Fury’s former trainer Ben Davison tells Telegraph Sport how the heavyweight will be preparing for Anthony Joshua superfight
A fortnight ago, the sporting world stopped to hear the short, simple words it has long been waiting for: It’s on. But for Tyson Fury the announcement of his £200million heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua meant something different. It was time to get to work.
Pictures emerged on Tuesday night of the Gypsy King looking lean, strong and fight-ready – just weeks after his claim he was “drinking 12 pints a day”. It points to a fighter stepping up through the gears and demonstrates the impact of his early training regime.
There are still three months until the fight, and there is yet to be white smoke on a venue, but time waits for no man and Fury has clearly not been sitting idle.
Ben Davison, Fury’s former trainer who brought him back from the wilderness in 2018 and helped him lose 10st in his comeback to be two-time heavyweight champion, talks us through life in a Tyson Fury training camp.
How Fury finds his fighting weight
Fury’s volatile weight has long been a point of fascination to outsiders. But, says Davison, it is not an issue in the rigours of the camp. “There’s no need to monitor Tyson’s weight,” he explains to Telegraph Sport.
“He likes to jump on the scales himself in the morning. I’m sure he’ll have his nutritionist George Lockhart in, who cooks all his meals and keeps him on point with his diet. He’ll be taking care of all that.” Davison says Fury’s regimen will include two sessions a day and encompass sparring, bag work, technical moves, footwork, strength and conditioning and running.
“He has his regular strength and conditioning, sparring – everything just gets tightened up,” he says. “Screws get tightened for preparation. He’s training all the time, twice a day, but in camp every detail is looked over. But Fury’s weight for fight week, and on fight night will be determined by the game plan.”
Learning to love the pressure – and what to do in the downtime
Four months is a long time to sustain the punishing physical and mental regime of a training camp. “Tyson’s mood can change throughout the day, or weekly,” Davison says. “I always found when he had a fight coming up, not necessarily the tick over jobs, but a genuine fight coming up that he wanted to perform in when he feels a little bit of pressure on his shoulders, it balances him.
“It’s almost like that’s where he finds his warrior spirit home. It is when he is most himself, the most complete, the most comfortable. The best version of Tyson is when there’s pressure. Physically, mentally, emotionally he finds a home in camp.”
Fury will be watching Joshua fights, particularly his last few contests, looking for the footwork and feints that his rival uses, but also other fighters such as Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, Muhammad Ali for inspiration. “We were constantly watching boxing in the fight camp home. There was always boxing on and going over a fight. We’re all boxing fans as well as students of the sport,” says Davison.
Part of Fury’s ritual during camp is to attend church services at the weekends. “[He] goes to church on the weekends. He likes to get up and go to Starbucks in the morning. He also likes having his brothers Shane and Hughie around.”
Fury famously said ahead of his Deontay Wilder fight in Las Vegas in February 2020 that he was masturbating seven times a day to ‘keep testosterone pumping’ – but it may have just been headline clickbait, or his penchant for teasing reporters. “I don’t know, I don’t check how often he masturbates. I don’t keep a checklist on that,” said Davison.
Who is in Fury’s training camp?
Fury’s brothers play a major part in camp. They are there from start to finish. His father John Fury, an outspoken character and former professional heavyweight boxer, is vastly knowledgeable and has an input in strategy and game plan.
“Hughie is a young but mature character. Passionate. I know he finds it hard watching Tyson fight and is very emotionally involved, as you can imagine,” explains Davison, while brother Shane can play ‘bad cop’ in camp.
“Shane is a funny character, but a big character and a big guy. Both of them will tell Tyson what they think and I think that’s great to have. If he does something they disagree with, they’ll have that discussion with him. Let’s say another member of the team may not feel comfortable to put him in his place and may not express their feelings,” revealed Davison.
“But he will know that the family thinks and I think that’s important when you’ve got big fights coming up. It’s important you’re kept on the straight and narrow. You need someone giving you some home truths. All those adds to having a good performance.
“But when it gets to fight time – Tyson, like Josh Taylor, Billy Joe Saunders, who I also work with – the bottom line is that they would give up their purse to know for sure they’re going to win the fight. It’s what sets the best boxers apart.”
Fury normally has a visit from his wife, Paris, on the Thursday of fight week, if they have been separated for a long period. Paris is expecting their sixth child.
Where will the camp go next?
It is hard to pin down exactly where Fury will base himself – and for how long – with no venue yet confirmed. Saudi Arabia is the most likely destination for the first of the two fights with Joshua.
“The thing about Tyson is he’s very unpredictable,” Davison says. “Tyson’s unpredictable in his training, he’s unpredictable in his lifestyle. He might want to go to Saudi [if fight is confirmed there] eight weeks before or he could decide to only go a few days before. He’s just so unpredictable. I wouldn’t be surprised if he set up his training camp at home and trained from home and then flew over there maybe the week of the fight or two weeks before.”