Undefeated heavyweight Tyson Fury finally revealed why he decided to change trainers before his rematch against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Fury split with Ben Davidson after two years to hire Javan “SugarHill” Steward, nephew of the late Emmanuel Steward, the Hall of Fame American trainer famous for his work at Detroit’s Kronk gym.
Fury said in an interview that aired on ESPN Saturday night during the network’s telecast of the Top Rank on ESPN boxing card that he wanted Davidson to remain on the team but had to make the move when Davidson didn’t agree with Fury bringing Steward into the mix as the co-trainer.
“You know, people grow apart and things change,” Fury said. “I didn’t force Ben to leave. Ben left on his own accord.”
Fury was originally trained by his father during the early part of his career, followed by his uncle. In 2018, Fury shocked the boxing world when he tabbed Davidson, who was just 25 years old at the time, as his trainer for the fighter’s comeback effort.
Now Fury believes he’ll have the right trainer to defeat Wilder in the rematch.
“My third trainer was a young kid who had never trained anybody, who was a personal trainer,” Fury said. “He brought me back and we beat Deontay Wilder. So ‘SugarHill’ is going to be my first coach who’s actually had any experience in the game who’s done something.”
The rematch between Fury and Wilder is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be a joint FOX and ESPN+ pay-per-view and is expected to be one of the biggest fights of the year.
“It didn’t work out for Ben, because Ben didn’t see how it was a good move for his career which I can appreciate that, so no problem,” said Fury.
Fury’s Connection to New Trainer Came via Distant Cousin
Fury’s connection to Hill goes back to the heavyweight working with Emmanuel Steward at the Kronk gym in Detroit. While Emmanuel Steward was never Fury’s trainer, it’s common in boxing for fighters to travel around the world to different gyms to work with other fighters.
Fury, 31, from England, announced the move to “SugarHill” in December by posting a picture of himself with “SugarHill” alongside former middleweight titleholder Andy Lee, who is Fury’s distant cousin and a former protege of Emmanuel Steward.
Lee also appears to be part of the training team and was the one who recommended Fury add “SugarHill” to the mix for the Wilder rematch.
Fury recently posted images on Instagram of himself and Lee together in the boxing gym.
Lee has trained several other fighters since retiring from boxing in 2018, including middleweight Jason Quigley and welterweight prospect Paddy Donovan.
Why Fury is Promoted as the Lineal Heavyweight Champion
Fury is considered by some who follow the sport closely to be the lineal heavyweight champion of the world based on his defeat of Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
The lineal championship in boxing is a concept created by fans and media after the proliferation of the sanctioning organizations in the sport. The four major sanctioning organizations in boxing are the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF. Fury won the WBA, WBO and IBF titles by beating Klitschko in 2015 but was stripped of those honors after he announced his retirement.
However, since no one ever defeated Fury inside a boxing ring to become champion, some people, including Fury and his promoters, believe the fighter is still the lineal heavyweight champion.
Fury and Wilder Remain Undefeated Champions
Fury and Wilder fought to a draw in the first fight last December at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. During that bout, Fury largely outboxed Wilder for 12 rounds only to see the victory slip away after Wilder scored two knockdowns, the last coming during the final round.
Both have notched two wins apiece since. Fury defeated Tom Schwarz by second-round knockout in June 2019 and beat Otto Wallin via unanimous decision three months later.
Wilder, 34, from Alabama, stopped Dominic Breazeale in just one round in May 2019 in one of the most devastating knockouts of the year. After that, Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz in the seventh-round in November 2019.
Both Fury (29-0-0, 20 KOs) and Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) are undefeated and have legitimate claims to calling themselves heavyweight champions. Some consider Fury the lineal champion, while Wilder is the WBC titleholder.
Additionally, Anthony Joshua currently holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
Fury Believes New Trainer Will Help Him Beat Wilder
The switch in trainers was shocking to many in the sport since Davison had helped Fury recover from the mental health and addiction issues that sent the fighter into a brief retirement after dethroning Klitschko.
However, Fury seems to believe the change was necessary in order for him to beat Wilder in the rematch.
“SugarHill” was also interviewed during the ESPN telecast. He said his unique experience would help Fury beat Wilder next month.
“I bring to the table my experience in training and being around big-time fighters my whole life,” said the trainer. “My bloodline, my uncle Emmanuel boxed. His brother boxed. You know? His brother-in-law boxed. There’s just boxing in the family. I fell into that myself.”
Fury added that the Kronk style of boxing “SugarHill” teaches will make a huge difference in his next fight.
“I believe he’s going to bring the best out of me,” said Fury. “Steel sharpens steel.”