Tyson Fury’s stinging honesty can make anyone dumbfounded – but not Melissa Takimoglu, who has channeled some of boxing’s biggest stars through a media whirlwind.
“Tyson Fury gives me life,” Takimoglu laughs.
Britain’s heavyweight king recently created a pandemonium in Las Vegas as he demolished Deontay Wilder for the last time after she fainted in front of the cameras in a rowdy pile-up.
Takimoglu, PR representative for Fury’s promotional team in the US, Top Rank, was always by his side.
“He is a gentleman.
“But he was always standing with me.”
Wilder’s anger left his face down on the canvas at the dramatic end of a punitive battle.
But if he’s wrestling through a flurry of microphones and fans, he’ll look at Takimoglu.
“Hundreds of people run to get to it,” she recalls.
“I jump out of the car first, because I know where we’re going. He knows to follow the hair.
“If I get traumatized or something happens to me, he’ll literally stop and say, ‘You’re okay, you’re okay?'” Well, come on, let’s go! “
“He is very knowledgeable about his entire team. He cares about everyone.”
Takimoglu hasn’t always raced through the media with the heavyweight king of the world.
She witnessed the harsh reality of the sport while shaping the prospects at prolific ticket sellers during her public relations education in south London.
Some of these fighters are now selling huge yards, but others aren’t. Few suffered on the way, including Melissa.
“After that I would have given up boxing,” she told Sky Sports.
It took a phone call from Isaac Dogboe, the charismatic world title contender, to get Takimoglu back.
“He said, Mel, I need publicity.
“I was like, ‘You can totally forget about it, I hate boxing. I never want to do anything with boxing again. I don’t want to know about her. “
“It was like, Mel please, I’m going to America and I’m going to be the world champion.”
Dogbo kept his promise as did Takimoglu and Top Rank, the promotional force in the United States, who were eager to welcome the beloved Ghanaian back.
Even after Dogboy’s reign with the world title came to an end, Takimoglu was still wanted.
“I got a call from Top Rank from [Chief Operating Officer] Brad Jacobs. I owe everything to Brad Jacobs.
“He’s the one who came to me and said, ‘We need to hold a press conference for Crawford against Khan. Will you be able to help us?'”
Takimoglu has now been working with Crawford, the Pound star, and admits her persuasion skills have been put to the test.
She laughs again: “You have to negotiate with him, you have to play chess with him, and you have to convince him.”
Maintaining a sense of humor also helps, along with earning respect.
“In the beginning, I was often left out, especially since I was new to the industry.
“The first thing people do is they look right behind you. They don’t think you’re relevant. When you’re standing with a fighter, you have to be an insignificant person.
“There’s always that look they give you, but they don’t necessarily say anything. They aren’t horrible or rude to you, they don’t say anything.
“I think where I’ve earned respect is seeing me with fighters and fighters who listen to me, take my directions and not anyone else’s.
“Watching my campaigns and hearing what I have to say. I’ve now earned respect, but it took a lot of eating to get here.”
After a successful promotion for Crawford-Khan, she now has an exclusive role with Top Rank as the UK’s media relations officer, working with elite champions such as Scotsman Josh Taylor and American Michaela Mayer.
Could Taylor become the face of British boxing?
“Sure, he’s already on his way. I think he proved it in the Ramirez fight.
“But you have to practice PR. You can’t be a star without doing PR and media training.”
The undisputed world champion was among the front row analysts after Anthony Joshua’s last world title was defeated by Oleksandr Usyk.
“He wants to do a critique. He’s very committed to that. He always asks me for my opinion.” How do I do, can I get better? “
Mayer could soon make her UK debut, if she wins her next world title unification match against Maifa Hamadouch, live on Sky Sports.
“She has it all,” Takimoglu said. “She’s a beautiful, athletic girl and she’s actually really funny.
“As long as she can give birth in the ring, spend time in the UK and interact with the fans and give them time, she can definitely be a big star here.”
Fury’s stardom in Britain is assured, after he returns as an omnipotent hero.
But the whirlwind that was swirling around him may have subsided for a few weeks.
Takimoglu reveals: “The question fighters ask the most is: Can you make me as famous as Tyson Fury?
“I’m not saying I’m the reason why Tyson is so popular. Toprank has done a great job with him, and I have a role to play in him, from the UK side.
I say, ‘It’s not that simple. You can’t just have one interview and you will be famous. You don’t understand how hard Tyson is working with the media. “
“He’ll do three hours in a row. You have no idea what he’s doing behind the scenes.”
The fury of another marathon interview session may be avoided for a while, but he’ll be back for another chaotic fighting week soon, with Takimoglu leading the way once again.