This Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, Jeremy Schaap sits down with unbeaten lineal boxing champion Tyson Fury. Fury is just days away from his rematch with undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on Saturday, Feb. 22 on ESPN+ PPV.
Schaap has interviewed dozens of fighters, including Mike Tyson, the man who Fury was named after.
“There are a lot of similarities [between Tyson Fury and Mike Tyson] in terms of their willingness to go deep and talk about the most personal things,” Schaap said. “And this willingness, if not a desire, to open a vein and talk about their troubles and their issues and to be candid, in a way, this is one of the things that attracts me to the fight game.”
Although Schaap has been known for his ability to get athletes of any sport to open up about various topics, he feels that fighters are unique when it comes to interviews.
“I think it has something to do with the fact that if you do something as hard as fight for a living, every time you walk into the ring you’re risking everything, there seems to often [not always] be a willingness to go deep and to reveal yourself in an interview in a way that most athletes don’t,” Schaap said.
Fury has become an advocate for mental health since choosing to share his battles with depression and anxiety. Fury even described a time when he nearly took his own life, something extremely raw that he details in the interview.
“When you box for a living and you take that type of punishment [to your body], questions don’t tend to scare you,” said Schaap.
Schaap says the fight game is an incredible space for compelling storytelling filled with characters who are willing to put it all out there, whether it’s in the ring, or in an interview. “You can talk with fighters in a way you can’t talk with any other athletes,” he said.