Tyson Fury's trainer has revealed Tom Schwarz was chosen specifically to enhance their preparations for an eventual rematch with Deontay Wilder.
The 30-year-old heavyweight on Saturday fights for the first time in Las Vegas, where at the MGM Grand his opponent is Germany's little-known Schwarz.
He remains on course to again fight WBC champion Wilder next year, when an immediate rematch had previously appeared inevitable, and to the extent that they are already focusing on the dangerous, undefeated American.
That Schwarz is neither high-profile and has never previously fought out of Europe had made him an unexpected choice of opponent for the first fight of Fury's significant and lucrative contract with ESPN.
By the time of what may prove the highest-profile fight of 2020 Fury is likely to have had at least two opponents that will further his status as favourite for the rematch, and his trainer Ben Davison told Press Association Sport: "We picked Schwarz because Schwarz is a similar size.
"Tyson's style would have had to adjust from somebody tall. It'll change slightly from Wilder because they bring different elements and different styles; going from Schwarz to Andy Ruiz Jr would have been different because of the height factor.
"(Wilder's) boxing (Luis) Ortiz, who's an awkward southpaw and nowhere near as fleet-footed as Tyson, so that's not going to be 100 per cent ideal preparation.
"The fights we wanted (when Schwarz was selected) were Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. I didn't want Tyson to have to make the adaption from a tall guy to a short guy and back again."
Davison, who is working with Fury for their fourth fight, also believes the heavyweight is continuing to improve.
His three years of inactivity and the abuse his body suffered as he gained weight meant few felt he could still perform to the level he did, but his trainer is convinced the performance against Wilder surpassed even that of his life-changing victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
"Statistically, from the Klitschko fight to the Wilder fight he's improved; the stats are better," said Davison, who has also trained Fury to be heavier than he was for December's thrilling draw.
"The one stat I wanted to get but I couldn't get was the ground Tyson covered from the Klitschko fight to the Wilder fight, which I knew wasn't going to be better.
"I could see during the Wilder fight that because he'd lost a lot of weight, fatigue was kicking in, and he was waiting for Wilder to react.
"Now, in preparation for this, the sparring's the best I've seen and there's a different game-plan, so we've put a few more pounds on him and made some subtle changes."