By: Sean Crose
“I had a good defensive coach in Ben Davis,” Tyson Fury told me on a Thursday conference call to promote his highly anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder – which goes down a week from Saturday in Las Vegas. “I needed an aggressive trainer.” That aggressive trainer came in the form of Sugar Hill Steward, of boxing’s iconic Steward clan. Fury and Steward had worked together previously, which made the decision easier for the fighter known as the Gypsy King to make. “I knew we got on well,” Fury said of Steward. “That’s why I brought him in.” And how’s the partnership been working out for the 29-0-1 fighter? “That’s one of the best decisions I ever made,” Fury said of choosing Steward as his trainer. “Ever.”
One thing that’s certain in the lead up to the February 22nd battle for the WBC heavyweight championship is the fact that Fury comes across as if he’s oozing confidence. “I’ve been training very, very hard for the last eight weeks in Las Vegas,” he claimed. “I’ve never ever been as focused or as ready for one fight.” Although the widely unknown Otto Wallin gave Fury quite a run, as well as quite a gash, last September, Fury promised that he would be at his absolute best against the 42-0-1 Wilder. “We are going to see the best Tyson Fury that Tyson Fury can be,” he said. “I’m ready for war, one round or twelve.”
With that in mind, Fury has been speaking freely of knocking Wilder out in the rematch. Their first fight became an instant classic due to the fact that a last round knockdown saw Fury flat on the mat from an unbelievable Wilder shot, only to get up and continue fighting. Needless to say, the bout ended in a draw. “The biggest mistake I made last time,” said Fury, 14 months later, “was not making him (Wilder)pay when he was hurt.” Fury claimed he won’t make the same mistake twice. “When I get him hurt (in the rematch), I’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink at him.” As for Wilder’s power, Fury came across on the call as unconcerned.
“I think there’s nothing to worry about that,” said Fury. “He’s got a big right hand and that’s it. He’s a one dimensional boxer…the one who should be concerned is Deontay Wilder.” Fury ultimately made it clear that Wilder doesn’t particularly disturb him at all on the eve of their second fight. “It’s not about what Deontay Wilder does,” he said. “It’s about what I do.” Still, Fury was open about how big this fight will be for him. “It’s a massive must for me,” he said. “It’s a massive must for win.” Knowing that Wilder sees the fight the same way makes it all the more intriguing. In fact, Fury predicts the rematch will be “the most entertaining fight of the past 20 years.”
“I don’t care about (being) famous,” Fury said late in the call. “I’m a purebred fighting man through and through.”