Heavyweight Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) will fight for the first time on American soil this Saturday afternoon when he takes on Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) at the Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Fury, who comes from an Irish traveler family based out of Manchester, prepared for this fight at Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, and word emanating from there is that all has gone to plan.
"Camp has been going really well. I've had great sparring. Everything has gone really well. No stone has been left unturned, so no excuses," Fury said earlier this month.
"We've not done much different with preparation because for the last three fights we left no stone unturned - we've been working on different game plans for a lighter fighter, such as Steve Cunningham, a speed guy, and we just hope it all goes to plan on the night," added the 6’9” fighter.
If Fury prevails in his U.S. debut, he will be eligible to fight in an IBF title eliminator with Kubrat Pulev to get a shot at Wladimir Klitschko’s belt.
Standing in his way will be the 36-year-old Cunningham, a skilled fighter from Philadelphia who has campaigned mostly in the cruiserweight division (where he was a two-time world champion) before moving up to join the heavyweights last year. A September win over Jason Gavern was followed up by a close decision loss to Tomasz Adamek in December.
Cunningham and Fury had an entertaining exchange of words at their press conference just before St. Patrick’s Day, and now the time has almost come for the 24-year-old prospect to show American boxing fans that he has the skill to back up the brash talk.
If he can do that and do it in style, then Fury will take a significant step to fulfilling his dream of getting to the top of the heavyweight division. The event is being promoted by Main Events and Hennessy Sports and will air on NBC at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster or at the MSG box office.
In other news, light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (18-0, 11 KOs) defeated Rex Dion Stanley (11-5) by first round TKO on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall on the undercard of the Nonito Donaire/Guillermo Rigondeaux fight.
Monaghan, 31, looked in excellent physical shape as he entered the ring to the sound of bagpipes. Awaiting him in the ring was Stanley, who looked a bit soft around the middle.
For the first minute of the fight, both men sized each other up, with Monaghan connecting with a sharp right. The game Stanley did trade but Monaghan was beginning to time him perfectly with the right hand.
After 1:51 he caught him flush with a right hook and down he went. Referee Harvey Dock took one look at the Kansas native and waved off the fight.
Meanwhile, with news coming out of Ireland that 48-year-old Steve Collins was granted a boxing license, the Irish Voice caught up with Roy Jones, Jr., who was working with HBO at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night. Collins reportedly got his license so he could try and secure a fight with Jones, who was very open to the possibility of the matchup.
“Come on man, I would love to fight that guy, why would I not? If Steve Collins got a license, Ireland wants to see it and they pay the money to make it happen, why not? I’ve never ducked or dived no one, and never will,” Jones said.
Jones went on to say that here may be a chance for him to fight for a cruiserweight title, and that he may take that first as it has more historical significance for his career. However, if he got a good enough deal to fight Collins he said he would put that to the side and fight the Dubliner first.
Finally, Eric Hunter has pulled out of his proposed fight with Patrick Hyland’s in Poughkeepsie on May 18. As the Irish Voice went to press, Hyland’s team is looking to find a new opponent for the fight.