The seaside town of Morecambe in the North of England might be a long way from urban Detroit, but both places feel like home to trainer Sugar Hill.
The coach of heavyweight king Tyson Fury has spent the last six or seven weeks back in Morecombe with his charge, preparing Fury for his third go-round with old friend and foe Dereck Chisora.
“It’s been okay,” Hill said of his most recent stay. “It’s been relaxing and we’ve been training, I don’t do too much different when I’m here, that’s why I like Morecombe. It’s always pretty much the same… good sparring… and it’s been a good camp. It’s been just me and Tyson pretty much, there’s just been a few of us, not that many of us this time, so he’s enjoyed it as well.”
Fury is expected to win convincingly at Tottenham Hotspur’s Football Stadium in North London on Saturday night, having thrashed Chisora twice before earlier in their careers.
Fury has also improved incredibly, since, but Hill believes Chisora is a more intelligent boxer now than he was in the past.
“Chisora has got better over time,” Hill contended. “He’s got smarter. I think fighters get smarter over time. You’re not going to have some of the athleticism that you had when you were younger but as you get older, like in life, like Bernard Hopkins – he’s one of those fighters I didn’t really care for too much when he was younger, he had too much energy and did so many things and for me he was an awkward fighter – but as he got older, he got better. He matured and things were a lot smoother for him. He had a lot more success as an older fighter than as a younger fighter.”
There has been the usual pre-fight talk of Fury and Chisora coming to have a tear up, and Hill expects Chisora to try to bring violence, but he refuses to accept that it will be an easy night’s work for Fury.
“It's not like you’ll see anything different from Chisora, he’ll just be more clever with what he does,” Hill continued. “Maybe he won’t just come out throwing punches, maybe he’ll throw different punches, but he’ll be aggressive. Every fight you see the same thing, he’s pushing forwards. You know what you’re getting with Chisora, it’s just how he does it and how effective he’s going to be doing it.”
Of course, there are many who think it doesn’t matter what Chisora does, that Fury is levels above, not just Dereck but all of the other heavyweight pack, whether it’s Usyk, Joshua or Joyce.
Yet Hill still doesn’t think Fury has peaked.
“As far as his whole boxing career? No, he’s only getting finer with time, just like wine,” the coach added.
When asked whether Fury is close to his peak, Hill replied: “Just by guessing. [But] I’ve taught him a lot, he’s learned a lot, he’s happy with what he’s learning and there are still things for him to learn, always, with him mastering these things we’re working on and having a lot more fun with them and implementing that with his style and what he likes to do. I’m just helping him with what he wants to do in a better way.”
For Hill, Fury is clearly No. 1 and improving. Perhaps fellow unbeaten Usyk is the only man who can lay claim to challenge that debate, but the Detroit man has faith in Fury, in his achievements and in Tyson’s potential to do more.
“I see him as the very best in the world,” Sugar continued. “I don’t see any other heavyweight out there that can compete with Tyson Fury. My theory has always been, Tyson could fight two or three of those guys in the same night, easily. We’re not talking 12 rounds, we’re saying let’s put him in there – four rounds a piece – and he would win that match with three different guys and wouldn’t lose a round and very possibly he’d knock a couple of those guys out, if not all three of them.”
There were teases of other opponents being in the frame for this December date a few months ago, and it’s here where Hill has counselled Fury, telling him not to worry about what anyone else is doing and instructing him to run his own race. It’s clearly been a recent topic of conversation in Morecombe, as winter begins to bite.
“I’m only interested in Tyson Fury fighting, I don’t care who it is he’s fighting,” Hill explained. “It doesn’t matter to me anymore. It doesn’t matter who he fights. He’s tried to make the big fights with the bigger names and with the best guys out there. He’s tried to make those fights, he’s not able to make those fights. He can’t go round chasing everybody else or chasing someone else’s life. Live your own life is the best thing you can do and he’s starting to understand more of that. The position he’s in, he’s the top heavyweight. He doesn’t have to go out there and fight these other guys. They need to fight him. Tyson Fury fought Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 and Dillian Whyte didn’t do any promotions. He only came in fight week, so what does Tyson need to chase all these big names for when he can just be happy fighting like he likes to do, he always likes to entertain – let him just continue to do that and don’t worry about anybody else if they want to make things difficult. Because when they do that, it's like they control your life. You don’t want nobody controlling your life, you control your own life. That’s what I’ve been telling him. You can’t make somebody do something they don’t want to do, or something their people don’t want them to do because they’re getting advice and taking advice and with different things coming in to play. Live your own life, something that you have a hold over.”