Undefeated heavyweight Tyson Fury has admitted he expects to retire from boxing after three more fights.
The 31-year-old is preparing to take on Braun Strowman at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
After swapping boxing for professional wrestling, the ‘Gypsy King’ is set to return to his usual sport on February 22 to do battle with Deontay Wilder – and it could be the start of his boxing farewell.
Fury told the PA news agency: “I don’t think I will have many more fights. Maybe another three maximum. That’s it.”
He became unified heavyweight champion in November 2015 with a stunning unanimous decision win over Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.
While the Ukrainian finished his career at the age of 41 with 64 wins from 69 fights, Fury is thinking of calling it a day in the not too distant future after 30 bouts, 29 victories and one controversial draw with Wilder last year.
“I don’t know what Klitschko’s motivation was. I think I am coming to the tail end of my boxing career at the ripe old age of 31,” he said.
“It’s a young man’s game. I’ve had my time in the sun. A few more fights and I will relax on the beach somewhere.”
For many boxers the desire to hold all the belts is a big motivation, but Fury has already had that privilege after beating Klitschko four years ago and in the process becoming lineal heavyweight champion of the world.
He subsequently had to relinquish all the belts and currently Wilder holds the WBC title and Andy Ruiz – who shocked Anthony Joshua in December – has the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
Asked if he wanted to take Wilder’s belt in February, Fury responded: “His belt doesn’t mean anything to me because alphabetical titles don’t mean anything to me. I am above all that.
“When you are the lineal heavyweight champion, you are the best of your era.
“There have been 44 lineal heavyweight champions and I am number 44, so whatever alphabetical titles exist out there – and there are a lot of them – I am not interested in them. I have won every one.
“Every big organisation belt I have won before; including The Ring Magazine and everything else. The belts, I am not interested in. Whoever says Tyson Fury is not interested in winning belts, they are correct.
“I have tonnes of belts at home and plenty that I hang my trousers with. Belts are very useful and the most useful belt is the one I am wearing today to hold my trousers up.
“I don’t need a belt to be considered the best. I am the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, 44th in history.”
Fury simply wants to keep defending his lineal championship after five defences so far against Sefer Seferi, Francesco Pianeta, Wilder, Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin.
Before the 31-year-old Manchester fighter can get back to that, he will be in the wrestling ring on Thursday at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia.
Fury will be fulfilling a “lifelong dream” when he goes to war with Strowman and after he will look to remain at the top of the heavyweight division for three more fights.
He added: “The rewards for WWE are pretty good. It’s a risk-reward situation, but I am a hungry lion.
“It is one of those things where you either want to box or you don’t. I don’t think it is about hunger or whatever, it is about the drive in the individual and how much you want to do something.
“It is whether you want to elevate to the next level or if you are happy where you are. With me, I want to stay at this level (in boxing) because I can’t go any higher.
“There is nowhere I can elevate to, but I can maintain where I am and that is what I intend to do.”