British heavyweight contender Tyson Fury became the Irish titleholder Saturday in Belfast when he stopped local favorite Martin Rogan in the fifth round, extending his unbeaten record in the process.
Just what good beating 40-year-old Rogan (14-3, 7 knockouts) does for the reputation of Manchester-born Fury on the world stage is open to debate. Probably not a lot, if we’re being brutally honest. Nevertheless, his one-sided romp at the Odyssey Arena, watched by several million on the UK’s terrestrial Channel 5, was his 18th win on the spin and 15th inside the distance.
And forgetting the obvious flaws in his opponent, 6-foot-9 Fury, THE RING’s No.10-rated heavyweight, at least attempted to demonstrate a new dimension to his makeup by fighting southpaw for the first time in his career. In that respect alone, the 23-year-old former Commonwealth and British titleholder reckoned it was a worthwhile workout.
“I was just practicing a few things in there and I found it a bit comfortable to go left-handed. I am a world-class heavyweight and I am going to try different things,” Fury said. “I’m ambidextrous, I can box with both hands. I can hit as hard with my right as I can with my left.
“It’s just something I’ve been working on in the gym. Me and my uncle Pete worked out a gameplan for Martin Rogan and he looked like the kind of fella we could practice it on. I‘ve done an awful lot of talking in the past and I‘ve called out a lot of people in the past. From now on, I am going to let my boxing do the talking. ”
From the moment Rogan was dropped in the third — by a hefty left hook to the body — the bout was over as a contest. It was just matter of when Fury would finish it and, to his credit, he did not hang around. At the end of the fifth, Rogan’s corner had seen enough and advised the referee to stop the fight.
“I have to say that Martin Rogan is an absolute warrior. He couldn’t land a blow on me but he kept coming forward for five rounds, “ Fury said before declaring he intends to fight more often in Ireland.
“It’s been a pleasure being in Belfast. I feel like it’s my hometown. I got such a great welcome over here and I hope to bring big title fights to Ireland – and that everyone can get behind me and love me as much as I love coming to box in Belfast. “
Promoter Mick Hennessy was equally buoyant as he hailed Fury, not for the first time, as the most exciting rising heavyweight talent on the planet.
“How many heavyweights could do what he did tonight and turn southpaw for the whole fight? He didn’t turn back once,” said Hennessy. “He looked so relaxed and he looked awesome. He never got out of third gear. He is in incredible shape.
“He can go all the way. He can be world champion as quick as he wants. We’re just going to keep him busy now – we’re looking at June 30 next.”
As for any anticipated clash with undefeated Russian Alexander Povetkin — ranked No. 2 by THE RING — Hennessey has ruled that out on the grounds it would be staged in Germany.
“He would beat Povetkin tomorrow; let’s be real here. He would absolutely wipe the floor with him,” he said. “But that fight is not going to happen any time soon because it would end up being in Germany.
“Tyson is the star. He’s the biggest star in heavyweight boxing behind the Klitschkos. We’re going to get him in the position where we have the leverage to bring Povetkin over here. And the Klitschkos, when the time is right. Tyson is the only heavyweight who can do it.”