Tyson Fury forced a sparring partner to quit during his first ever session under SugarHill Steward, who would go on to coach him back to world title glory.
The Brit arrived at the Kronk Gym in 2010 after a recommendation from his cousin Andy Lee, with a buzz being created about the 6’9″ heavyweight with a loud mouth who was coming to the historic gym. Fury had just a handful of professional bouts to his name, but carried a lot of buzz internally in boxing.
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He travelled to Detroit to train under Emmanuel Steward, but the legendary coach was otherwise engaged and his nephew SugarHill oversaw his workout instead. Fury took part in some warm-up exercises before getting in the ring for a spar, and forcing his opponent to quit during a bruising session.
“They told me there’s this big white boy in the gym talking about he’s going to be the next heavyweight champ,” Steward told Boxing King Media. “And I just kept working like ‘okay.’ I was introduced to him and he told me who he was, and he mentioned Andy Lee. Andy Lee was like a brother to me.
“I told him to go ahead and change and start working out, and I was watching him work out and he had exceptional movement [and] athleticism for a man of that size. For me it was like ‘alright that’s pretty good’. Where I’m from I’ve seen people come in and hit the bag and look brilliant, but let’s see how you do when you box. So he had his first chance to spar, and that was his last chance to spar too because who he was sparring didn’t want to spar anymore. And that’s history.”
Emmanuel Steward had worked with some of the greatest fighters in boxing including Wladimir Klitschko and Lee himself, and even trained Fury for one professional fight against Zack Page in Canada. But the relationship didn’t last, and ultimately they went their separate ways.
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However, the two families would come together again a decade later when Fury decided to switch up his training camp and change styles from a fluid-moving boxer to the heavy-hitting knockout puncher he is now. Having won the world heavyweight title from Steward’s former charge Klitschko, Fury launched a stunning comeback under Ben Davison in 2018
Unfortunately, the duo were prevented from winning world honours together by a dodgy decision in California when Fury fought Deontay Wilder for the WBC title that December. They stuck together for two more fights in 2019, but the Manchester native opted to go for a different style in his rematch with the American and brought in SugarHill Steward to change things up.
Fury stunned fans and experts alike as he walked Wilder down, pressured him and ultimately stopped his rival in their 2020 rematch. They had a trilogy last year which Fury also won by stoppage, before he handily took care of Dillian Whyte in his most recent mandatory defence, both also under Steward’s coaching.