Tyson Fury has fondly recounted the story of his time at Emanuel Steward’s Kronk Gym on multiple occasions in recent years.
Ten years ago, aged just 21, Britain’s ‘Gypsy King’ flew to America in search of tuition from the legendary trainer at his iconic Detroit facility.
After eventually tracking him down at the relocated gym, Fury, who was just 12-0 at the time, made quite the impression on Steward.
The Hall of Famer had previously coached heavyweight champions such as Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, and was trainer to the current title-holder at the time, 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 – potential that would later be realised in glorious fashion.
Tyson could not stay in America as his wife Paris had just given birth to their first child, Venezuela.
But Steward was keen to keep contact and soon invited him out to Austria for a period in Klitschko’s fight camp.
What happened next is something not many people seem to remember.
Klitschko pulled out of his planned fight with Derek Chisora due to an injury, freeing Steward up to take the lead for Fury’s next bout.
Fury explained in a recent WBC Talks forum: “I had a fight come up on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs Jean Pascal in Quebec City.
“Emanuel was in my corner for that fight.
“He flew in from Austria and he flew in to Quebec City on the day of the fight.
“And he came into the changing room, he had a Hawaiian shirt on, a pair of linen trousers.
“He didn’t bring no gear with him at all, he was like, ‘Where’s my fighter? Where’s my fighter?’
“I’m like, ‘I’m here Emanuel.’
“He said: ‘Who’s got the mits? Who’s got the bandages? Who’s got the wraps? Who’s got the scissors?’
“It was absolutely hilarious.”
The fight was put together at three weeks’ notice and Fury was initially due to face Israel Carlos Garcia.
However, the veteran had to pull out due to flu and so in came American journeyman Zack Page (21-32-2).
With the bout happening in Canada, this all went under the radar.
Fury’s tweet announcing the news at the time went completely ignored – it seemed nobody back home in the UK was paying much attention.
It would ultimately be their loss, as history was made on December 18, 2010, with a future champion being guided for one night only by a legendary coach.
Fury continued: “We went out there and he was in the corner.
“Him being in the corner, it was almost like a confidence booster.
“And the information that he gave me was so crystal clear and short to follow, easy to follow.”
The Brit hurt his American foe on several occasions as he won all eight rounds, but the wily journeyman survived and went the distance.
With the crowd quiet, waiting for the main event, Steward’s encouraging shouts of, ‘there ya go,’ could be heard on TV broadcast whenever Fury landed a crisp jab.
In between rounds, the trainer instructed his fighter to use his advantages, keep rangy and be less predictable.
One specific piece of advice was to launch more uppercuts and catch Page off guard, which Fury applied successfully in the later rounds.
The scorecards were read out as a unanimous decision victory 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 around with his commitments all over the world.
“I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t in the position to travel up and down the world with Emanuel and be away from my wife and kids at that time.
“So I said, ‘Listen, I can’t do this, I have to go back home.’
“I said, ‘I understand I’m only a prospect coming up, I know you can’t put your full time into me, but hopefully in the future we’ll get to work together again and I will become heavyweight champion one day.’
“And he said, ‘I’d love that.’
“That was the last time I saw Emanuel Steward.
“He passed away, God rest his soul, maybe a year later.”
Although he never was able to work full time with Steward, Fury never forgot his brief Kronk Gym education.
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 appointed SugarHill as his new coach.
On February 22, the pair worked together to dethrone Deontay Wilder and claim the WBC heavyweight title.
A decade after the story linking their two names began, ‘Fury’ and ‘Steward’ now sit together at the top of the boxing world.