Nicholas Asberry Exposes Tyson Fury Sparring Gloves With No Padding

The Tyson Fury camp in November 2018 was a preparation for his fight with Deontay Wilder. I was there after being asked to join  British Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie there.

There were several sparring partners there. Lawrence, the guy Team Fury expected to  have their way with in Sparring due to his reputation as being a novice boxer mentally & stylistically, quickly became the main sparring partner. The reason being is because he was Fury’s most cerebral challenge from day one of camp. This is because Lawrence was operating during sparring, heavily under the infuence of the training system A Million Styles Boxing.

Ben Phillips who was there to spar trainer Ben Davison’s student Issac Lowe would later state in an interview with JMU Journalism Liverpool “Brian has been working with world-renowned trainers such as Freddie Roach and Abel Sanchez” and discussed how working with these boxing legends has been helping him

He told JMU Journalism: “It’s good to learn and listen from them all but one of the main men who stands out for me is Barry Robinson, who is working with Lawrence Okolie. He has been teaching a new way I’ve never seen and it’s helped me massively.”

From the first day of sparring Lawrence always wore 20 ounce sparring gloves typical in Heavyweight sparring for protection of both athletes. In addition to that precaution Timothy Allcock the manager for Team Fury would sprint towards us prior to sparring to ensure I put a quarter jar of Vaseline on both of Lawrence’s gloves. In a rookie move I never bothered to check Team Fury gloves. Also given the level of the camp & teams that were there I assumed everything was being done with class and safety in mind.

Nearly two weeks of sparring went by when the subject of this blog entry reared its ugly head.

On a non-sparring day, I really wanted to have Lawrence go through some A Million Styles Boxing Rudiments. Since sparring was cancelled that Wednesday I decided to take Lawrence to the gym Tuesday night to drill. Nicholas joined us. After we all finished training Nicholas went into the changing area to change his clothes. Note, Nicholas who had sparred Fury at a camp prior to this camp kept saying consistently for 2 weeks he couldn’t believe how hard Tyson was punching. He said in other camps Tyson’s power was nothing like this camp. Lawrence & I thought nothing of it because Tyson couldnt hit Lawrence to save his life this camp.

Nicholas emerged from the changing area irate. He was steaming mad. He produced Fury’s gloves from the changing area and exhibited how there was very clearly no padding in them. I was very disappointed in this moment. Why? I gave Lawrence a huge lecture before we started camp about being professional, being on time, being the first to the gym, and the last to leave. Up to that point Lawrence had performed admirably as a student and inside of the ring as a “novice” sparring partner. Lawrence performed so well Team Fury often argued with each other openly about their vision for the upcoming fight with Wilder.

I did my best to explain to Team Fury that their desire for Fury to throw 100 punches a sparring round in this particular camp in preparation for a fight with Deontay Wilder was in fact a very flawed approach. That would be giving Wilder way too many opportunities to punch back. I told them and Fury keep the punch counts low on fight night as its easier to defend ten Wilder punches a round than having to defend 30-50.

After seeing the gloves Nicholas stumbled upon in the changing room it was clear that Team Fury had some very low IQ boxing minds on his team. I know that because I regularly out coached Ben Davison, Freddie Roach and whomever else was in Fury’s corner during sparring. I did this with a “novice and inexperienced” boxer. We also know Team Fury’s collective boxing IQ was low because they thought that beating up sparring partners with loaded gloves creating a false sense of confidence in Tyson was the best way for him to gain confidence going into his fight with Wilder. Why would anyone dumb down one of the most mentally and physically agile fighters of all time?

This glove situation was so disappointing. As a young coach I always expect to learn something new at camps like this and instead I learn that no one cares about boxing actually; especially those with a platform. I was also mad, however we still had a week and a half left of training to go. Nicholas was even more mad I can imagine because he was getting hit in sparring. Like I said from day 1 he noted repeatedly how “strong” Tyson had gotten compared to his previous sparring sessions with him.

Nicholas decided to leave camp the next day, which he did. Lawrence and I made plans of our own – we were going to take Team Fury to school even worse than we’d been doing so far in this camp. The next sparring day there was an awkward energy in the air. I was pissed that they’d been cheating this entire time while ensuring that I was putting tons of Vaseline on Lawrence’s 20oz gloves. I was also pissed that here I am & Lawrence, nobodies in comparison to the coaches in Team Fury’s corner, Fury himself, they brought Lawrence there to whoop his ass and they thought they were going to do it with loaded gloves.

The next sparring day Fury’s manager approaches me with a new pair of gloves in plastic in his hands. He never mentioned the glove drama. He was just saying good morning and how are things etc. ensuring that these new gloves were in my plain sight. Tyson got ready for sparring. Due to Nicholas leaving we were down to two sparring partners. No one made a mention of the gloves Nicholas found or his decision to leave camp. It was as if it never happened. Tyson ready for sparring and in the ring was pumping himself up saying today he was taking the sparring partners to school. That wasn’t happening. Not on my watch. Him and his team were gonna get controlled even worse this day. Sparring started, Lawrence completely dictating the sparring, and I finally broke. I kept calling out commands & positions simultaneousy saying “We did it the right way!” It was uncomfortable in the room. Ben came to me in the corner during sparring, gave me a hug, apologized, and asked me to settle down.

That was the end of that.

Team Fury learned a huge lesson this camp. I believe how Fury fought Wilder was a direct result of how Lawrence sparred him. It woke up Coach Ben & Fury that boxing smart wins fights. Period.

Barry Robinson, Lawrence Okolie, Tyson Fury, Johnathan Rice, Nicholas Asberry