With April 20th Fight On The Horizon, Tyson Fury Has Decided To Make His Bout With Cunningham “Personal”


    On April 20th, heavyweights Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 knockouts) and Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 knockouts) will compete for a chance to fill the #2 spot in a future IBF title eliminator. In the early lead up to the fight things seemed surprisingly civil between the two fighters, but in his usual fashion, Fury managed to coax some emotion out of his opponent as tension began to reach a boiling point.

    “I made this personal today. Before, it was a boxing match, but I got under Brother Naazim Richardson’s skin today, as we all saw as he just flipped his lid, and that’s just what I came here to do. I came here to let Steve Cunningham know that I mean business, and that I’m not here to play games. Tyson Fury doesn’t play games, and everyone is gonna see that come April 20th. ”

    To say that there was no love lost between the two fighters would be the understatement of the century, and this was especially obvious during the March 14th press conference for the bout. Neither Fury, Cunningham, and even esteemed tactician (and Cunningham’s trainer) Naazim Richardson were at any loss of words. Both camps did their best to disparage the other, but it was apparent that none of this was new to Fury. By this point in his career Fury is used to the constant criticism and scrutiny of his undefeated record, and has learned to remain largely unaffected by the scathing comments.

    “Listen, people like these guys, they haven’t got the brain power to assassinate Tyson Fury. They never have, and they never will. Steve Cunningham’s a Cruiserweight. He’s not a real heavyweight, and I’m gonna show why he’s not a Heavyweight on April 20th. They come here and they try to disrespect me by saying that I only win because I’m big. It’s a good job I’m big then, for one thing, but I believe at any weight, any division, I would rule the world. I believe I’m the best talent in boxing, and for that statement I must be able to fight because no one in their right mind would come out with a statement like that if you couldn’t fight, simple. What I’ve got to say to these guys is that I hope you believe in Magic because they’re gonna be needing it come April 20th. ”

    Whether he believes in magic or not, Naazim Richardson has quickly become the most outspoken members of Team Cunningham in voicing his distaste for the cocky Brit. For example, look at the jab he made towards Fury, saying that he’s the type of fighters who “beats himself.” As innocent or even generic as this quip may seem, it’s much more than a criticism of Fury emotional control and mid-set gong into this fight. Instead, it was a reference to Fury’s now infamous fight against Lee Swaby back in 2009. What made this otherwise forgettable match-up so memorable was that Fury had somehow managed to uppercut himself, in a moment that now lives in YouTube infamy.

    “I think he was attempting to be funny, but I forgot to laugh. Don’t worry, if I hit myself it’s no big trouble. I got a lot of YouTube hits for punching myself in the face one day, and you know what, I don’t regret it. People may say what they want about me, but listen, they’re gonna tune in, and they’re gonna watch a good job in boxing.”

    Past mistakes aside, Richardson’s biggest issue seems to be with the way Fury carries himself. To put it bluntly, Richardson believes that Fury is a nobody whom does everything for the big lights and spectacle of it all. Whether this be true or not, there is no denying that this is Fury’s first and best opportunity to really make his presence known to an American audience.

    “Well, if you don’t recognize the size of me then I guess no one’s ever gonna recognize me since I’m a bit hard to miss. He likes to talk himself up though, and I think he’s trying to play some psychological games by telling himself and his fighter that he can win, but I do believe that what he really believes is that he hasn’t got a chance at winning. ”

    With all of this fairly uncharacteristic trash talk coming from Richardson and Cunningham, one wouldn’t be wrong to ask, where did this all come from? While some speculate Fury’s personality just manages to get under people’s skin, others think this is Team Cunningham attempting to distract from the fact that this appears to be an absolute mismatch on paper. While Cunningham is a relatively small Heavyweight (weighing in at around 220-230 pounds), Fury is an absolute behemoth of a man, standing 6’9″ with a reach of 85″. Also take into account Cunningham’s recent (albeit controversial) loss one of the smaller Heavyweights, Tomasz Adamek (48-2, 29 knockouts), and there’s no ignoring that Fury will most definitely be his biggest test thus far in his career, both figuratively and literally. As expected, no one is more aware of this than Fury.

    “Yeah, for sure. This is all about me! It isn’t about Steve “Battleship” Cunningham, it’s about Tyson Fury. They are just here to make some numbers up, and I’m just appreciative of them coming up and trying to fight me because like I said ten times, and they still didn’t get it; this is the kind of brain power I’m dealing with, there’s no other guys to fight. Steve Cunningham was the only man that was man enough to take the fight because he’s getting a good pay check, and it’s his chance to cash mine.”

    Until April 20th does finally roll around, we will never know just how the match-up between Fury and Cunningham will play out. Will Cunningham play the role of David to Fury’s Goliath, or will the giant simply stomp his foe down in his own search for glory. Regardless of the outcome, all we could do is sit-back and hope that the sparks flying outside of the ring will translate to fireworks inside of it.

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    I was born in Miami, FL, and as the son of two Cuban parents, a deep love of boxing was in my blood. Growing up, I always looked up to local boxers whose sons were in school with me, and it grew into the passion I have now. I started writing about combat sports in 2010 as a way to practice my writing, but by 2011, my goal was to bring casual fans attention to the sport which,in my opinion, will always represent the purest form of competition. With my writing I am hoping to entice the casual fan while still catering to those with a deep appreciation for the "sweet science".