Photo via Walt Harris's Instagram

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder’s common link is UFC heavyweight Walt Harris

Tonight, one of boxing’s most anticipated heavyweight title fights of the past decade graces the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Sensational knockout artist Deontay Wilder (40-0) faces his toughest test to date in the always entertaining Tyson Fury (27-0). The two behemoths have had their fair share of name-calling, physical altercations, and verbal exchanges. Much has been said, and now after months of anticipation, the two big men will finally have the chance to back up all of their talk.

While the come-from-nothing kid from Alabama and the brash Northern Ireland native differ quite a bit from one another, they do share a common link. Both fighters have trained fairly extensively with UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.

Both Harris and Wilder are both Alabamans, with the UFC veteran helping with the WBC Heavyweight Champion’s camps numerous times throughout his career. Most recently, Harris spent time sparring with Wilder for his clash with Luis Ortiz back in March.

As for the connection to Tyson Fury, a mutual friend linked “The Big Ticket” up with the “The Gypsy King” this past summer.

Here, UFC heavyweight Walt Harris explains his relationship with both men, the skills they possess, and how he sees the two of them matching up.


Walt Harris on…

Traveling to train with Tyson Fury:

“My good friend Fred Weaver, he actually gave me the link to Tyson [Fury]’s camp. Then Tyson’s coach, Ben [Davison] reached out to me on Instagram and said he wanted me to come over and help him get ready for his fight. So I was like, ‘Of course, why not? I’d love to try to train with the best and learn with the best.’ So I flew over there and was over there for about a month. I actually was originally supposed to be there for two weeks, but they were so impressed with the work I was doing, they let me stay an extra week or two weeks. So I just got to sit in and be a fly on the wall for a high level boxer. I got to pick their brains and add things to my game. It was just an amazing experience. And I’ve never been to the UK, so I got to cross that off the bucket list. It was awesome.

Longtime pal Deontay Wilder

“I actually helped helped [Deontay] get ready for his fight with Ortiz. I know D really well. He’s a great guy — they actually both are outside of the ring. So that’s also what makes it hard for me to lean one way. I’ve been hit by Deontay, and I have to tell you, I’ve never been hit harder by another grown man. It’s going to be fun to watch man. You have no idea.”

The event:

“I was actually supposed to be there, before I got the [Andrei Arlovski] fight. Tyson’s team got me tickets and a hotel, but I got the fight with Andrei. So I had to tell them I can’t. I’ll be watching and rooting on TV. Of course I want the hometown boy Deontay to get the win, but if he doesn’t the better man got the win. I’ll be happy for him as well, especially with what he’s been through. I got to meet him and get close to his dad. I kind of know his story. I’ll be happy either way. It’s good for boxing is what it is.”


The Skinny:

“So here’s the dilemma. I’ve trained with D for years and I’ve been in there with Tyson. I have to take an unbiased standpoint and say if D catches him early, he’s going to win. Being in their Tyson, he’s world class bro. I really underestimated him when I got off the plane. I was like, ‘Oh this dude is big and slow.’ The dude can box his ass off and it’s special. It’s something that I’ve never seen before from a guy that size. My thinking is Tyson is going to try to potshot him for four to five rounds and try to drag him past the fifth of sixth. Then he’s going to go to work. Will he be able to make it that far? That’s the question.”


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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.