Tom Aspinall praises Tyson Fury ahead of Alexander Volkov fight

  • Tom Ward

Tom Aspinall has hailed Tyson Fury for changing his life and plans to use what he learned from the Gypsy King against Alexander Volkov on Saturday night.

Aspinall, 28, and Volkov, 33, will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 204 in London at the O2 Arena on March 19.

It will also mark the first time the UFC has returned to the English capital in almost three years.

Title hopeful Aspinall was a sparring partner for world heavyweight champion Fury back in 2015.

The Manchester MMA fighter helped his fellow Brit in his preparations to face Wladimir Klitschko.

And he insists the experience he gained in those sparring sessions helped transform his outlook on life in general.

During Wednesday’s media day, he said: “Well, I think Tyson Fury has helped me the most mentally.

“Obviously, I improved a lot. My skillset improved, my boxing improved definitely, like it brought me a long way skill wise – but more so mentally.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 04: In this handout image provided by UFC, (L-R) Tom Aspinall of England punches Serghei Spivak of the Ukraine in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 04, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“If Tyson Fury ever gets a watch of this – thank you. I’ve never actually had that chance to thank him for it. He has completely changed my career and the outlook of what I’ve got.

“Without him I wouldn’t be where I am right now because my mentality has changed completely since I trained with him.

“It was quite a long time ago now, like, I was in my early twenties, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to carry on with this sport or box or maybe stop fighting altogether, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

“And yeah, he just completely changed my whole outlook on everything so I appreciate it.”

Aspinall’s upcoming opponent Volkov, who is five years his senior, has had more than twice as many fights as he has over the years.

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And while he is well aware of the gulf in experience, he insists that he isn’t feeling any pressure at all despite what potentially lies in store for the winner of this fight.

“I am completely aware that, if you look at the stats on paper, this is a complete mismatch in his favour. I’m aware of that.

“He has got so much more experience than me, he’s fought far more high level guys than me, he’s been in the top ten for I don’t know how many years at this point.

“I’m just an up-and-coming guy breaking the top ten on paper but on paper doesn’t really mean nothing when it comes to actual fighting. This is the biggest test of my career by far. I’m completely aware of that.

“I feel like I need to go out there on Saturday night and enjoy this thing. That’s it. I’m not bothered about putting a statement out, not bothered about knocking anyone out, not bothered about it being an exciting fight, not bothered about any of that stuff.

“What I’m bothered about is living my dream on Saturday night and that’s it.”

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