Irish Traveller Tyson Fury marked his American debut with a knockout and a knockdown as he moved within sight of the world heavyweight title.
The Manchester-born member of the Irish travelling community knocked American Steve Cunningham out in the seventh round of their New York bout on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old maintained his 100 per cent record but only after surviving a second round knockdown, only the second time he has been floored in his 21 fight career.
Fury is seen as the next great Irish heavyweight hope and has sights fixed firmly on the Klitschko twins after his next bout against the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.
A stunning right hook left Cunningham gasping for air on Saturday night as Fury delighted his new legions of Irish-American fans.
Afterwards he told the BBC: “He put up a good fight but he lost to the better fighter. It’s a learning experience, many are picked but few are chosen. I’m the ultimate fighter and will fight anybody.
“It was a matter of time before I got to him. Lennox Lewis said ‘you can run but not hide’ and Cunningham was running around but when I caught him it was curtains.”
Fury, with 15 knockouts to his name, was unconcerned about his own fall to the canvas.
He added: “You can’t go swimming and not get wet. I got caught with a big swinging right hand and if you do not see them coming then you will go down.”
Former world cruiserweight champion Cunningham admitted Fury’s size and strength was just too much for him.
Cunningham said: “He put his weight on me and he fought like a big man. I’m much smaller and he kept leaning on me so it was like fighting two men.
“He is 6ft 9in, he is a giant and he has got power. I was dazed and could not make the count.”
Undefeated Bulgarian Pulev is next up for Fury with the winner fighting for the IBF belt, currently held by Wladimir Klitschko.
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