LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum grew fond of Ben Davison during the time Arum got to know him last year as Tyson Fury’s trainer.
The 88-year-old promoter is still certain that Fury made the right decision by hiring Javan Steward to replace Davison as his head trainer. Fury executed the switch slightly more than two months ago, just in time to start training camp for his high-stakes, heavyweight championship rematch with Deontay Wilder on Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Hiring Steward, the late Emanuel Steward’s nephew and a veteran trainer, and adding Andy Lee and top cut man Jacob “Stitch” Duran to his team increased Arum’s confidence in Fury’s ability to beat Wilder in their second fight for Wilder’s WBC title. Duran replaced Jorge Capetillo, who had to deal with the gruesome gash above Fury’s right eye in his last fight, a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Otto Wallin on September 14 at T-Mobile Arena.
“Ben Davison’s a lovely guy, but he doesn’t have the experience necessary to run a corner in a major fight,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “He just had never done it. I think by bringing in ‘Sugar’ Hill [Steward], who’s a Kronk guy, who’s been around Emanuel, I think that Tyson has enhanced his chances of winning the fight.”
Duran’s addition is important in the event that the cut over Fury’s right eye opens up again against Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs). Fury needed 47 stitches to close that gash and had a mesh web inserted into his skin during a surgical procedure to fix the scar tissue above his right eye.
“He has a proper corner now,” Arum said. “He has ‘Stitch’ Duran as his cut man, who’s one of the best cut men in the world. And Andy Lee will be in the corner. Andy’s a great boxing guy. So, I think he did the right thing. Ben is a lovely, lovely guy, and he’s a very bright guy. But I don’t think he really has the knowledge to be the chief corner man in a fight like this. That’s my opinion.”
The 27-year-old Davison helped Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) rebuild his career following a 2½-year layoff in which the lineal heavyweight champion battled alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression.
Fury went 4-0-1 with Davison as his head trainer. Respected veteran trainer Freddie Roach assisted Davison in the corner the night Fury fought Wilder to a controversial split draw in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Roach criticized Davison following their draw for encouraging Fury to be cautious, when Roach felt he should’ve been aggressive and attempted to take Wilder out.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.