Trainer SugarHill Steward explains how fundamentals, handed down through generations of the famous Kronk Gym, helped Tyson Fury to bully Deontay Wilder in their rematch
SugarHill Steward has revealed the Kronk tradition that helped Tyson Fury to his famous rematch victory over the previously unbeaten Deontay Wilder last month. Big-punching Wilder had dropped Fury twice in their first contest in December 2018 and was still considered rather fortunate to leave with a draw and his WBC heavyweight title. For the rematch, the "Gypsy King" was keen not to leave the result in the hands of the judges once again and enlisted SugarHill, nephew and protege of the legendary Emanuel Steward, with whom Tyson had previously worked, to assist him in achieving a more potent conclusion.
"Tyson had discussed with me that he got a draw the first time and he wants to make sure he beats him, and I said, ‘Well shit, the only way for-sure way he’s gonna beat him is to get a knockout," SugarHill told me from Detroit earlier this week. The full conversation can be heard in the video below this article. "So that’s the plan, to get a knockout then.
"It’s balance, make some adjustments with his balance. People say that you can’t really teach punching power and I stand top correct them, unless I’m the only one that knows how to teach it! There are some basic fundamentals to punching power that I learned, from Emanuel."
Throughout his career, Fury had been celebrated for his mobility, handspeed and defensive nous, but rarely his punching power. In fact, a criticism that had dogged Tyson since his amateur days had been that his power failed to commensurately reflect his immense height, reach and weight. Some of this can of course be attributed to the fact that Fury often threw his long power shots when on the move, so rarely truly sitting down on his punches.
Working with Steward, who had aided his uncle and mentor in improving other lofty, rangy fighters like Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, bore fruit in the Wilder rematch. Fury dominated off the front foot, making the most of his physical advantages and ultimately forcing a retirement stoppage in round seven.
"Hit him on the chin, knock him out," SugarHill explained of their strategy. "Throw the right hand with some force. Throw the right hand the Kronk style, that’s how Tommy Hearns threw the right hand, Milton McCrory, Jimmy Paul, that’s the big weapon at Kronk. Everybody from Kronk wanted to throw that big right hand and get a knockout, and that’s what was instilled into Tyson."
Clearly it worked and you can hear more about the stunning victory, from the trainer himself, below.