TYSON FURY has been backed by his US promoter Bob Arum as the man to lead boxing “into a new dimension” – the same way Muhammad Ali did.
The Top Rank chief linked up with Fury and UK promoter Frank Warren in February and handed the Gypsy King an £80million to sign under his banner.
Fury, 30, makes his Las Vegas debut on Saturday against little-known Tom Schwarz – six months after he drew against WBC champion Deontay Wilder via contentious split-decision.
Legendary promoter Arum – who has worked with greats such as Floyd Mayweather, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard – claims “major star” Fury can replicate the great Ali.
Arum, 87, told BBC Sport: “I recognised a larger-than-life character who reminded me of Ali and (George) Foreman, both of whom I promoted.
“So he will be a major, major star, not just in boxing but in the US.
“Tyson’s going to lead this sport into a new dimension, just the way Ali did in his time, and then later George.
“They were athletes who could resonate with the public, communicate with the public and endear themselves to the public.
“He is just that kind of personality – larger than life, intelligent, very articulate and he has interesting back story.”
Arum shelved the rematch between Fury and Wilder as he wanted the Brit to build a bigger profile Stateside.
The pair are signed to rematch next year, though the Gypsy King has claimed he could box twice more this year in preparation for his second crack at the WBC crown.
Fury’s US promoter claims he is “by far” the No1 in the division – with Anthony Joshua being stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr earlier this month and losing his unified titles in the process.
Arum said: “(Fury) reminds me a lot of the early Ali. I haven’t seen a boxer in the division as tall and big, who was that light on his feet in years.
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“Now that he has slimmed down and is in great shape I think he is by far the best heavyweight in the world.
“We promoted almost all of Ruiz’s fights – he’s a fairly good heavyweight, has fast hands, can box and takes a good punch but he can’t knock me out.
“We had him in with third- and fourth-level heavyweights that he never knocked out. For him to beat Joshua, there was a different Anthony Joshua.”