Tyson Fury trainer Ben Davison, having helped the ‘Gypsy King’ shed the pounds, weighs in on the recent Andy Ruiz Jr weight loss
A recent Instagram post from unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr sparked a whole host of speculation. Cuddly Mexican-American Ruiz, celebrated in the aftermath of his June upset victory over Anthony Joshua for not conforming to the stereotypical chiselled aesthetic of a fighter, looked rather lean. With seven weeks still to go until the Joshua rematch in Saudi Arabia on December 7, Ruiz looked (being the operative word) in career-best shape and while some observers praised his dedication, others expressed concern that Ruiz was fixing something that was never broken.
I wanted an expert opinion so approached Ben Davison, trainer of Tyson Fury and the man who helped the “Gypsy King” lose a huge amount of excess weight while retaining sufficient performance quality to go unbeaten on the comeback trail - long before his move to WWE which you can read about here. Davison was happy to list some of the pros and cons in the direction Ruiz has apparently taken.
Could help athleticism
The whole process with Tyson, from the very start in October 2017, was solely focused on losing weight while using boxing training. There is no point having a great skill-set if it is limited by being grossly overweight. A big part of Tyson’s skill-set is his athleticism. He was a decent weight for the Francesco Pianeta fight but that wasn’t a true weight, he went back up after.
Time on his side
Ruiz has still got about seven weeks to focus his training on an output to reach his maximum strength and fitness levels, finalise gameplans and spar. Tyson still had weight to lose in the Deontay Wilder camp to get to 18st 4lbs [256lbs] which is around his ideal weight. So the first part of the camp, at altitude in Big Bear, was focused on getting him into peak condition, but you can’t stay at a calorie deficit long term to lose weight then still fuel yourself to get into optimum condition to train. Once he was able to eat more, fuel himself more, there was a bigger output in training, then we were fine-tuning in LA.
If the body’s right the mind’s right and vice versa. Tyson does like to look good. You have to find that balance though and that’s the difficult part. Tyson wouldn’t care, if it was best for his boxing, if he had to walk around at 25st [350lbs], but he enjoys training and looking good. Also it helps his mental heath, and anyone’s mental health, to look in the mirror and look in shape. Looking at yourself out of shape does not have the same effect.
Could compromise durability
It’s like with Dereck Chisora, I think the lighter he comes in, he doesn’t take as well of a shot so I wouldn’t keep losing weight if I was Ruiz. You have to be focused on boxing and not losing weight.
Head may have been turned?
I think the media can have an effect, all the stories about Ruiz partying after beating Joshua and not taking boxing seriously. I saw something Andy said to Joshua at the presser, he said something about ‘All this media…’ so obviously it had been playing on his mind have. There is pressure to become a certain type of character, a level of expectation. He might be thinking, ‘Is it me? Should I change something?’ Tyson used to get bothered by it but now he plays them at their own game. Ruiz has had no time to get used to that heightened scrutiny. I think he performed very well in the first fight, I wouldn’t say he needs to change anything, but maybe he’s feeling pressure as people say how a heavyweight champion should look.