Tyson Fury has fondly told the story of his time at Emanuel Steward’s legendary Kronk Gym many times over the years.
October marks the tenth anniversary of the sad passing of the famous Hall of Fame coach at his iconic Detroit facility, for which the WBC champion flew to America in search of tuition when he had no only 21 years old.
After finally reuniting with him at the relocated gymnasium, Fury, who was just 12-0 at the time, made an impression on Steward.He was a man who had previously trained heavyweight champions such as Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, and was the trainer of then-champion champion Wladimir Klitschko.
He also cornered Fury’s cousin, Andy Lee, who encouraged him to visit.
Steward’s unique eye for talent allowed him to see champion potential in the young Fury – a potential that would later be realized in glorious fashion.
Tyson couldn’t stay in America because his wife Paris had just given birth to their first child, Venezuela.
But Steward was keen to keep in touch and soon invited him to Austria for a stint at Klitschko’s fight camp.
Steward trained boxing’s greats and they all implored his guidance for title glory
Emanuel took Fury and Lee with him to Wladimir Klitschko’s camp. What happened next is something few people seem to remember.
Klitschko pulled out of his scheduled bout with Derek Chisora due to injury, freeing up Steward to take the lead in Fury’s next fight.
Fury, 33, explained in a WBC Talks forum in 2020: “I had a fight on the Bernard Hopkins undercard against Jean Pascal in Quebec.
“Emanuel was in my corner for this fight.
“He flew in from Austria and went to Quebec on the day of the fight.
“And he walked into the locker room, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, linen pants.
“He didn’t bring any equipment with him, he was like, ‘Where’s my fighter? Where’s my fighter?’
“I’m like, ‘I’m here, Emanuel.’
“He said, ‘Who’s got the mittens? Who has the bandages? Who has the wraps? Who has the scissors?
“It was absolutely hilarious.”
The fight was set up on three weeks notice and Fury was originally scheduled to face Israel Carlos Garcia.
However, the veteran had to withdraw due to the flu and so came American journeyman Zack Page (21-32-2).
With the fight taking place in Canada, this has all gone under the radar.
Fury’s tweet breaking the news at the time was completely ignored – it seemed like no one in the UK was paying much attention.
It would ultimately be their downfall, as history was made on December 18, 2010, with a future champion being guided for just one night by a legendary trainer.
Fury continued, “We went over there and he was around.
“Him being around, it was almost like a confidence booster.
“And the information he gave me was so clear and short to follow, easy to follow.”
The Briton hurt his American foe several times as he won all eight rounds, but the crafty journeyman survived and went the distance.
While the crowd was quiet, waiting for the main event, Steward’s encouraging cries, “let’s go,” could be heard on TV every time Fury landed a clean shot.
Between rounds, the trainer instructed his fighter to use his advantages, keep his distance, and be less predictable.
One specific piece of advice was to throw more uppercuts and catch Page off guard, which Fury successfully applied in the later rounds.
The scorecards read as a unanimous decision win, with the ‘Gypsy King’ winning every round to move to 13-0.
Fury concluded, “After that fight, Emanuel wanted me to go to Detroit and train with him and follow him with his commitments all over the world.
“I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t able to travel the world with Emanuel and be away from my wife and kids at that time.
“So I said, ‘Look, I can’t do this, I have to go home.
“I said, ‘I understand I’m just an upcoming prospect, I know you can’t devote all of your time to me, but I hope that in the future we can work together again and I will one day become heavyweight champion. .’
“And he said, ‘I would love that.
“That was the last time I saw Emanuel Steward.
“He died, may God rest his soul, maybe a year later [on 25 October, 2012].”
Although he was never able to work full-time with Steward, Fury never forgot his brief training at Kronk Gym.
While in Detroit, he also met and trained with Emanuel’s nephew and apprentice, SugarHill Steward.
Nine years later, after parting ways with Ben Davison, Fury named SugarHill as his new coach.
In February 2020, the duo worked together to dethrone Deontay Wilder and claim the WBC heavyweight title, which they then defended a year later in October 2021.
A decade after the story linking their two names began, ‘Fury’ and ‘Steward’ now sit together atop the boxing world, with Oleksandr Usyk perhaps preventing him from being crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion.