Heavyweights Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) and Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) convened at Jack Demsey’s in midtown Manhattan last Thursday for a press conference to promote their fight at the Theater in Madison Square Garden on April 20.
The event is being promoted by Main Events and Hennessy Sports and will take place in the afternoon and air on NBC at 4 p.m. The winner will be eligible to fight in an IBF title eliminator with Kubrat Pulev to get a shot at Wladimir Klitschko’s belt.
“I'm excited about the fight. A lot of guys turned it down; a lot of guys don't want to get in the ring with a straight-up giant. He is a literal giant," said Cunningham of the 6’9” Fury.
"There is no fear in me. I don't fear getting hit and I don’t fear losing. I am going to work my butt off in the gym."
Cunningham, 36, also asked for boxing judges to do their utmost to adjudicate fairly, possibly alluding to his close decision loss to Tomasz Adamek on December 22.
The press conference turned into a slagging match after Fury asked how much money Cunningham would accept for sponsorship of the soles of his boxing shoes (because they would be on camera after Fury knocked him out).
Cunningham took offense and told Fury that the only reason that he was unbeaten was that he is big and leaned on people. The two-time world cruiserweight champion went on to say that if Fury were 6’2” or 6’3” he’d be “garbage.”
Fury took back the microphone and started to wax lyrical on his view of Cunningham and the state of the heavyweight division.
"You are not a heavyweight for one, and I am. You are in trouble," said Fury.
"I mean business. I didn't come to the USA to play around, to play tip-tap boxing. I came here to do demolition jobs on cruiserweights.
“You are a small man; you are chinny and you are getting knocked out."
The current Irish and former British and Commonwealth champion then went on a tirade against most of the prominent heavyweights in the division before giving Cunningham props for being the only one willing to take the fight.
"You are the only man stepping up to the plate. This is why I am giving you credit," continued the 24-year-old.
Fury then exchanged banter with Cunningham’s trainer, Naazim Richardson before the presser came on an end.
If both men can emulate the entertainment provided at the press conference in the fight itself, then boxing fans could be in for an interesting afternoon’s viewing.
Tickets for the fight are available at the MSG box office and online at Ticketmaster.com.
In other news, middleweight Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs) is likely to lace up his gloves again in June.
“Mack the Knife” was last in action on September 15 when he knocked out Joachim Alcine in the first round of their fight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Since then he has tried to get a fight with a belt holder and called out Andy Lee, but the latter has stated he needs some more fights with new trainer Adam Booth before agreeing to that assignment.
The Irish Voice caught up with Tomas Rohan of Brian Peters Promotions to get the latest from team Macklin.
"It's looking like Matthew will be back out again in June. Lou (DiBella, Macklin’s promoter) has a HBO date then, and there has also been some talk about possible fights with Chavez Jr. and Golovkin on other HBO dates later that month,” Rohan said.
“Matthew's keen on both those fights, but we're also conscious that he has had less than a round of competitive action since the Sergio Martinez fight a year ago, so ideally he would like to go into those fights with a few more rounds under his belt first, so we'll see what happens over the next week or two."
Finally, according to boxrec.com, featherweight Patrick Hyland (27-1) will return to the ring on May 18 at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York in a contest scheduled for 10 rounds. No opponent has been confirmed.