Tyson Fury finds focus, solitude training at Big Bear Lake for Wilder fight
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.— For his fight against Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, unbeaten lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury moved his training camp to the solitude of Big Bear Lake.
Big Bear is roughly 100 miles from the STAPLES Center, where Fury will meet Wilder in a Showtime pay-per-view headlining bout for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight crown. Tons of respected champions have headed there over the years to train in the high altitude, from Oscar De La Hoya to Gennady Golovkin. For some fighters, that kind of solitude can be daunting, but for Fury, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered. It has also helped him right his internal clock ahead of the fight.
MORE: Join DAZN and watch more than 80 fight nights a year
“There have been no distractions training up in Big Bear,” Fury told a throng of reporters on Thursday at Churchill Boxing Gym in Santa Monica. “It’s perfect. There’s nothing but a few bears and rattle snakes. That’s it as far as distractions.”
When asked by Sporting News what he has done with any free time he’s had since kicking off camp at the beginning of September, he made it clear that he only has one thing on his mind.
“I don’t have any free time,” Fury said. “When I’m not training, I’m thinking about training. When I’m not thinking about training, I’m sleeping. And when I’m not sleeping, I’m eating. And when I’m not eating, I’m resting, watching TV. I don’t leave Big Bear.”
Fury questioned — at least for a moment — whether or not the move to Big Bear was really what he needed.
“I went down the mountain to [nearby town] Ontario last week just to check everything was going right because I was feeling very tired in the gym,” Fury said. “I’m thinking, ‘Is this really for me? Do I need this?’ So, I went down to Ontario to sea level and I was very fast and very fit.”
When he faced the biggest challenge of his career in Wladimir Klitschko three years ago, he also prepared in isolation. This is nothing new to the Gypsy King.
“I’m used to being in hostile, solitary environments for training camp,” Fury said. “For the Wladimir Klitschko fight, I was in Holland, in a forest 10 miles away from any shop or town. I thrive in the condition in Big Bear.”
One thing for certain is we’ve never seen a heavyweight title fight of this caliber between two guys that are this big. At 6-9, Fury has a two-inch height advantage over Wilder, who is listed at 6-7. Former titleholder Nikolay Valuev stood at 7-0 during his brief reign, but never had anything close to the technical skills of Fury or Wilder, nor did he ever face anyone remotely as tall as him during that span.
“Me being me, I don’t believe that anyone’s ever fought like this before,” Fury said. “One six-foot-seven and one six-foot-nine guy, both unbeaten, have never fought in the heavyweight division. It’s been a long time since we’ve had the WBC championship of the world back in the U.K. Frank Bruno back in the 90s, and Lennox Lewis. It’s been over a decade.”
Fury is already on weight for the fight, as he’s hovering around 260 pounds. He looked sharp as he worked out for the media in Santa Monica, wearing a pair of men’s underwear that raises money for research to fight testicular cancer.
@bendavison_ @mtkglobal @wbcboxing @btsport
A post shared by Tyson Fury (@gypsyking101) on
“This is the first time in me whole career where I didn’t have to worry about weight and it wasn’t a fat loss camp,” Fury told Sporting News. “This time it’s been about focusing, practicing me game, working on the game plans, working on the strength and conditioning rather than just losing weight. Ninety percent of the time — even the Klitschko fight — I lost over 120 pounds for that fight and then fought. I’ve never really been into a fight without having to lose 100 pounds, 80 pounds. So, no one has ever seen the best of Tyson Fury because I’ve always had to lose a man before the fight.”
When Fury beat Klitschko back in November 2015, he reached the top of the mountain. It’s been no secret that he’s faced a litany of difficulties outside the ring since then. After conquering Klitschko, he found himself unsatisfied and unhappy the way many people do when they achieve what they thought was their dreams. When the achievement doesn’t all of a sudden make them fulfilled, they hit rock bottom.
Fury was diagnosed as bi-polar and manic depressive and resorted to heavy drinking and drug use, which torpedoed both his boxing career and home life for a time being. He’s pulled himself out of that rut for the time being, long enough to get a couple of tune-ups to set up this massive payday against Wilder. He has turned himself into a champion of mental health awareness, using his platform whenever he can to draw attention to the issue.
“I’m like an official unofficial ambassador for mental health in sports,” Fury told Sporting News. “If it’s alright for me to say, the 6-9 heavyweight champion of the world, then anybody can come out about mental health problems. There’s help around the corner and it will get better, and I stand for that. I fight for those people.”
Fury added that he has relied on the power of religion to help him through his struggles. It has been an amazing turnaround for a guy who said later on Joe Rogan’s podcast that he “gave up on life” in 2016 during his time away from the sport.
“I have the most powerful thing on my side in history,” he said. “It’s better than anything for me.”
I asked him what happens if he wins and doesn’t feel fulfillment afterward. He wouldn’t rule out hanging up the gloves at that point.
“That’s a good question and a question that I’m not really — I don’t look past Deontay Wilder, I’m only interested in Deontay Wilder,” he said. “How I feel about Deontay Wilder fight, I just want to win that fight. I might retire afterwards, I don’t know. Because I only raise to the occasions on the night.”
Source: Read Full Article