Fury cuts man on Wilder, Rocky, Creed and methods

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport in Las Vegas
Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury will work with 'Stitch' Duran for the first time on Saturday night

Jacob 'Stitch' Duran once told Sylvester Stallone he could not sleep because he felt out of place being on his movie set.

Stallone simply replied: "You've earned it".

But Duran's toil did not come at acting school or on stage, it came through decades spent looking at blood, bumps, bruises and shattered men in the corner of boxing rings as he patched them up and became the most recognisable cuts man in boxing.

He will stare into Tyson Fury's eyes on Saturday night between rounds as his new boss takes on WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder less than four months after sustaining cuts that needed more than 40 stitches.

"My job is to give them one more round," Duran, 68, tells BBC Sport in Las Vegas.

"I was talking to Tyson at the gym and I said everyone is concerned about the cut except you and I. It is not going to be an issue. I told him my job is for you to walk out as handsome as you walked in.

"Psychology is a big thing. I told Tyson in the ring I am going to treat you like you are my son. You have to give him the confidence to take the cut out of his mind."

Veins, aspirin and adrenaline

Duran, who first looked after cuts in a world title fight 25 years ago, will use his well-honed "system" in looking after Fury for his Las Vegas bout.

Between rounds he will perform "preventative maintenance", icing any areas that could become an issue.

He will have ample Vaseline on the back of one hand to apply to his fighter's face in a bid to minimise the abrasion delivered when a glove strikes.

His wrist band will hold his most important tool, the swabs doused in Adrenaline Chloride 1:1000 which when applied to a cut, acts as a vessel constrictor.

"The number one thing is composure, bar none," he says.

"The thing about it is to always be prepared for the worst case scenario. When Tyson is fighting, my whole focus for three minutes will be on his face. If he gets cut, it's about getting into the ring as soon as possible and then applying direct pressure.

"I've worked bareknuckle fights where a guy had 10 cuts. I'm like an artist working all over his face and you work on the priority cuts that are a major disadvantage like if they are causing blood to go in your eyes.

"The techniques I have developed give the best possibility to keep you in the game.

"Nothing is guaranteed. If you pop a vein, it's hard to stop. If someone is taking aspirin which thins the blood, that's hard to stop."

'Stitch you're a legend'

The likes of former world champions Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitshcko have called on Duran.

Typically, he says fighters pay a fixed fee for his services as at the highest level of boxing, a percentage arrangement would be too much.

And on those bloody nights where his work has saved a fight or even a career, bonus payments can change hands.

"It's something to be proud of, respect moments," he says.

And respect flows the way of the 68-year-old, who was born in California but is of Mexican heritage and grew up "a humble farm worker".

His work in the 60 frenetic seconds between rounds has led to him appearing in three films from the Rocky series that made Stallone famous, with the pair most recently working alongside one another on Creed II.

"It's a mind-blowing experience, everywhere I go people say 'Stitch you're a legend'. I am a normal guy man," he said.

"I did the Creed movie with Stallone so I was in Philadelphia for six weeks and I told him I can't sleep at night," Duran adds.

"He said 'what's wrong?' And I said, what am I doing here?

"He said, 'Stitch, you earned it'.

"I guess I put a lot of hours in, put a lot of time in, saved a lot of fighters' careers and it blows my mind. It had to happen to somebody."

Nobody wants a cut to come their way but if disaster strikes it seems Fury really does have a real 'somebody' in his corner.