By Tris Dixon
TYSON FURY’S trainer Ben Davison is still reeling from what happened last weekend.
His heavyweight was denied the fairytale return to the sport he craved when his WBC title thriller with Deontay Wilder was controversially adjudged a draw in Los Angeles.
But it has left the division, and for that matter the sport, a more vibrant place.
The big men are alive and kicking and the WBC this week ordered a rematch, though Davison cannot guarantee what the next few months might bring.
He is currently taking stock on vacation in Florida with his girlfriend. They will have a few days in New York before flying home for Christmas.
“Some people want to see the rematch but we need to address it, if it’s going to be in England it’s probably a stadium fight which means it would be in the summer and we’d like to get Tyson out beforehand,” said Davison. “But for us to go over there [the US] it’s risk versus reward. We’re risking that situation and getting robbed again, that’s a big risk so it needs to be a big reward. We are in a story with two sides and two situations. You’ve got ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.
They ‘need’ this rematch because he’s not looked at as the champion now and he knows he needs a rematch to put right the wrong whereas Tyson just ‘wants’ the rematch – he doesn’t need it. So there’s a big difference there.”
Then there is another piece of the puzzle. Triple-beltholder Anthony Joshua fights TBA on April 13. Various names have been floated for the opposite corner in Wembley, but Davison doubts it will be Wilder, and is almost certain it will not be Fury.
“I don’t think that they will take Wilder or Tyson at the minute,” he added. “Wilder’s a big risk – while really being beat by Tyson already – and there’s not as much reward as there would have been.”
And although he would not rule out Joshua-Fury on April 13, he called it “very very unlikely.”
“Obviously if the deal was right [it could happen], but contact’s not been made through this whole comeback. They’ve not tried to make that fight and they’ve still not made contact since the fight so I’m not completely ruling it out but it’s very very unlikely in my eyes.”
Davison’s stock has risen as high as anyone’s in the sport this year, from virtual unknown to both steadying and guiding a ship that for several years had seemed so unstable.
Video released by BT Sport showed he was calm under pressure in the corner and talking a lot of tactical sense, confounding the naysayers who condemned him as the weak link in Team Fury.
The night had started well for him, too. He coached unbeaten Isaac Lowe to the WBC International featherweight title in the opening fight at the STAPLES Center.
And while the evening ended on a sour note, with Ben fuming at the decision in the main event, he took some solace in shutting up the detractors.
BT Sport had him wearing a microphone on the night, and it was something he did not mind doing.
“Do you know what it is?” he mused rhetorically. “That sort of thing just doesn’t bother me, and when I’m working with a fighter I’m working with them for a reason, they trust in my ability and I trust in their ability and that’s what matters. Obviously I’m still gutted it didn’t go our way, but it is what it is. I just feel gutted. “Do you know what it is?” he asked again. “It’s because in history, on paper, it will go down as a draw and people will say he drew with Deontay Wilder the first time. It’s a shame, but the world and the generation we’re in knows the truth and that softens the blow a little bit.”
Many feel there is not much Fury would need to do differently if the two were to fight again, but Davison is already planning eventualities in his head. He may be on holiday, but Wilder is still in his thoughts.
“You know when you came to see us in Big Bear,” Davison recalled of a TV interview we recorded a couple of months ago. “I told you that I’d watched him so much that I knew what he was going to do before he does it and I even feel like I know what adaptions he feels he will need to make – and that will obviously depend on the adjustments that we make. You hear people say. ‘We’re just worried about ourselves and my fighter being the best he can be.’ Well, actually no because to go with a game plan that suits the other man it doesn’t matter how good your man is. If it’s the wrong game plan you’ll get beat. So I look at why Tyson got knocked down, why he landed that shot in the last round. I know the mistakes that were made and we’ll make adjustments.”
The specifics will go unsaid, in case the rematch happens.
But Wilder, although nullified at times, will pose the same threat levels he did so the first time around. The basics, the intrigue of the match has not gone. Not a bit.
“It’s the same thing,” Davison insisted, “because Tyson will always be able to outbox Deontay but Deontay will always have that one shot power that can end the fight.
“I knew Wilder had unbelievable self-belief and I knew he thought he could land it up until the last second. I’ve spent five months non-stop watching all of his fights every single day so I feel like I know him pretty well and I watched him before that so nothing shocked me when I got in there because we were prepared for every possible outcome and scenario.”
That vaunted power took fans on a three-minute thrill-ride to end the show on Saturday, when Tyson was crumpled by a right hand and a follow up left hook.
He was down. Many thought he was out.
Davison leapt up to watch and instruct his fighter but found himself pinned down by a trio of commissioners and only once he battled from their grasps did he see Tyson “rise like the Terminator.”
“There’s a problem and I think the commission needs to address it, because over there you remain seated,” he explained. “When Tyson got knocked down, obviously as his trainer I know him better than anybody so I wanted to have a look at him. So I’ve gone to get up and about three of the commissioners held me down and pinned me to my seat. So I ended up in a row, arguing and pushing them off for a few seconds and I managed to get up and have a look, but by this point Tyson was getting up. But for the trainers to get a bit closer and have a look at his trainer is an important thing.”
He admitted he didn’t know if Tyson would get up, though he knew it was a heavy knockdown.
“Tyson has got unbelievable heart and is a man of faith so you can never write him off,” he said.
And Tyson had been written off. They both were.
Before last week Tyson was a slob who had lost weight and was about to sacrifice his lineal title for a few million dollars in a half empty arena with a no-nothing youngster in his corner.
A week on and Davison is being approached by fighters, managers and trainers to take on new clients, Fury is as relevant as he ever was and more than 17,000 fans have probably thought about the drama every day since.
But for Davison, the most satisfying thing is seeing Fury the man – already ticking over back in the gym – transforming in the eyes of the public.
“That pleases me,” he concluded. “Although we will always be gutted over the decision it’s one of the biggest sporting comebacks in history and to have that done was heartbreaking. It’s still a bit sickening now but I’m very pleased he’s getting the credit he is now, because he does deserve it.”
They both do.