SugarHill Steward describes his immediate emotions in celebration after Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder as a mixed one.
As soon as Wilder trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel in the seventh round, Fury lifted both of his arms in celebration, just as Steward climbed the apron. They both embraced in a genuine hug, and then Fury planted a wet one on Steward.
“I’ve never had a man kiss me before. It was rough,” Steward quipped to BoxingScene.com as he reflected on the fight over the phone. “Besides all that, it was a great feeling. I had a plan for him and he trusted my plan. He executed the plan and we got the results that we were looking for in a sensational victory. It wasn’t the knockout in the second round like he wanted, but he got the knockout.”
Steward said that when he first shared his vision with the newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) when they renewed a union in December, he insisted that the British boxer would knock out Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs).
“People said it was a master plan, but none of that isn’t possible if the fighter doesn't listen to the coach and execute it,” said Steward. “Regardless of any plan I put together, the fighter has to follow it for it to be even talked about in such a manner like this. The fighter has to believe and follow that plan through. It’s a team effort. The credit should be even. That’s what I was hired for. To put that plan together — to get Tyson the win he wanted. He wanted something different, and that’s what he got.
“He had an excellent training camp, despite all of the things that were being said about him. All of the hard work and his dedication to the sport paid off. He wanted it. I wanted it too, just as much as he wanted it for himself.”
Steward said he coached like he had a chip on his shoulder just as much as the slight underdog Fury trained and fought, too.
“Just because [former Fury trainer] Ben Davison was out and I was in, it didn’t change anything. That’s my Kronk Gym attitude and I take it into every fight,” said Steward. “Emanuel Steward is smiling down from heaven. He knew Tyson Fury would become a champion way back then”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].