Heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury remained undefeated after securing a 5th-round TKO over American Nicolai Firtha in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday.
It was not all plain sailing for the British and Commonwealth titleholder, however. Midway through the third, 32-year-old Firtha, from Akron, Ohio, caught Fury with a number of thumping punches.
But Fury, in addition to some dangerous offensive skills, showed that he possesses a pretty decent chin as well, quickly regaining his composure — and control of the non-title contest.
Many at the packed King’s Hall were initially far from happy with referee John Keane when he suddenly jumped in and called a halt to proceedings after 2 minutes and 19 seconds of round five.
In truth, though, the English official just about got it right. Firtha, who had already been down at the end of the fourth, was definitely in serious trouble when he walked straight into a trademark booming right hook from the 6-foot-9 (203cm) Fury. He looked all but finished.
Certainly, Fury, 23, saw it that way as he later defended the decision to stop what he thought was another entertaining outing on his climb up the world ladder.
“To be honest, he was seconds from being blasted out of there anyway,” said Fury (16-0, 11 knockouts). “I caught him with a swinging right – and he was gone. He really was. I thought it was an action-packed five or so rounds for the fans and I really enjoyed it. I hope everybody else did, too. Firtha was tough but in the end he took just one too many.”
Regarding the only negative of the night — when he was wobbled by Firtha (20-9-1, 8 KOs) in the third — Fury claimed such moments are all part and parcel of being a heavyweight.
“I had to dig deep. He caught me on the side of head with a good shot,” he said. “But that‘s heavyweight boxing for you. You’re always one shot away from victory. I probably was a bit too eager to get him out of there. I wanted to put on a show on for everyone. But I bounced back and proved how strong I am.”