Heavyweight import Tyson Fury, 20-0, 14 KOs, invades New York City on April 20th in the afternoon show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Fury hopes to bring the “Luck of the Irish” with him when he takes on former two-time world champion Steve Cunningham, 25-5, 12 KOs, in a 12-round IBF heavyweight elimination fight. The winner of the bout, which will be broadcast live 4PM ET in the states on network television by NBC, earns the #2 spot in the IBF rankings, and stays on course for a shot at champion Wladimir Klitschko. The event will be Fury’s American debut.
Fury, who is of Irish heritage and was named after boxing great Mike Tyson, is no fighting leprechaun. In fact, at 6′ 9″, he is quite the opposite, and should prove to be a tall task for Cunningham to topple. The battle-tested “USS” Cunningham has been in the ring with top quality foes, all over the world. However, he’s never faced a hard-punching giant like Fury.
Cunningham moved up from the cruiserweight division last year, and has looked good as a heavyweight thus far, but this fight should determine whether or not he can handle one of the gloved giants that so dominate the heavyweight division these days.
Fury is a fighting machine with heavy hands and size advantages enough to make any Cunningham fan very nervous. Fury was the first to defeat Londoner Dereck Chisora, and added tough guy Vinnie Maddalone to his list of victims last year. In his most recent outing, Fury beat well-rounded former title challenger Kevin Johnson over 12 rounds to bring his winning streak to an even 20 straight.
Fury is on a roll but along with advantages in height and weight, he’ll need to bring his “A” game and a bit of that Irish fortune to the Garden if he wants to add USS Steve to his win column. Bookmakers in England have the odds even. The battle should be everything fans look for in a high-profile international heavyweight contest – especially if it’s anything like the press conference to announce the fight.
When the fighters came together for the first time last week, emotions flared on the dais, and Fury made it clear he would make a memorable American debut on April 20th. “I’m a man on a mission,” Fury said. “I mean business. Your heavyweight run is coming to an end. I’m going to retire you Steve.”
Cunningham mostly stayed in control, saying he doesn’t like it when fighters do their talking outside of the ring. “The guys who talk a lot? They’re chumps,” Cunningham said.
We’ll find out who is correct at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in about one month.