Tyson Fury’s American Roadshow has been one of boxing’s great stories.
When Fury outpointed Francesco Pianeta at Windsor Park in Belfast, few could have predicted the nights of unparalleled drama and entertainment which lay ahead in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The journey, culminating in victory over Deontay Wilder in February, has cemented the legacy of the Gypsy King and completed one of boxing’s great comeback stories.
But the shockwaves of the journey could extend far beyond the heavyweight division, all the way down to Fury’s featherweight protege.
Trainers have come and gone, opponents have been dispatched with ease but Isaac Lowe has remained a constant theme of the Fury's comeback.
After being unable to win the British title, drawing with Ryan Walsh in February 2018, Lowe received a life-changing phone call from close friend Fury, who he describes as a “brother”.
The Lancashire lad jumped at the opportunity, joining Fury’s camp ahead of his Windsor Park date, beating Jose Hernandez on the undercard.
Since then, he has appeared on the undercard of all four of Fury’s US ventures, claiming four straight wins with a low-key win in a six-rounder in the Brentwood Centre in March 2019 wedged in the middle of his adventure.
“It has been a pretty crazy couple of years,” Lowe admits. “Obviously we started training with Tyson, then going over to fight in America and that was a dream.
“Me and Tyson are obviously very close, we’re like brothers.
“I’ve known him my whole life and I used to train with him a long time ago. I used to train with him a long time ago, way back in the amateur days when he first started I used to train with him in Lancaster.
“We’ve always trained together, and I was having a tough time up in Doncaster where I was training, starting to lose my head a little bit.
“He just gave me a phone call and said, ‘keep at it, you’re good enough to be a world champion. Just come and train with me and I’ll get you on your way’.
“I took the opportunity and it’s the best thing I’ve done. We’ve never looked back.
“The first time I fought with him was in his second fight back in Belfast, we had a good fight then and I’ve been on some great cards since, so I’m just lucky and blessed really.”
Lowe, who turned professional at 18, spent his early days in small hall shows at Winter Gardens in Blackpool and similar northern venues.
It was quite a contrast to what he has experienced in the last two years, where he has lived every fighter’s dream under the bright Las Vegas lights.
He explains: “Being in LA for the first Wilder fight was amazing, but then to go over to Las Vegas, to fight there was just a dream.
“It’s where everyone grows up watching all the great fights. Mike Tyson, Ricky Hatton, Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao – all the best have fought there.
“The MGM is where so many boxers have fought but even the likes of singers as well – Whitney Houston, people like that – it’s the capital of entertainment really.
“To get the opportunity to go there and conquer the dream I had as a kid growing up, it was an unbelievable experience.
“After fighting in small hall shows in Blackpool, to then be there, fighting at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, whatever happens that’ll live with me for the rest of my life.”
It is one thing to fight under the bright lights – but Lowe knows it would have meant nothing if he did not do the business in the ring.
“Obviously the most important thing is winning your fight,” he points out. “It doesn’t matter if you’re fighting in Vegas, LA or in your back garden.
“If you don’t win, there’s no point fighting. You’ve got to make sure these huge occasions and great arenas get what they deserve.
“It’s lovely to be there, but you need to keep focused, keep your head switched on and just keep doing your job.
“They’ve not all been perfect performances, but I’m pleased that at the end of the day I’ve been getting the job done, winning my fights and just keep learning.”
After grasping his chance to be Fury’s supporting act, it is no surprise he now has a burning desire to see his own name in lights.
Holder of the WBC international title and unbeaten in 23 fights, he is now knocking on the door of a world title chance.
“That’s what I want now, some big fights,” he says. “I’m experienced enough now. I’ve been pro since I was 18, now I’m 26 and I’ve been all around the world, had some good wins on some massive shows.
“I know I’m capable of handling the pressure and the bigger stages, and I think now I’ve fought for every belt apart from a world title.
“I’ve won English, I fought for the British title, fought for the European, I’ve won the WBC international, the Commonwealth. The only one I haven’t fought for is the world.
“Hopefully in the next 12 months or 18 months I can be fighting for a world title and I want a world title around my waist.
“I think I need another couple of tune-up fights against a couple of good, worthy contenders then we’re ready to push up onto the world scene.”
When his moment comes, it is unlikely to ever match the unprecedented interest in Wilder vs Fury II.
But he can now rest safe in the knowledge he has experienced, and handled, fighting on one of the biggest nights in recent boxing history.
He recalls: “Wilder-Fury 2, I’ve never seen anything like that. I think that’ll be the biggest fight in this decade apart from Fury-Joshua if that comes off.
“The fight was unbelievable, being there for such a big occasion and being in and around such a massive fight.
“But the whole fight week was just unbelievable. Even the press conference for the undercard, there were 600-700 people there, from every country in the world, wanting to do interviews.
“I just thought, ‘this is what it’s like to have big time boxing’, and I was lucky enough to be able to just soak it all up.
“The British fans being out in force, all the cameras around, the media interest and everything that comes with that fight feeling on fight week.
“It was great, and it’s something I want to do myself. I’d love to top a show and do that.
“But as good as it all is, when you get in the ring that all goes out the window and you’ve got to keep your head on the ground.
“You’ve got a fight to win at the end of the day, and once you’ve done that then you can enjoy yourself and enjoy the occasion.”
It is not just in fight week Lowe has been able to benefit from being around greatness.
In the gym, there is a small matter of 36cm and 100lbs separating the two close friends, but Lowe has gained priceless exposure to greatness and been able to lean on Fury’s enormous frame.
He adds: “Tyson’s a heavyweight, but he moves like a featherweight. He’s unbelievable for how big he is, and I don’t think people really understand that unless they’ve been in the ring with him.
“Obviously I’ve not sparred with him, but just being in the ring doing footwork, messing around you see just how well he moves and you can learn a lot.
“I’ve seen how hard he trains, how dedicated he is, and he’s an elite level fighter so you see how hard you’ve got to work to be in that kind of company.
“If I’m in the gym only giving 80% and he’s giving it 120% then he’s getting that extra bit out of his body that gives him that little bit more on fight night.
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury
“It’s not just being around Tyson, I’ve been around guys like Ricky Hatton, Andy Lee, so many great people who have been world champions and seeing how they push you.
“Having people like that around me, the likes of Freddie Roach, I know how hard I’ve got to train in these elite gyms and around these elite fighters. To be the best, that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Whilst Fury’s journey is far from over, his fascinating path back to glory could now be set for a fascinating side road as Lowe looks to shine his own name in lights.
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