Trainer SugarHill Steward has played down the importance of Tyson Fury’s slender physique ahead of the undisputed heavyweight title fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

Fury, the WBC champion, and Ukrainian Usyk, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts, meet in Riyadh on Saturday and many have remarked on Fury’s condition this week, noting that he looks leaner than he did in the lead up to his fight with Francis Ngannou last October.

Steward said what Fury weighs is irrelevant and there has certainly been no target weight in mind. 

“I don’t do weights with heavyweights,” said Steward. “Whatever he’s training at and he’s comfortable at, I’m okay with that. People take his body being in a different shape in that he’s lost a lot of weight but he really hasn’t lost a lot of weight, he’s pretty much the same. 

“He’s within five pounds of what he always weighs, it’s just that he’s done different work and his body’s just changed. 

“It’s like if you see me with my shirt off and you see my abs popping all over the place, I may be weighing 180lbs, and then you see me at 180lbs and I haven’t worked out and I look different.”

Steward also laughed off Wednesday’s public workouts, when Usyk – a southpaw – boxed in the orthodox stance – and Fury, a more dominant orthodox fighter, did southpaw pads… With Steward hold pads in the orthodox stance.

Usyk went first at the workout. Asked about the gamesmanship, Steward smiled; “Well, there you go.

“I don’t know, every action has a reaction, maybe. We thought it was pretty funny. It was entertaining. That was about it.”

On a more sobering note, the last time there was an undisputed world heavyweight title fight was almost 25 years ago, and it was between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.

In Lewis’ corner was Emanuel Steward, godfather of the Kronk dynasty and SugarHill is continuing that legacy. Maybe in quiet moments, Steward will allow himself to consider the lineage, but this week he is all business. 

“For me, it’s just get the job done,” he said, when asked about the historical link. “The job needs to be done, for Tyson Fury to win and to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and that’s about what it means to me. I don’t think too much about it, because I have a job to do and anything would maybe make me lose focus on what the real job done, it’s get the job done and do what we’ve been doing.

“Business as usual.

“Every fight’s a big fight. Every fight is the same magnitude, really. We don’t train to do anything less for a fight under this magnitude. Every fight’s the same. It could be anything, but the training and everything else that goes into it is always the same, that way you don’t ever have to get up for it and change how you think about doing it, you just continue to do it at that level, so every fight is that important.”

Fury was criticized for his conditioning against Ngannou last year, but Steward said Fury had been as ready as ever.

“Just as I said, every fight’s the same. That’s just people [talking and criticizing]. That’s not me and it’s not Tyson. It’s people, and they have their own opinions. They can say he didn’t train for the second Deontay Wilder fight or the third fight, it doesn’t really matter. He got the job done.”

Promoter Frank Warren has this week stated many times that the heavyweight champions are at their respective peaks, with 35-year-old Fury and Usyk, 37, never better than they are now.

Steward agrees, and he has plenty of respect for Usyk. 

“I definitely do. He’s the number one fighter. They’re both number one fighters. They both hold numerous titles in the heavyweight division and it’s time to settle it all. Usyk has had a long journey to get to where he’s at, just as Tyson has, and it’s so supposed to happen.

“They’re both at their peaks. They’ve both fought the top guys and here they are. Neither one of them are in a decline. This is the best fight possible that can be made in the world. I don’t know everything about the history of boxing but this feels like one of those times when both fighters are in their prime, both fighters are undefeated champions, and this fight is for everything.”

Steward also, like many, envisions a tactical fight. 

“I expect it to be strategic and then I expect Tyson Fury to break through and to get a stoppage of Oleksandr Usyk,” predicted the coach.

Then, Fury and Usyk are obligated to a rematch, although fight fans still covet the clash between Fury and British rival Joshua.

Steward simply doesn’t mind who is next.

“I don’t really care,” he said. “I don’t care who he fights actually. It’s just I want to train him to go knock somebody out.” 

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