LOS ANGELES — In preparation for his heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder next month, former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has moved his camp from Big Bear, Calif. to Hollywood and Freddie Roach’s famed Wild Card gym. On December 1st, Fury will enlist Roach’s help once again: Roach will serves as an advisor and cut man for Fury against Wilder.
“He asked me if I’d work in his corner,” Roach told SI.com. “He asked me if I could do cuts. I said, ‘Yeah, I have guys better than me though.’ He said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’ And I said, ‘Of course I do—I have everything you need.’ So I’m the cut man.”
Since Fury migrated to L.A. earlier this month, Roach has been a constant presence in his training sessions. Roach works the mitts with Fury in the ring, assisting Fury’s trainer, Ben Davison.
Roach didn’t know Fury before Fury asked to use his gym to train, but says he is impressed with him.
“I like him—he’s very positive and he has a good idea of how he is going to win this fight,” Roach said. “He’s got good legs, he feints well. He’s a talented guy.”
Fury ended a nearly three-year layoff over the summer, taking two low-level fights before accepting the fight with Wilder, a reigning titleholder and one of the biggest punchers in boxing. Fury has worked himself into the best shape he has been in since his signature win, a decision over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 that ended Klitschko’s decade-long dominance of the heavyweight division. Team members says Fury is weighing around 250 pounds, with an eye on shedding a few more before Dec. 1.
And while Fury is an underdog against Wilder, Roach says there is a path to victory for the lineal champ.
“I think he has the ability to outbox [Wilder],” Roach said. “He can’t outpunch him. If he tries to slug with him, he’ll get caught. But he’s a good boxer and he has good legs and I think he can box for 12 rounds without any problem whatsoever. He seems to be in very good condition. Boxing here, he has gone up to 12 rounds a couple of times.”
“His best asset is his sight. He sees what’s happening in there. He’s not going to get hit with a right hand out of left field. I like him in this fight a lot. I think he has a great game plan to win this fight.”
The most well known trainer in boxing, Roach routinely works with experienced cut men for bigger fights. But he says he regularly acts as the cut man for his younger fighters and learned the skills needed from his former trainer and mentor, Eddie Futch.
“If [Fury] gets cut, it’s no problem,” Roach said. “That cut won’t be a factor.”