(Reuters) – Millions will tune in to watch Tyson Fury’s attempt to dethrone Deontay Wilder in their WBC world heavyweight showdown in Las Vegas on Saturday but no one will be watching more intently than Jacob Duran, otherwise known as ‘Stitch’.
Duran is Fury’s cuts man and, judging by the damage the self-styled Gypsy King suffered in his previous fight, his expertise might be what makes the difference for the Briton.
Fury, 31, sustained a dreadful gash above his right eye when out-pointing Swede Otto Wallin four months ago, requiring 47 stitches to close a potentially career-ending wound.
American Wilder will target that area of Fury’s head at the MGM Grand when Duran will observe his man like a hawk.
“When Tyson is fighting, my whole focus for three minutes will be on his face,” the 68-year-old Duran, who first worked as a cuts man 25 years ago, said in a BBC interview.
“If he gets cut, it’s about getting into the ring as soon as possible and then applying direct pressure.
“My job is to give them one more round.”
Fury had ‘webbing’ inserted into the cut to help the healing process and Duran said it will be carefully managed during the fight with the cut man’s faithfuls — Vaseline and the eye iron.
“I’ve worked bareknuckle fights where a guy had 10 cuts,” Duran said. “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.
“But 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.”
American Duran has worked with the likes of former world champions Andre Ward, Wladimir Klitschko and Amir Khan as well as in UFC and MMA. His reputation as one of the world’s best cuts men also earned him a gig with Sylvester Stallone in three of the Rocky series of movies, most recently Creed II.
Saturday is the real thing, though, and Fury’s fans can rest assured that their man can be patched up if required.
“I told Tyson in the ring I am going to treat you like you are my son,” Duran said. “You have to give him the confidence to take the cut out of his mind.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)