Las Vegas (AFP) - British heavyweight Tyson Fury will aim to boost his appeal with American fight fans on Saturday when he faces German underdog Tom Schwarz in his Las Vegas debut.
Fury, the flamboyant, self-styled "Gypsy King", is fighting for the first time since a thrilling 12-round battle against WBC champion Deontay Wilder last December which ended in a controversial draw.
That battling performance in Los Angeles helped Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) earn a five-fight deal with US broadcaster ESPN worth a reported $103 million.
The first chapter of that lucrative agreement plays out at the MGM Grand on Saturday, with Fury expected to have little difficulty against a handpicked opponent who is unbeaten in 24 fights.
A relaxed-looking Fury, who returned to the ring last year after a long battle with alcohol and depression that took him to the brink of suicide, is revelling in the spotlight.
"Seeing your face on all the movie screens and posters is great," he said.
"I believe the fight with Wilder only helped my profile here in the United States, and here we are again, a few days away from the biggest fight of my life."
Fury wants his journey back from the brink to serve as inspiration to others.
"Only 18 months ago, I was in a very, very dark place. I just wanted to prove to people that there is a way back," he said.
"I was down and out. There was no return for 'The Gypsy King.' No more. He was finished. I dusted myself off, got back on the road, got back mentally well."
Fury, 30, is mindful of complacency against the 25-year-old Schwarz, a 6ft 6in ring presence who has little to lose.
Fury said Anthony Joshua's recent stunning upset to Andy Ruiz Jr. was a timely warning against taking Schwarz lightly.
"You can't overlook anybody," Fury said. "This is heavyweight boxing and Tom Schwarz knows if he beats Tyson Fury, then he's set for life. He becomes a multimillionaire, he gets to headline big shows and all his dreams come true.
"But you're talking to a king. I'll figure him out within the first five seconds of the fight. Because that's what I do. Within five seconds I'll know exactly what to do with him."
An explosive win on Saturday for Fury will heighten demand for a rematch with Wilder. The two camps have already tentatively agreed a second fight in early 2020.
Fury's promoter, the legendary US matchmaker Bob Arum, said the Briton's larger-than-life persona reminded him of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
"They were people persons first," Arum said. "They'd talk directly to the people, over the head of the writers, right to the people. Tyson's going to lead this sport into a new dimension, just the way Ali did in his time, and then later George.
"He has the ability to capture the imagination not only of boxing fans but of sports fans and the public at large."