Familiarity was an important component to Tyson Fury hiring Javan Steward as his new trainer in December.
Changing trainers so close to such a huge fight was generally regarded as an unusual move, but Fury felt comfortable with Steward because he had worked alongside Emanuel Steward’s nephew in 2010 at his late uncle’s famed Kronk Gym in Detroit. Fury noted during a recent conference call that he wouldn’t have replaced Ben Davison with a trainer with whom he didn’t already have an existing relationship.
“I wouldn’t have done it, no, because we only have eight weeks to prepare for the fight,” Fury said. “It takes a few weeks to get used to a new trainer, to jell and the personalities. You never know what you’re getting with a new trainer and all that, but the fact that we worked together in the past, we knew each other, we kept in touch, we spoke to each other over the years, it was very helpful. We just got straight down to work.”
Steward prepared Fury for his heavyweight championship rematch against Deontay Wilder primarily at Top Rank’s gym in Las Vegas. England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) is pleased with how Steward has prepared him to fight more aggressively versus Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) in their 12-round rematch Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“I had a good defensive coach in Ben Davison,” Fury said. “We worked on a lot of defense every, single day for two years. It was the best defense. So, I needed an aggressive trainer. I worked with ‘Sugar’ Hill [Steward] in the past. I knew he was a good guy. I knew we got along well, which is very important. Communication is the key to any good relationship. That’s why I brought him in. And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – ever.”
Davison trained Fury throughout his comeback and guided the undefeated Fury to 4-0-1 record. In his most difficult of those five fights, Fury fought to a widely disputed split draw with Wilder in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
England’s Davison didn’t learn of Fury’s desire to hire a new trainer until after Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz in the seventh round of their rematch November 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Davison scouted Wilder from ringside that night and spoke afterward about what it would take for Fury to beat Wilder in their rematch.
Wilder will attempt to defend his WBC heavyweight title for the 11th time when he faces Fury in a FOX Sports/ESPN pay-per-view main event ($79.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.