Boxing News At Five | Sep 13 2019

Boxing News at Five: Fury drank four beers night before Wilder fight, McCracken clarifies Joshua concussion quotes, ‘The White Rhino’ takes a time-out

Tyson Fury has made changes and is taking things seriously, Rob McCracken says 'concussion' might have been the wrong word, and Dave Allen takes a break
Dave Allen
Kell Brook Public Work-Out  |  Action Images

TYSON FURY claims he is a changed man.

Admittedly, he won’t have needed to make many ahead of a routine fight against Sweden’s Otto Wallin this Saturday (September 14), but he has made some changes anyway and says the long-term aim it to stay healthy and out of trouble.

“I have changed my lifestyle. I have a new lease of life and it is training, eating well, sleeping well, drinking well and enjoying day-by-day as it comes,” he said. “My long-term plan is to keep healthy and stay out of trouble by being a good boy.”

Staying out of trouble should be easy enough this weekend in Las Vegas, for Wallin unfortunately seems overmatched in the same way Fury’s last opponent, Tom Schwarz, seemed overmatched.

Going forward, though, when the prospect of a rematch against Deontay Wilder becomes a reality, Fury, 28-0-1 (20), will need to be closer to his best to avoid suffering a first professional loss.

Unlike last time, he presumably won’t be drinking four pints of beer the night before.

“I drink beer while I’m at training camp and had four pints of beer before the Wilder fight, the night before,” he told SecondsOut. “Didn’t do me any harm, did it?”

Later asked about this incident, Fury’s trainer Ben Davison confirmed it was true.

“He’s not lying,” Davison said. “When I came down, I was like, ‘What the f*** is this?’ He (Fury) was like, ‘They’re non-alcoholic.’

“I found out two days later that they weren’t non-alcoholic.”

Similarly, back in June it took us two rounds to realise fights against the likes of Tom Schwarz were, for a heavyweight as talented as Fury, non-competitive and pointless.

Let’s hope Otto Wallin can offer the ‘Gypsy King’ a bit more in Sin City this Saturday.

Tyson Fury
Fury proved an awkward puzzle for Wilder in December

It’s bizarre to think it requires one, but Rob McCracken’s comments regarding Anthony Joshua and a concussion suffered during his June 1 loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr have today been clarified by an explanation, as well as a statement from GB Boxing.

Presumably aimed at the general public rather than the boxing fraternity, the statements are designed to soften the apparently shocking blow experienced by those led to believe taking punches to the skull was a concussion-free activity.

“In professional boxing, fighters inevitably take punches and have difficult rounds and when they come back to the corner it is your job as a coach to make a quick assessment of the situation,” said McCracken. “There is no formal concussion protocol where the doctor steps in to assess the boxer so you have to use your experience as a coach and your knowledge of the person to make a decision on whether you think they can recover.

“I have had this a number of times in my career in professional boxing where boxers have recovered from a difficult round to go on and win the fight. I have also pulled boxers out of fights because I knew it was not in their interests to continue.

“I am not a doctor and it may be that ‘concussed; is not the right term to have used but the health of all the boxers I work with is of paramount importance to me and I have always used my judgement and experience to do what is right for them.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for GB Boxing said:

“Ensuring we deliver a duty of care and protect the physical and mental health of the boxers is central to the way that Rob McCracken has led the world-class programme for boxing over the last 10 years. Under Rob’s leadership we have an extensive medical team, which includes three doctors, that are available to the boxers during training and throughout competitions.

“As a coach and Performance Director, Rob is widely respected in boxing and across the UK’s high-performance system and anyone who has ever seen him work knows that he has the best interests of the boxers at heart. Rob is interested in every aspect of the boxers’ careers and personal development and the quality of his relationships with the boxers and the respect they have for him is one of the major reasons why boxers want to be part of the GB Boxing squad and why it has been so successful in recent years.”

As mentioned yesterday, boxing becomes a wildly different sport if the scaremongering surrounding in-fight concussions gathers pace and coaches, like McCracken, are held accountable for not reacting when a fighter shows signs of punches having affected their brain.

It’s boxing, it happens; it’s part of the so-called game. To flag it up now, or to get on McCracken’s back for speaking honestly about an issue commonplace in most fights, is to miss the point entirely.

Joshua vs Ruiz
Joshua fell apart on June 1

Doncaster heavyweight Dave Allen has always found his popularity to be both a blessing and a curse.

He is popular due to his refreshing and unusual honesty and his popularity, in turn, has landed him the kind opportunities beyond the reach of peers unable to cultivate a fan base and grab attention the same way. So far, so good.

The downside to this approach, however, can be seen in fights against the likes of Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte and Tony Yoka and David Price. The downside is that Allen has often been given opportunities – read: thrown into fights – for which he is not exactly prepared and has unfortunately paid the price for his popularity.

His honesty, too, is a double-edged sword. It can be endearing at times, and certainly makes him a compelling figure in British boxing. Yet the flipside is that it also leaves him open to criticism when things don’t go his way and means he is an open book, stained, dog-eared pages and all, when he would be better served taking a break and keeping himself to himself.

Based on recent developments, it appears Allen has cottoned on. Yesterday he removed his Twitter account and later released a statement on Instagram informing his followers he had also been pulled from a proposed slot on an October 19 Matchroom card headlined by Robbie Davies Jnr vs. Lewis Ritson and Ted Cheeseman vs. Scott Fitzgerald.

“I will not be fighting October 19th,” Allen, 17-5-2 (14) wrote on Instagram. “My frame of mind is not one I believe I can (use to) put together any kind of training camp for this fight and, ultimately, physically I am not feeling ready to compete (on) October 19th and, at the moment, even beyond that. But I will cross that bridge when it comes to it.

“I made and make comments all the time that people will question and furthermore blow up to create headlines or drama. But, for me, they’re just how I feel and the norm.

“I will be taking some time off social media and spending time back in the real world as I feel this is something I have needed to do for a long time. I don’t have the want or the need for anyone’s sympathy, hatred or anything in between. I will be back, I always am, but I’m going to be David for a while. The ‘White Rhino’ is tired.”

Coming as it does less than two months after he was stopped in 10 rounds by the heavy-handed David Price, this could end up being the most sensible move Allen has made for some time. Check his record. Check his opponents. Appreciate his lack of experience. It’s then you’ll realise Dave Allen has earned – and desperately needs – some time out.

The focus now should be on the man, not the character.

Dave Allen
Allen won’t be punching for a while (Action Images/Reuters/Ed Sykes)