Trainer Ben Davison looks ahead to Tyson Fury-Tom Schwarz, dissects Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr.
They say opposites attract and that’s unquestionably the case with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and trainer Ben Davison.
While Fury is bombast and braggadocio, Davison is mild-manner and modest. While Fury is the very definition of excitable, Davison is the epitome of composure. Both, however, are solid professionals who complement each other extremely well and their union has brought only success.
On Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, their next hurdle will be the unbeaten and largely unknown German Tom Schwarz. The 25-year-old pressure-fighter is unbeaten in 24 fights with 16 knockouts, but he’s never mixed with anything resembling Fury’s level.
“Yeah, he’s okay, typical German-style boxer, but he’s quite light on his feet,” said Davison in an interview with The Ring. “He’s a big lad and he’s coming to Las Vegas to shock the world, and he’ll have seen what Andy Ruiz did last week. You can’t take anyone lightly, especially an undefeated fighter. The biggest quality Tom Schwarz has is he’s a bit of an unknown quantity. He’s never been at this level, and while he could turn up and be a rabbit in the headlights, he could also raise his game.
“We’ll find out on the night, but Tyson has prepared well. Game plans differ and there’s a slightly different game plan for this one. We’ve put an extra few pounds on Tyson, not much, just an extra few pounds. But he’s in phenomenal shape, and sparring-wise he’s the best I’ve ever seen him.”
As Joshua-Ruiz proved definitively, anything can happen in the heavyweight division. While there were those who recognized Ruiz’s overall quality as a fighter, virtually no one gave him a chance of pulling the upset.
Davison didn’t expect to see Joshua succumb to Ruiz either, but the 26-year-old coach has never viewed the former unified heavyweight titleholder as invincible.
“I’m not talking bad about Anthony Joshua, but there was always flaws there and there was always an opportunity for somebody to expose those flaws,” said Davison, who was a nominee for Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year in 2018. “Anybody in the heavyweight division who can punch and has fast hands can exploit elements in Joshua’s game.
“Also, in his last couple of fights, Joshua has been caught between styles. He’s caught between trying to box and trying to fight, and he’s not found the fluidity that’s necessary to go between those styles. We saw it in the (Alexander) Povetkin fight and we just saw it again.”
Joshua had a rematch clause in place and will have the chance to avenge his first professional defeat later in 2019. Many believe it’s just a case of the hard-hitting Englishman turning up to right a wrong, but the advice from Team Fury is to exercise extreme caution and make some changes.
“I’ve heard that they’re taking the rematch which is okay as long as they know what went wrong,” said Davison. “And I’m not talking about, ‘Oh, I should have pushed him back’ or ‘I should have boxed.’ There needs to be specifics and if they specifically understand what went wrong, then it’s okay to take the rematch. If not, I wouldn’t be taking it.
“There are certain elements that need addressed. The problem is that Joshua’s got one style and in the heavyweight division there are such a wide variety of styles, sizes, shapes etc. You need to be able to vary your game in there. I’m not talking about boxing on the front foot or boxing off the backfoot. I’m talking about throwing the jab differently, varying it and doing certain things different. I feel like Joshua has one jab, he has a combination of the week, certain elements that he always reverts back to. He always does the same things no matter who he’s boxing. Sooner or later, someone was gonna exploit that and unfortunately Andy Ruiz did.”
The future in this division is unpredictable. Joshua could blast Ruiz out in 90 seconds and be straight back in Fury’s future. Ruiz might repeat his shock result and send Joshua’s career into a full-on tailspin. But all of that is further down the road.
In the short-term, Fury must get past a huge underdog who will be determined to make a name for himself at his expense. We’ve seen one of the world’s best heavyweights fall from grace. Will we see another fall off his lofty perch?
“I want Tyson to do what he does best – box – and I’m sure that opportunities will arise,” said Davison. “Like I said, we’ve put a couple of extra pounds on him. I expect Tyson to put a little pressure on Tom Schwarz and I think it will be an entertaining night. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I definitely think it’ll be an entertaining night.”
Fury-Schwarz will be broadcast live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and on BT Sport Box Office in the U.K.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for The Ring. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing