It was just another day – singalongs and spontaneous karaoke sandwiching hard, hard sparring sessions – until Jared Anderson was beckoned over by the booming voice of Tyson Fury.
“He said: ‘Hey Jared, the man! You’re the man!’.
“I thought: ‘What have I done now?’.”
Anderson had become accustomed to Fury’s humour and the pranks in the gym but this time it was serious.
“Tyson said that he’d done an interview telling everybody that I am going to be the man,” Anderson tells Sky Sports.
“He said: ‘I really believe that, you are going to take my spot’. He has definitely told me that a few times.”
Anderson has been a sparring partner of Fury’s for the two most recent fights with Deontay Wilder – his reputation soared as rumours of those sessions were whispered.
“Tyson said the next heavyweight champion after him is Jared Anderson,” Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who promotes both men, said.
The praise extends further.
The WBC heavyweight champion’s father John Fury insisted his son will retire undefeated and tipped Anderson to succeed him: “I do believe he can be the next big thing when Tyson is gone.”
It is stunning praise for the 21-year-old prospect who is unbeaten in 10 fights. None of his opponents have heard the final bell.
He wants to warn future rivals that Fury’s prediction will come true: “They can take heed or they can get run over.
“Listen to what he said.
“Make your money on other fighters or get run over.
“When they told me? I thought: ‘Maybe I am that good!’.
“It is reassurance. It doesn’t give me more confidence. But it helps to back it up.”
Wise old heads in the boxing game will understand that weeks of rubbing shoulders with Fury might be even more valuable than the 10 consecutive knockouts Anderson has racked up.
Anderson is perceptive in his realisation that Sugarhill Steward, the trainer who has led Fury past Wilder twice, is “the man behind it all”.
“This is a chessboard,” he says. “A chess coach and a chess player. Sugar is behind Tyson, telling him in his ear the little things to do.
“‘If he makes this move, you make that move’.
“Sugar looks at the little things. Tyson is already good, but Sugar capitalises on little things that get stoppages.”
Anderson lights up describing Fury: “His personality, his perseverance. There is a vibe, an atmosphere.
“He is such an exciting person. So influential. He speaks everything into existence, and he works for everything he has.
“He has fun in the ring. He is competitive, but fun. He never puts you down. If he has a better day, he will come over and say: ‘Today wasn’t your day champ, pick your head up, go back to the drawing board’.
“In this game you could get discouraged really quickly but he never allows that.”
Those formative weeks sweating and laughing alongside Fury were nearly rendered useless when Wilder, in their trilogy fight, landed his trademark right hand in a tumultuous fourth round.
“I am not a man who likes to lie so I will be honest,” Anderson can smile about it now. “When Tyson got hurt and dropped, I was scared. Very scared. There was doubt in my mind then. But going into the fight? There was no doubt. I didn’t think the fight would go past the seventh round.”
Anderson is from an area of Ohio he describes as “at an all-time low”, a place that was difficult to grow up in especially after his older brother was incarcerated.
“I was bad at school,” he rolls his eyes. “My mum was tired of coming into my school to address the situations.
“In order to find me some discipline she enrolled me into boxing.”
Trainer Darrie Riley welcomed an eight-year-old troublemaker and is in Anderson’s corner to this day.
“He has been a huge influence on my life. He helped me to turn my life around. I’m here now because of him.”
Would things have worked out differently without Riley’s patience?
Do you still think about how life might have veered in a different direction?
“I did. Now I don’t think about it as much. We’re past that hump. We’re in the moment now.”
Anderson tried other sports but indiscipline cost him: “They asked and I denied. It’s not where my head is at.”
How did boxing finally capture his attention?
“Who doesn’t like hitting people in the face?”
Perhaps people who worry about receiving one back?
“It happens. But I bet I’ll give you a better punch than you give me!”
Anderson took boxing, and straightening out his life, seriously from the age of 14. As an amateur he won national championships in 2017 and 2018 but turned pro rather than trying out for the Olympics.
He is softly spoken but Sky Sports reminds him that, the further he goes, the likelier he will meet a rival who knows how to trigger his emotions.
“I will, for sure. I’m not a man of many words in terms of hostility,” he turns far more serious. “I spark off really quick – that was my problem, and that’s why I got into boxing.
“Are you willing to? Because I’m willing to. If you’re willing, it will turn into a real fist-fight. A real street fight.
“There will be no playing, nothing fake. Don’t call my phone. It’s good to put on a show for the fans but don’t touch me and keep my people out of your mouth.
“I don’t look forward to it because I know how far I could take it.
“Boxing is good for me. But in a second I could go back to how I used to be.
“I advise you not to, if you’re not willing to go as far as me.”
At 6ft 4ins’ and 15st 10lbs (220lbs) he is not the largest heavyweight. But those measurements are almost identical to Oleksandr Usyk, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion.
Anderson describes his style: “My speed and my IQ. Obviously I’m not the tallest guy or the strongest guy.
“With 10oz gloves on? People will see some power too. But speed and IQ are what stands out the most.
“Who will accept a fight? There are a lot of people who don’t want to fight me and I understand why.
“I want to fight anybody with an ‘0’. Anybody undefeated. Because they’ve got a point to prove.”
So does Anderson. No longer merely an undefeated talent, he is now the man personally approved by Fury as a future world heavyweight champion.
Anderson will return, live on Sky Sports, on December 11 on the undercard to Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey at Madison Square Garden.
For now? His other passion. A game of Call Of Duty.
“It keeps me out of trouble,” he smiles.
Can he imagine Fury joining in?
“The only thing I do is play my games! I’m sure he’d be open to it…”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
November 20 – BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe vs Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut
Florian Marku vs Jorick Luisetto
Hosea Burton vs Dan Azeez – British light-heavyweight title
November 20 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter – WBO welterweight title
December 11 – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin
December 11 – Top Rank in New York
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
Jared Anderson vs Oleksandr Teslenko
Nico Ali Walsh
December 17 – Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles
February 26 – Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title