Ten years later, another man who once donned the mask of Batman’s arch nemesis has embarked on a 98-day seclusion ahead of the biggest performance of his career.
Hughie Fury masqueraded as the green-haired supervillain at a pre-fight press conference in September 2015 to aid his cousin, Tyson, who was dressed as Batman, in a bizarre episode of mental warfare ahead of The Gypsy King’s triumph over Wladimir Klitschko.
But as Hughie tapers down towards what he dubs his “biggest fight ever” against Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria on Saturday night, the 24-year-old heavyweight is in no mood for tomfoolery.
The winner of Saturday’s contest will become the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s IBF strap.
Money will always come with it, but just to have those belts, raise your hand and win a world title – you couldn’t put a price on that
One year on from a majority decision loss to then-WBO champion Joseph Parker, Fury told Express Sport: “This is the fight to get me straight back up to the top.
“I’m 100 per cent confident going in there – if I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t bother taking it, would I?
“There are no nerves, I’m just looking forward to the fight – I’ve been through this that many times that it’s just another day.
“I’m relishing it more than anything. All the hard work is done in the gym, so there’s nothing to be nervous about.”
Hughie Fury faces the biggest fight of his career against Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria
Either Hughie Fury or Kubrat Pulev will become mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s IBF strap
To feel so calm ahead of such a momentous fight is peculiar for a man who has dedicated his life to pugilism.
Fury (21-1-0) left school at the age of 11 to pursue a career in the ring, honing his trade alongside Tyson in the gypsy community in Morecambe. Hughie admits he started boxing aged six.
“I’ve always had gloves on, always messing about. It just runs in the family,” he explains.
“If I was in this for the money, I’d pack it in tomorrow. I’m sacrificing everything just to get where I want to be in life.
Tyson Fury consols his cousin, Hughie, after his world title loss to Joseph Parker last year
“Money will always come with it, but just to have those belts, raise your hand and win a world title – you couldn’t put a price on that.”
It’s discernable that the slick orthodox boxer longs for gold-plated leather around his waist so desperately, that nothing else in life gives him gratification like upping the number on the left column of his record.
Fury describes the training camp with his father, Peter, at the Team Fury Gym in Bolton as “torture” and has been without a phone or social media during his preparation.
“When I’m in camp I like to blackout from everything,” he explains.
Kubrat Pulev was set to fight Anthony Joshua in October 2017
That is to the extent that Hughie could not comment on Tyson’s preparation for his WBC title showdown with Deontay Wilder on December 1, as he hasn’t watched any of the build-up.
In stark contrast to his older cousin, who revelled in a Transatlantic press tour for his upcoming bout, Hughie shies away from the pre-fight trash talk.
When asked whether he would relish on-stage verbal combat, Fury responds: “I’m not too bothered about the talking whatsoever.
“I just to get in the ring and do my job – let the fists do the talking.”
Hughie Fury poses in Bulgaria as he faces a make-or-break fight
Although ostensibly calm, Fury is straightforward in his answers and focused on one thing: victory on Saturday night.
Success over 37-year-old Pulev could propel Fury into the highest echelon of the heavyweight division, where his heroes of Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes once mastered their profession.
For a man whose past 14 weeks have been consumed with that goal in mind, there’s one question that doesn’t need answering.
Why so serious?
Watch Pulev vs. Fury live on free to air Channel 5 from 9pm on Saturday, October 27th.