Deontay Wilder was wrapping up a memorable trip to Italy when the latest update in the career of his next opponent made the rounds.
It wasn’t until the undefeated heavyweight titlist made it back to the United States that he was able to gather all of the details on the news of England’s Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) parting ways with head training Ben Davison. The development comes just two months ahead of their planned rematch, which is due to take place February 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I heard about it. He’s trying to do his best to get himself defeated,” Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) insisted to BoxingScene.com. “He’s concerned about this fight. He don’t believe the hype around him.”
Assuming the rematch stays on course for the targeted February date, it will come nearly 15 months after their iconic first fight last December. Their 12-round draw saw Fury twice climb off the canvas, including his miraculous recovery from a 12th round knockdown in which many had him pegged as Wilder’s latest knockout victim at the time.
Fury made it to his feet and finished his feet brimming with confidence that he’d earned the upset victory, as was believed to be the case by the majority of viewers. Instead came the controversial three-way split, leaving the pair of behemoths unbeaten. Davison was credited with instilling a masterful game plan that evening, along with his work in getting the Brit back into fighting shape following 30-month ring hiatus while overcoming substance abuse and mental health issues.
Davison is also recognized as having been a necessary positive influence in Fury’s life, in addition to his serving as his chief second for the heavyweight’s two wins in 2019—a 2nd round knockdown of Tom Schwarz and a 12-round decision over Otto Wallin this past September. The latter saw Davison tasked with maintaining order as Fury dealt with a severe cut over his right eye for more than nine rounds.
“They seemed like they were cool from what you read, but you hear a lot of different things so who knows what was really going on,” notes Wilder. “Sometimes, it just takes that person to take the initiative to say ‘I gotta go.’ I don’t know how much you can read into it. But it ain’t gonna matter who he gets. You can’t teach power; you can’t teach speed.”
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Fury announced on Sunday that he will now train with SugarHill Steward (nee Javan ‘Sugar’ Hill). The two previously worked together when the Brit traveled to the United States earlier in the decade to train at Kronk Gym alongside his cousin and then-unbeaten rising middleweight Andy Lee, both learning under the tutelage of the late Emanuel Steward.
Fury’s realignment with SugarHill Steward, Emanuel’s nephew is viewed as efforts to return to his roots.
Meanwhile, Wilder will stick with the stability that’s worked throughout his boxing life. The 34-year old Tuscaloosa, Alabama native has plied his trade under the watchful eye of Jay Deas since donning his first pair of boxing gloves at age 20.
Three years later, he served as the lone American to medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, returning home with a bronze medal. His pro debut later that year came with the addition of former two-time welterweight titlist Mark Breland, arguably the greatest boxer in U.S. amateur boxing history. Deas and Breland remain in his corner, all these years and 10 title defenses later, including a one-punch knockout of Luis Ortiz (31-2, 26KOs; 2NCs) in their rematch this past November in Las Vegas.
“[Fury is] trying to talk himself into a win,” Wilder notes, not buying into the mind games. “He’s trying to put it in his head that he beat me 10 out of 12 rounds. I’m not the one going around changing trainers, and taking tune-ups. I’ve been fighting the best. I gave one of my toughest opponents a second opportunity.
“I’ve been holding the heavyweight division down when it comes to excitement. Whatever Tyson Fury wants to do with his career and whoever training him, all he’s doing is preparing himself to be added to my career highlight reel.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox