure how it was allowed to be honest - the other guy was over a foot shorter and about five stone lighter. Anyway, in his next two fights, he was in with basically stationary journeymen. They were pretty tough but just came for a pay day, really. They weren't in top shape that's for sure. Let's be honest, they didn't come to fight, so he's not met a real challenge yet. I will be a real challenge.

J.S: You've said that you will definitely be looking to test his chin.

L.S: No-one has seen him take a good shot yet, so we don't know how he'll react at all. Who knows, he may just collapse as soon as I hit him with a good punch - we don't know. Maybe he will have a chin like granite. I want to find out just like everyone else.

J.S: Some people say he talks too much, and that he is rushing things. It looks like they're trying to do the whole Mike Tyson thing - with a fight per month, and entering the ring with no robe. Do you think he's overconfident?

L.S: I don't really know. I mean, some of it might just be for the cameras and for the newspapers. You have to sell yourself, but you have to make sure you don't make it so the general public turns against you. You don't want to spout off too much. I've had people come up to me and say, 'do him!' 'make him look silly.' He has said a lot, but to be honest, I turn off [the TV] as soon as the fight's over, so I haven't even heard what he's had to say. You know, I'm not bothered at all by trash talk. Lots of fighters have said things before, and none of them have ever done what they've said they will. I've never been knocked out. I've been stopped before, but never knocked out.

J.S: Will Fury, at around 6'9" be the tallest guy you've ever faced - in the ring or in sparring?

L.S: I believe he will be, yes. I fought a guy who was 6'7," so he has a bit of height on that. I'm not bothered about his height, though. It's better to be punching up instead of down, that way there's no chance of breaking a hand on a guy's forehead.

J.S: After having had 47 fights and having been in with loads of top names, you are one of the most respected of tough pros. What will a win over Fury mean for you? You'll really be turning over a hot prospect!

L.S: I'm not naive enough to think a win will lead to any springboard for me. I know now that if I beat Fury people will say that he wasn't that good to begin with, or that he had a lousy chin. It's like when I beat [Enzo] Maccarinelli (KO 3, 2000) - that win didn't catapult me in any way. The way I'm looking at Saturday's fight, is that it will be a good, hard fight that gets me ready for my fight in May. I know that if the fight goes the distance and it's close, he'll get the win - so he can keep his unbeaten record. You know how it works. If I do beat him and maybe derail him, or at least set him back, it might teach him a bit of humility. I will say, I've caused an upset before and I'm sure I will again before I retire.

J.S: So who are you fighting in May?

L.S: I'm fighting Paul Butlin, who was also on Prize Fighter. It'll be for an area title, and hopefully after that I'll fight for the British Masters title.

J.S: How long do you plan to fight on for then?

L.S: Well, I have some outside business interests, and they are starting to take up more of my time. I'll know more by the end of the year. I'd like to get those two wins and set up a British title eliminator and then I'd like to get a Lonsdale belt around my waist. If I can do that I'll carry on for about three more years I'd say. I've had a good run in boxing, gave it a good crack for over ten years and met some fantastic people. But I know I won't be able to retire from it - outside work will take over, I've got to be realistic.

J.S: What weight do you plan on fighting Fury at?

L.S: I'll come in at my usual weight. I don't know what it is in pounds exactly, but it'll be around sixteen stone and eight pounds. The thing is, Fury has a little bit of spare weight around his waist. I have no wastage at all. I know he's gonna come out fast, but let's see how fast he is after a few rounds with his conditioning. I will say, though, that he's got better and better in each fight.

J.S: It's been great speaking with one of the backbone fighters of the sport. Best wishes on Saturday and thank you for talking to me so close to the fight.

L.S: Cheers, any time.

Article posted on 12.03.2009

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