Inside the ring and outside the ring, Tyson Fury’s fight with Deontay Wilder is all about balance. As he gears up for Saturday night’s rematch in Las Vegas, keeping things level is of the utmost importance.
After much-publicised battles with his mental health, Fury appears in peak condition in both body and mind. Subtle changes to his preparations appear to have helped - the biggest switch came with his trainers, swapping Ben Davison for Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward, nephew of legendary Kronk trainer and former Fury tutor, Emanuel Steward.
Last time out, in December 2018, the first Fury v Wilder bout ended as a controversial split decision draw. Now, the Manchester-born fighter is leaving nothing to chance and is looking for any advantage possible. Calmer and more thoughtful, he’s focused and ready, having learned from the previous bout. He’s taken steps to block everything out, the fight is the only thing he is thinking about.
“Basically I've shut out the outside world,” he told the Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell in the build-up to the fight. “Only my wife, my dad and my brothers have been allowed to call me.'
“I did good in the first fight with Wilder and believe I won it despite the two knock-downs. People said if it's not broke don't fix it but I don't want this second one to end up with the judges.
“SugarHill's not been asked to change anything, only to add other elements. To get the knock-out - and I have had recurring dreams of doing that in the second round - it's not more power I need as some are saying but better balance.
“I've always had this God-given athleticism and mobility but while that herky jerky movement puts opponents off I don't only want to make 'em miss I want to make 'em miss and make 'em pay. This time I will be balanced and set to make Deontay pay when he misses, by taking off his lips.”
Having overcome incredible odds to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in 2015, he later struggled. Struggled with demons, struggled with depression. Five years later, he seems to be in the best place, having found a healthy balance between training and his life away from boxing. He is addicted to beating Wilder and that new focus has helped him.
The Gypsy King fought to a stalemate with Wilder. This 2020 vintage is fitter, bolder and things are clear. He’s going all out to win.
"If he were to have all the success in the world and go back to the mentality of a couple of years ago, the success would mean nothing to me," his former trainer Davison told BBC Sport last year.
It’s been so important for Fury to be as healthy in the ring as out of it but now, it seems he’s finally found the balance to continue his success.