Heavyweight Tyson Fury the entertainer grinds out win against Steve Cunningham
Fury defeats Cunningham at NYC's Madison Square Garden
Heavyweight Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) survived a second round knockdown to defeat Steve Cunningham (25-6, 12 KOs) by seventh round knockout on Saturday afternoon at the Theater in Madison Square Garden.
Fury, who talked up a storm coming into the fight, tried to intimidate Cunningham by slapping his gloves in the touch up before the fight, trash talking during the first round and shoving him after the bell rang at the end of the first stanza.
Cunningham showed just how intimidated he was at the start of the second round when a huge overhand right from the Philadelphia native put the giant Irish traveler from Manchester on his back on the canvas.
Fury was hurt, but he picked himself up. Though he was groggy and unsteady on his legs, he somehow managed to get out of the round.
The 6’9” Fury, who weighed in at 254 pounds, some 44 pounds heavier than Cunningham, did not box well. Instead, he used his size and weight to try and bully Cunningham into submission.
The 24-year-old never used his reach advantage or established distance to get his shots off. He barged in with fairly crude assaults that Cunningham managed to quell quite well.
Cunningham stunned Fury with a straight right in the fourth, and the only boxing that was being done was by the former two-time cruiserweight champion.
In the fifth Fury was deducted a point for illegal use of the head, but during the round he finally started to connect with a few shots and had his best moments in the fight, doing enough to redress the point reduction on the judges’ score cards.
That theme continued in the sixth as the toll of holding off such a huge adversary began to tell on Cunningham, who was still out boxing his opponent.
In the seventh Fury finally cornered Cunningham and connected with some powerful uppercuts that hurt Cunningham and forced him onto the ropes.
Fury seemed to use his left arm to tee up Cunningham for a right hook that floored the American, who did not beat the count with 2:55 gone in the round. At the time of the knockout, Cunningham was ahead 57-55 on two judges’ cards while the other card was even, 56-56.
Fury made no excuses about his performance after the fight. “Nothing went to game plan, my game plan went out the window and I turned it into a dog fight. I roughed it up a little. The dogfighter came out of me on the night,” he said.
Of his unscheduled trip to the canvas, Fury was characteristically blunt.
“I got caught with a shot. It’s part of boxing. You get caught, you get back up and you have a fight. Simple as that. You either get out and be a bitch or you fight on like a man,” he said.
The absence of Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and trainer – who was reportedly unable to enter the U.S. because of visa issues – was a significant factor, as his promoter Mick Hennessy told the Irish Voice after the fight.
“With Peter, he sticks to the game plan. Tyson has got a tendency to just want to get involved in fights,” said Hennessy.
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