Wilder trainer on Fury furore
Luke G. Williams
Alabama-born Jay Deas has trained and managed WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder since the then raw 20-year-old walked into the Skyy Gym in Tuscaloosa in 2005. Deas, a boxing fanatic and former crime reporter, started the gym in 1997 with his brother Tommy. Under Deas’ stewardship, Wilder has progressed from a raw novice to an Olympic bronze medallist and now a world champion.
Boxing Monthly caught up with the affable Deas to get his take on Wilder’s recent ninth-round stoppage victory against Artur Szpilka, Tyson Fury’s ‘ring invasion’ and other happenings in the heavyweight division.
BM: What was your assessment of Deontay’s performance against Szpilka?
JD: I thought Deontay performed well under the circumstances. He was a bit under the weather, fighting a tricky southpaw so he definitely overcame adversity and scored the knockout of the year.
BM: Tyson Fury entered the ring afterwards and we all saw what happened next. Your thoughts?
JD: Well, I knew Tyson Fury didn't travel all the way across the pond to sit in his seat and be quiet. He was there to be seen. It's funny that after beating [Wladimir] Klitschko he dismissed Deontay as a novice basketball player but then he felt the need to travel to New York to be in attendance and provoke Deontay after the fight. I didn't know a novice basketball player could get his blood pressure up in such a way! I would have preferred that he approach Deontay at the press conference after the fight, as Szpilka was seriously injured and we were concerned for his health. I felt Fury's timing was bad. That wasn't the time or place given Szpilka being taken out on a stretcher.
BM: A mandatory against Alexander Povetkin now looms for Deontay. What's your assessment?
JD: Povetkin is a former Olympic gold medalist and has only lost one fight as a professional. He’s also a former world champion and an exceptional fighter. We look forward to the challenge.
BM: Do you have any interest in Deontay fighting recently crowned IBF champion Charles Martin? Or the comebacking David Haye?
JD: Of course, we want to unify the titles, so if that means fighting another southpaw [Martin] so be it. As for Haye, I thought he looked great against [Mark] De Mori. He has put on the extra weight he'll need at heavyweight but done it the right way. It's good weight that didn't compromise his speed. He's just as fast and explosive as ever but bigger and stronger. The division is more interesting with Haye in it so I'm glad he's back.
BM: Finally, you mentioned in an interview before Deontay won the WBC title that you’d follow his lead and get a tattoo once he was world champion. Has that happened yet?
JD: Ha ha! No! I chickened out! No tattoo yet but it may well still happen! Stay tuned!