GATINEAU, Quebec, Canada - Before making his much anticipated United States debut, undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) has set-up training camp to sink two-time world champion Steve "USS" Cunningham (25-5, 13 KOs), north of the border at beautiful Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
Team Fury's home-base is far from the home of this massive Irish-Manchurian but Lac-Leamy has quickly become Tyson's second home. The gorgeous facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering a premium gaming experience in Canada. On the premises is the stunning Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel, providing five-star accommodations fit for a boxing superstar such as Fury.
Fury vs. Cunningham headlines an exciting event, co-promoted by Hennessy Sports and Main Events, on Saturday afternoon, April 20, airing live from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Their 12-round main event is an official International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Voluntary Eliminator for the No. 2 position, pitting No. 8 rated Fury against the No. 12 ranked Cunningham. Also rated No, 4 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), Fury is the reigning Irish heavyweight champion.
"I have had training camps all over the world," the charismatic Fury said, "and so far Casino Lac-Leamy ranks right at the top. I have everything at my disposal here - atmosphere, facilities, and nearby running trails - to get me in the best shape of my career for April 20."
Already considered one of the best heavyweights in the world, ranked No. 9 by The Ring Magazine, Fury will battle Philadelphia fan-favorite Cunningham with the winner earning a shot at the IBF No. 1 ranked fighter - currently Kubrat Pulev - to become the mandatory challenger to current heavyweight king and future Hall of Famer, Wladimir Klitschko.
"I truly feel I'm ready to conquer the heavyweight division," the outspoken Fury remarked. "Steve Cunningham is the toughest test of my career, but I've made a name for myself by passing those tests again and again. I've taken camp to Canada this time in order to make sure that trend continues."
Fans may tune-in to watch the expected action-packed fight at 4 p.m. ET on NBC as part of a special 2-hour afternoon presentation of NBC Sports Fight Night. This marks only the third time boxing has been on network television in the U.S. since 1993.
Tickets, starting at $25, are available to purchase at Ticketmaster outlets and ticketmaster.com.
By Ashley Theophane
After my really exciting and instructive visit last year, I’m back at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas and it really feels great to be here again.
There is a strong sense of competitiveness in the air, but somehow it still feels like a family environment. Everyone wants to be a champion and the best they can be, but at the same time, everyone is friendly and supportive of each other.
It reminds me a lot of Gleason’s Gym in New York.
I’m continuing to work with Floyd Mayweather’s assistant coach, Nate Jones, and it has been top quality work. He’s been teaching me stuff and I’ve been enjoying it. You can never stop learning in life and in boxing.
I normally start my day with an hour’s run on the Las Vegas streets, or a two hour cardiovascular, strength and core conditioning session at the 24 hour fitness gym.
I tend to get to Mayweather’s Boxing club for 1pm, and finish by 4pm. Then the main event starts; watching one of the greatest fighters of all time, Floyd Mayweather Junior.
I work very hard all the time, but what Floyd does is completely on another level. Since my last training camp in Las Vegas I have added to my game from watching Floyd and this time will be no different.
I love how Floyd says “I’m an old man” but still shows amazing speed, power and conditioning.
Watching Floyd spar, work out and train is like taking part in a living master class. When he’s on the pads and bags, he works intensely on his speed and power, but still has the time to show us onlookers how you are supposed to punch correctly. Pure class!
I sparred with Semajay Thomas, who was US Amateur champion in 2009 and 2011, ranked number one in America and number five in the world as an amateur.
I didn’t know who he was before we sparred, but we work with the same trainer, Nate Jones, so I had seen him at close quarters working on the bags and pads. I always want to spar and fight with the best available, so I was more than happy to trade punches with him when asked.
At 20 years old he has a big future ahead of him and he could possibly be a world champion, if he stays dedicated and continues to work hard.
We completed 5 rounds sparring with just 30 seconds rest in the 30 degrees centigrade Vegas heat. We will continue to work together next week, as he is making his professional debut in two weeks.
As a 5 year old kid watching the likes of Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, I fell in love with the sport and dreamed of training and fighting in the States.
It has been a long and hard road to get to where I am today, but by inspiring others, just like I was once inspired, makes my hard work, dedication and resilience all worthwhile.
Another really important reason for being out here is that it keeps me in touch with the US boxing scene. I’ve been approached this week about possible championship fights in the Philippines and in America.
Las Vegas is currently the boxing capital of the US. I’m feeling and loving the buzz of the place. It’s fabulous to be here in the mix.
That’s one week down and three more to go.
Mayweather’s Boxing Club is a great gym and it’s impossible not to enjoy every minute of it, and not forgetting that I’m in the presence of greatness.
Tags: Steve Cunningham , Ashley Theophane , Tyson Fury , Fury-Cunningham , Fury vs. Cunningham