Tyson Fury is in big demand right now. The undefeated British and Commonwealth beltholder, regarded as an authentic heavyweight prospect, is proving a major box office hit the UK.
TV viewing figures for his last win, against Dereck Chisora in July, topped 3.1million on Britain’s free-to-air Channel Five. Even more are expected to tune in this Saturday when Fury (15-0,10 knockouts) faces the challenge of durable American Nicolai Firtha (20-8, 8 KOs) at King’s Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
And barring disasters between now and the end of the year, it appears fight fans in the United States will soon have the chance to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
According to manager Mick Hennessy, talks are underway for 23-year-old Fury, from Manchester, England, to make his debut on American soil in March 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York, as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“We’re looking for another fight in November,” said Hennessy. “Then, touch wood there are no injuries and everything goes well, we’re looking at Madison Square Garden in St Patrick’s week for Tyson. That would be one hell of an event.”
With plenty of Irish blood in his nomadic veins, Fury’s unveiling across the Atlantic would definitely hold appeal. But is he worthy of so much hype and really capable of one day challenging Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko at the top of the heavyweight division? Hennessey has no doubts.
“I know I am biased, but when I speak to people all around the world, this kid must be one of the most talked-about boxers there is. He’s got to be top three,” Hennessy said on Steve Bunce’s weekly BBC Radio boxing show. “It’s great. If Tyson, who I believe is a unique heavyweight and someone who is going to unify the title, does what I know he can, he’s going to look sensational because right now everything is coming together.
“He’s the right weight, his training is right and he’s on a roll. He’s getting better with every fight. I can’t think of anyone who is improving so much with every fight as Tyson Fury.”
Not that anybody in the Fury camp is taking the threat of Firtha lightly ahead of their weekend showdown.
The 32-year-old from Ohio may have stepped into the breach at the 11th hour – after Irish champion Martin Rogan suddenly thought better about putting his title on the line against Fury – but last December he went the distance with The RING’s No-2 rated Russian Alexander Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs).
On top of that, Firtha stands at 6-foot-6 (198cm), and therefore at least appears to be a reasonable match up for the imposing 6-foot-9 (206cm) figure of Fury.
“We needed to bring in someone who will prepare Tyson for top elite world-level fighters. And he has to look right, too,” Hennessy said. “If you put Tyson in with a 6-foot heavyweight, it doesn‘t matter who they are, it doesn‘t look right.
“Nicolai Firtha is a big man. He‘s 6-foot-6 and he’s been on a good run. He’s got his act together recently. I watched his fight with Povetkin and he gave him a decent fight.
“A lot of fighters talk a great game and are happy to bad mouth Tyson Fury, but when it’s put in front of them it’s a different a story. They head for the exit signs. But Firtha has said he is coming here for a shoot-out and is someone who has fancied it for a long time.”