Fury has stripped things back before his third fight against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas
No sex during camp, sleeping in his caravan in Morecambe behind his family home, and adopting a grizzly bear as his spiritual animal have been the unusual changes for Tyson Fury as the heavyweight prepares to defend his World Boxing Council belt against arch-rival Deontay Wilder here on Saturday night.
It has been all change for Fury in camp heading into his third contest with the Alabaman, and much of the training period has been based at home in Lancashire.
Being there has meant that Fury’s father, John, has had input into the strategy to face Wilder once again, alongside official trainer SugarHill Steward, the nephew of the late, great Manny Steward, of the Kronk Gym in Detroit.
After a defensive fight when Fury and Wilder met the first time, which ended in a draw, Fury adopted “The Kronk Style” of aggression for last year’s contest, which Fury won powerfully on the front foot, dropping Wilder twice on the way to a seventh-round stoppage. This third encounter is expected to herald a similar plan from Fury, as his father explained.
“I’ve just told Tyson to be aware of the adjustments Wilder may make,” Fury Snr said. “Because he has to. Wilder has got to make adjustments. Do I think he can make a great difference? No, I don’t. Do I think he’s got a brilliant trainer? No, I don’t. He’s probably telling him all the things he wants to hear.
“Am I worried about Deontay Wilder? No. Because Tyson knows he can never be complacent, and never take things for granted. He’s got to go like he’s trying to win the belt, not defend it.
“Every avenue is a dangerous avenue. Tyson has left no stone unturned. He has had a good, sensible camp. He’s had minimal people there. The backslappers are gone, as are the silly talkers and the pipe dreamers. He can do without all of them. He’s moving on and benefiting from that.”
Steward, meanwhile, believes Fury’s superior ring IQ will carry him through, and sees his fighter’s skills being both a “sword and shield” when battle recommences.
Bob Arum, Fury’s Las Vegas promoter, also added to the unusual practises of his fighter, explaining: “Fury always changes things up, keeps himself transformational. He has planned another amazing walk-in to the ring, and he constantly wants to be not just a boxer, but an entertainer.
“One other change there has also been before this are the tight Covid-19 protocols his team have kept him under ahead of this fight after what happened in the summer. And I’d add this – while I’ve promoted the likes of Muhammad Ali, and Manny Pacquiao, of course, who are extraordinary people, there is a quality about Fury which is other-worldly, I’d even say supernatural. There is a quality about him that the other heavyweights simply do not have. He draws on a strange power. I’m backing him to get the job done.”
Fury, meanwhile, said yesterday that he must stay confident in his own abilities, but that the changes in camp had all been positive.
Sporting a mark under one of his eyes after the final days of sparring, the 33-year-old delighted in explaining life in his caravan behind his family home.
“I was sleeping in the caravan behind my house and it took me back to what my ancestors used to do, and made me feel all of that DNA from the generations of bare-knuckle fighters and boxers in the family,” he explained with a grin.
Fury also pointed out that it was a reminder that he had lived in a caravan prior to facing and defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. “Those were good times, and it is always, always good to get back to your roots.”
Sporting a beard – he was clean-shaven for his assault on Wilder 20 months ago here – Fury was quick to point out that the facial hair was there for a reason.
“I’ve adopted the animal spirit of a grizzly bear, because I’m going to go in there on Saturday night and maul him – I’m going to maul the Bronze Bomber into submission.”
Fury has abstained from sex during this training camp, saying: “I’m an old school fighter. For this camp, I have not been having any sex because I believe, like the ancient gladiators, that it softens you ahead of the clashes and collisions.”
Do the changes, however bizarre or unusual, matter? In a fighter’s mind, it is all about self-belief, and with Fury, being mentally strong, allied with his extraordinary boxing skills and calm, it makes for a powerful force.
Fourth bout against Wilder off the cards no matter results
Tyson Fury was accused by Deontay Wilder of ‘cheating’ in their second fight and using doctored gloves as the two heavyweights came together on the same stage last night for the first time in Sin City in the lead-up to their trilogy fight.
“Fury knows he cheated me out of the belt here last year, everybody knows and I’m going to put it right on Saturday night,” said the challenger.
Fury, the incumbent World Boxing Council champion responded by telling the media audience – the press conference was not open to the public – that it was Wilder’s former trainer Jay Deas who had witnessed his hands being wrapped and that “the commission always makes the final decision.”
Wilder will not face Tyson Fury for a fourth time, even if he reclaims the World Boxing Council title on Saturday night. The American has pledged to pursue the undisputed title against the winner of Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
Wilder lost the WBC belt to Fury 20 months ago and a triumph would place the rivalry at one win to each fighter, with the first meeting, in 2018, a controversial split draw.
“This is it. This will close the book on me and Fury,” said Wilder yesterday. “That is what you have come to witness. I will defeat Fury by knockout this time and then I will go after the undisputed title. I believe in what we’ve been doing in camp, I believe in my team and Malik Scott [Wilder’s trainer] has brought the best out of me, things that I haven’t done before.”
“Everyone knows I have power and my power never diminishes from the first through to the 12th round. Everyone knows about my power but I want to show a little bit more. I want to beat him up and I’m going to knock him out.”
Wilder’s ambition is then to challenge for the other three belts, which Usyk and Joshua will contest in their rematch next year, expected to be in February or March.
“A lot of people get the belt and then start acting funny with it but with him he is a warrior and I’m looking forward to it because the only way I will be able to retire is if I achieve, ‘One champion, one face, one name’.”
Wilder has been hell-bent on revenge against Fury, who dropped his foe twice and stopped him in the seventh round here last February. Will victory be enough or did Wilder want to end Fury’s career and push him into retirement? “That’s up to the man himself,” Wilder responded.
“I’m not here to decide on another man’s fate or whether he retires or not. That has to be from within the man himself. I know my time that I want to leave and I’ve got goals to accomplish before I do that and I’m going to do that.
“Then I’m outta here. I want everyone to appreciate us while we are here because when I’m gone, I’m gone.”
Wilder, who has 41 knockouts in his 42 victories, added: “I love being the underdog. A lot of fighters love being the underdog because you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to prove. There is less pressure upon you. I love being in this position.”
After a five minute slanging match between the two protagonists which went back and forth, the promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren refused to allow the two fighters to face off.