Danny Flexen calls SugarHill Steward in Detroit to find out more about Tyson Fury joining his camp for the Deontay Wilder rematch
The surprise news broke yesterday. Despite admirable success under close friend Ben Davison on the comeback trail, including losing a huge amount of weight, turning his life around and ultimately taking WBC champion Deontay Wilder to a draw most felt he should have won, Tyson Fury will going forward train with longtime confidant SugarHill Steward, in Detroit.
Fury first worked with SugarHill’s legendary uncle Emanuel Steward for a year around a decade ago, a period during which the nephew also played a key role. Manny always believed in Fury and very nearly formed a permanent partnership in early 2011 before a projected fight with Antonio Tarver – for which Tyson would have based himself in the US – fell through. Now things have come full circle, with Fury deciding to learn on a daily basis from the man who is continuing Emanuel’s legacy.
“I was impressed when Emanuel first told me Tyson was coming; I didn’t know who he was,” laughs SugarHill as he drives to the gym on a cold Motor City morning, his warm personality belying the local climate. “I saw him moving around and I was surprised at his ability to move like that, his athleticism; I was shocked, like ‘Wow’.
“He’s made big progress since. He’s become the heavyweight champion of the world, dethroned Wladimir Klitschko. I spent a lot of time with him in camp, and outside camp, and I learned a lot from him then: the determination, the strong will, I guess that’s what other people are seeing in him now. I’m excited at being able to work with him as he’s matured and, on top of that, getting him back to being heavyweight champion of the world. I spent a long time watching Emanuel go through big fights, now it’s time for me to take everything I’ve learned and put that to use.”
The typically self-deprecating Steward is doing himself something of a disservice there, given he has trained world champions in his own right, including the long-reigning Adonis Stevenson (who is doing a lot better by the way), and currently boasts an impressive and diverse stable, featuring ex-champ Anthony Dirrell and rising Uzbek 140lber Shohjahon Ergashev. That said, the media spotlight will focus on the humble SugarHill like never before as he prepares Fury for his rematch with Wilder, most likely on February 22. The trainer revealed he and Fury had discussed teaming up recently but that it wasn’t set in stone until Fury posted it on social media yesterday and the pair then had a follow-up phone call.
“He’s always enjoyed the technical aspect of my training,” Steward told me. “That was pretty much the main thing he said he wanted. He doesn’t just want to throw punches, he wants to throw punches correctly; those are actually things I saw from him fighting Wilder the first time as well.
“Currently Tyson is training now, that’s good news for me! I believe we’ll have seven-eight weeks together for Wilder and that will be enough.
“I just think about what Emanuel had to go through; now its my turn. I’m in the game now, happy to be able to perform. I love training, teaching, watching people grow and I’m excited to see Tyson progress through the training camp. He’s always positive with me, a ‘life of the party’ type of guy, so we’ll have a lot of positive energy in camp.”