The mastermind who plotted Deontay Wilder’s downfall, Tyson Fury’s trainer Sugarhill Steward, sizes up a potential fight against Anthony Joshua.
But what tactics would Steward and Fury use for the dream undisputed heavyweight championship fight against Joshua?
Steward explains the philosophy of his Detroit-based Kronk Gym…
Would Fury use the same game-plan to face Joshua as he did to defeat Deontay Wilder?
Steward told Sky Sports: Probably so. Why do anything different? This is what I believe in wholeheartedly, the Kronk style. So many guys have won with that style. It is a proven method over decades and thousands of successful fights, it isn’t just something that has been made up.
We will find out when that fight is made.
Nobody has to believe us. It isn’t about talking, it’s about actions.
Joshua is far bigger and heavier than Wilder. Would Fury need to use more than just size?
Steward: Definitely. Tyson is intelligent. Now learning something different, he knows what to do.
Describe Joshua as a fighter…
Steward: He is a big, strong, intelligent, talented fighter. Very co-ordinated and strong with great will and determination. He can punch with both hands.
Joshua is one of the other big superstars of boxing but, the only way to truly tell, is for those two guys to fight.
Can Fury improve even from a career-best performance against Wilder?
Steward: Every fight with Tyson excites me because I haven’t finished teaching him. There is so much more he needs to learn.
I only touched on a little bit. I only emphasised the most important things needed for [the Wilder fight]. The focus was only on Wilder.
Every fight now is exciting even though I am now contemplating retirement.
Emanuel Steward and the Kronk gym
Hall of Fame trainer ‘Manny’, Sugarhill’s uncle, trained 41 world champions from his Detroit base including middleweight legend Thomas Hearns. He later reinvented Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko into dominant heavyweight champions whose physical dimensions were a key part of their skill-set – similar to how Fury dethroned Wilder. Emanuel Steward died in 2012.
What is the basic philosophy of the style you teach?
Steward: Learn your basic fundamentals. Not so exciting, is it? But it is interesting. The things Emanuel [Steward] taught were not glamorous and do not get attention like fancy pad-work, because it is so basic.
When you see a new Lamborghini you don’t pay attention to how perfectly round the wheels are because it is basic. But the wheels need to be perfectly round.
The coaches forget this, it is their responsibility. You can’t blame the fighters who hire someone but are not helped to the best that they should be.
Did Fury’s performance against Wilder remind you of Kronk legends?
Steward: I saw things that I’ve seen in other fighters. The way he scooted towards Wilder with so much pressure, like Tommy Hearns did. I can only imagine how Wilder felt.
During the camp I told Tyson: ‘The most important thing is that, when you start stepping to him, I want to see a look on Wilder’s face and the faces of his team’. Pay attention to how they look when Fury is big and strong, not like a wet mop.
I was told that Wilder’s corner was quiet. That was what I expected. That was the plan.
Did you and Fury gel immediately?
Steward: The things I explained were the things that he wanted. I remember one day in training I told him: ‘If you can do this, you will knock Wilder out, he cannot take this’.
The second or third week of camp, Tyson said: ‘I understand. I’m the biggest, strongest guy in the division so I want to fight like it’.
That was the first time he really said it, and felt it.
He was burning energy with all that other stuff, and realised he could do things differently and better. That wasn’t how he should be fighting with his god-given size and talent.
He needed to be a big dominant force. And that’s what you saw.
I’ve never been the type of boxer to sit down on my punches. When I made the decision to move away from Ben Davison I did it for a reason. Everyone said it was a bad move. It worked out. I believe in Sugarhill and the style he teaches
How much sparring was needed before Fury’s game-plan was perfected?
Steward : He was ready three weeks before the fight. At the start of camp I said: ‘He will be ready in four weeks’.
People do eight-week camps these days because they need to lose weight. A camp only needs to be four weeks.
Would Emanuel have been proud of this victory?
Steward: This is exactly how Emanuel would have wanted the fight to play out. The same game-plan. I was raised by Emanuel, he was like my father and I was like his son.
He drilled me without me even knowing. He was ahead of his time. I laugh now – he was training me for my whole life, but I didn’t know.
Definitely, this victory is for him. I still get sentimental.
What is the deeper significance of Fury’s win against Wilder?
Steward: This does a lot for people suffering from depression and anxiety. This does a lot for so many people.
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