Tyson Fury isn’t convinced that even a new head trainer will be able to rid Deontay Wilder of his old habits. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The topic came up during a press conference held Tuesday afternoon at The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, where the pair of heavyweights were on hand to formally announce their trilogy fight. The two will meet July 24 on a joint Pay-Per-View presented by ESPN and Fox Sports from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, taking place 17 months after their rematch which saw Fury score a 7th round knockout of the previously unbeaten Wilder to win the WBC heavyweight title and reestablish championship lineage in the division.
The most significant change heading into the rematch was Fury enlisting the services of Javan SugarHill Steward and former middleweight titlist-turned-trainer Andy Lee to work his corner. This time, it’s Wilder who enters their rivalry with a corner shakeup, with former heavyweight boxer and longtime team member Malik Scott taking the lead during training camp—and, as it turned out, during Tuesday’s press conference.
England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) isn’t convinced that the pre-fight changes made by his longtime rival will translate in the ring come fight night.
“No matter how much that Malik teaches Deontay, Deontay is going to do what Deontay is going to do,” Fury insisted during the press conference. “In a real fight, he’s going to do what he’s going to do. He’s going to revert him straight back to type, Mark my word, 100%.
“As soon as he hits me with that first right hand, he’s going to see that and say, ‘I’m going to take his head off.’”
Fury and Wilder fought to a disputed 12-round draw in their first meeting in December 2018. Wilder scored two knockdowns, flooring Fury in rounds nine and twelve. Fury somehow peeled himself off of the canvas in time to beat the count of referee Jack Reiss in the 12th and final round, finishing the fight on his feet but having to settle for a split decision draw.
The rematch was considerably less competitive, with Fury winning every round on two scorecards and five of the six scored rounds on the third scorecard at the time of the stoppage. Wilder was floored twice before assistant trainer Mark Breland called for referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight. Wilder has since removed Breland from the team, with Scott enjoying an increased role in camp and working to fine tune the former WBC heavyweight titlist.
Scott was known as a serviceable heavyweight during his 16-year pro career, one which oddly included a 1st round knockout loss to Wilder in their March 2014 meet in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Upon exiting the game following a 12-round loss to Luis Ortiz in November 2016, Scott has since applied his wisdom on the other side of the ropes although Fury openly questioned if he’s the right man for the job considering the promise of restoring Wilder’s place atop the heavyweight division.
“You can’t expect him to do something you couldn’t do,” Fury insisted. “You can’t teach him to be some great fighter when you wasn’t.”
Naturally, the absurd claim was challenged.
“Who’s teaching him to be a great fighter,” Scott questioned. “I’m adding on to everything that he already do.
“Sugar Hill just said you a one punch knockout artist now. There’s no history of you doing that. So that means, when the fight starts, you’re going to go right back to your (old ways).”
Fury respected the reply but insisted with his belief of how things will play out in their trilogy bout.
“He got rid of Mark Breland because he was cheating or whatever he said,” noted Fury, who—like Wilder—has not fought since their rematch last February. “He’s employed you. I’m not here to disrespect you. You’re not boxing. I’m not having a go at you. Everyone has this game plan of what they’re going to do to me until they get in there. I’ve seen it so many times.
“You can teach him in the gym whatever you want. I’m standing here and I’m going to stamp my claim. It’s going to be the same Deontay Wilder that we’ve already seen. That’s that. It is what it is. I can’t see him doing anything different. That’s just me, maybe I’m wrong. Who knows.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox