With Wladimir Klitschko in his prime, and the only world champ representing The KRONK gym, head trainer Emanuel Steward is always on the lookout for young, raw talent. And “raw” is the operative word when he told me (about a week ago) that he was going to bring over 6ft 7in, 21-year old Welsh heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury. “Yeah, yeah Phil, I’m gonna bring him on down and take a look at him.” He chuckled as the words came out of his mouth, looking into my eyes and reading me like a book. I took a deep breath and blew out pure frustration and a little bemusement.
About 2 1/2 -months previous to this informal “announcement”, Emanuel and I spoke over the phone, and I asked if he’d ever heard of Fury. “Yes I have,” he replied, “He’s a relation of Andy Lee’s (the KRONK middleweight from Limerick Ireland). He’s got gypsy blood in him.”
Steward knew of Fury’s family boxing blood heritage, his amateur pedigree, mentioned his size and hand-speed, and alluded even then to “bringing him on down to the KRONK and working a bit with him.” The thing was, Emanuel hadn’t seen any pro footage of the Welsh prospect as of yet. Neither had I.
“Wow,” I said. “He’s fighting this afternoon.” I explained, and half-jokingly said I’d give him a scouting report.
And then, an hour later, on July 18th, I watched in horror as the super-hyped Tyson Fury attempted to “box” woeful Aleksandrs Selezens. Fury got him in three. But it was a downright insult to the eyes, to be polite.
I picked up the phone, called Emanuel back and gave the great trainer my measly two-cents. It was a severely grim forecast for Fury’s future I warned in so many words, sorry to say. I was actually hoping to see something special in Fury, especially after reading such boisterous quotes in Britain’s “Boxing News” magazine, from a kid with a mere six pro fights.
I’ll skip the exact details, but in short, what I said to Emanuel, I’ll put in a modest, refined analogy here.
The sad truth is that in order for Emanuel Steward to mold Tyson Fury into a proper threat in the ring, he’d have to equate the job to building a 100 ft pyramid from the ground up, with his bare hands, stone-by-stone, in the pissing rain, on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan.
In other words, Fury needs more work than Emanuel can afford to spend, that is if “The Trainer of Champions” is searching for the next great future heavyweight champ in Fury.
However, if Emanuel makes good on working with Fury, there can only be positives to come out of the experience for the “prospect”.
Besides re-teaching Fury the basics of the game, which begins with “balance first” when under the tutelage of Steward, perhaps Fury could also learn a lot more about conditioning. At 21, there can be an argument that Fury may still be carrying around “baby fat”, or perhaps lingering back injuries have prevented him from the proper work he’s needed to shed the extra lard.
Argument or not, he’s hefting around far too much weight in order to be light enough on his feet for a Steward-trained, successful big man. (See Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.)
There was no timetable on exactly when Fury was scheduled to make the trek to Detroit given by Steward, but he seemed quite determined to see ‘The Tyson Fury Experiment’ through.
I’ve read several responses to articles written about Fury on boxing news24 that have made the point of stating that in order for Fury to advance properly in his career, he would need a more established trainer in his corner.
Well, until an “official” announcement comes out of Detroit, for now, Fury’s got the attention and a quiet commitment to work with the best trainer in the game in Emanuel Steward. Let’s hope young Fury makes the best of his time with him. He needs it desperately.
Boxing columnist/historian Philip H. Anselmo has returned home to New Orleans this week after touring North America since August with his super group DOWN.
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