Analytics in sport has been on the rise over the last 20 years. However, Tyson Fury does not believe in its place in boxing.
The popularisation of analytics in sports first grew in Baseball, when Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane was able to break league records with, by far, the smallest budget in the league. Beane used a form of analytics called sabermetrics to evaluate and identify undervalued players to bring in to the team in order to create a winning formula amongst a team.
Beane also became co-owner of Barnsley FC in 2018, just two years later, using sabermetrics, he helped put together the youngest squad and one of the smallest budgets in the Championship, finishing in fifth place and making it to the play-offs for the first-time in 24 years.
The Oakland Athletics were the only known team to use analytics to make on-field decisions at the time. Fast-forward to today, almost every team in world sport is heavily reliant on using forms of data.
In recent years, analytical metrics are said to have been available to boxing coaches, with Anthony Joshua said to be a proponent of using the available data to improve his overall performance level.
WBC heavyweight champion of the world Fury, however, is not convinced.
Speaking on Instagram live, Fury was open in his dismissal of analytics in boxing, as he made the point that numbers on a screen can’t help you win in the ring.
Fury explained: “In boxing, computer science and technology – I personally do not think works.
“You take me for instance, I am far, bald, people say I am out of shape – I do not do any of that b******* with computers, numbers on a screen and all that stuff.
“But yet, I always win. So it obviously means f*** all.”
Fury even cited a fight which he believes show that analytics would be useless in determining the outcome of.
He added: “You look at Anthony Joshua who follows all of those numbers on a screen and whatnot, and then you look at Andy Ruiz who eat nothing but Snickers for two weeks – Ruiz went in there and knocked him out.
“There’s a lot of stuff to say that all those numbers don’t work.”
Whilst Fury and Ruiz’ respective fighting weights may suggest that they could be in better shape, which ultimately may have put them both in better positions to win certain fights, it’s fair to say that anything can happen in heavyweight boxing.
Fury’s intangible boxing skills have undoubtedly allowed him to dominate his opponents throughout his career – whilst arguably fighting at a larger than optimal weight for his size.
Fury has certainly implemented a more laid back approach to his off-season, and even pre-camp training sessions.
Whilst he does seemingly continue to train in the gym with no fight in the works, the Gypsy King is happy to put on a few pounds before getting back down to a comfortable fight weight – which last saw him fight at his heaviest of 277lbs.
Fury’s ability to remain that athletic at 277 lbs clearly demonstrate how unique of a boxer, and athlete, that he truly is.
However, whether this would be his optimal fighting weight could be debated.