Tyson Fury’s return to the ring attracted plenty of media attention, but for all the wrong reasons, with his victory over Sefer Seferi branded a farce across the national media. It was easy to see why, as Fury showboated his way through four rounds against an opponent who was never going to present a genuine challenge.
Yet although the crowd became increasingly agitated, with boos and even a few beer bottles being thrown from the crowd, it is worth remembering that Fury is at the beginning of what could be a long journey back to the top. He can only fight the opponent that is put in front of him, and has told reporters that he is already thinking about preparations for the forthcoming matchup at Windsor Park in August.
The long road ahead
It had been more than two years since Fury’s last professional fight, and he has been through the wringer with a succession of medical and personal problems. Yet it is easy to overlook the fact that the man who has won the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO titles among others has yet to turn 30. This is no George Foreman of Frank Bruno coming back for a last hurrah – Fury’s best years could still be ahead of him.
Who’s next for Fury?
The Seferi encounter was admittedly something of a non-event from a sporting perspective, and everyone knew it from the outset. In the run up to the bout, Fury was an incredible 1/500 on with the bookmakers. As boxing betting tips go, this was probably one to leave well alone, although more than £20,000 was wagered on the fight.
Fury’s next opponent has yet to be announced, but will undoubtedly present more of a challenge, and will provide fans and punters with their first real view of whether Fury has a genuine shot of returning to the very pinnacle of the sport.
Tony Bellow has been making plenty of noise on social media. He Tweeted on Sunday that he would “knock Fury out” and challenged the man himself, saying “Let’s do this.” On the face of it, it would be an intriguing match up. Bellow won convincingly over David Haye last month, and it is a fight that Fury’s promoter Frank Warren is not averse to considering. He told reporters: “It’s up to Tony. We could do it before the end of the year.”
Fury, on the other hand, dismissed the notion of a showdown with the 35-year old former WBC Cruiserweight champion. He said: ““I want someone big, not small ones. Look at Wilder and Joshua, they’re big guys. I’ve got to prepare for people like that.”
It is easy to dismiss Fury’s comments as mere showmanship and bluster, but he has a point. In his fight against Seferi, Fury had a weight advantage of a full nine inches in height and five stone in weight. Easing himself in is one thing, but to prepare for a title fight, Fury needs to be challenged.
A title shot this year?
Fury is adamant that he will regain his title by Christmas, and said: “In a couple more fights I will be ready. I’ll have a world title by the end of the year, no problem.” Warren is similarly positive, but a little more guarded. He acknowledges that Fury still needs to shed some weight and that they will take it fight by fight to get his man back to the highest level, but he feels that a title fight this year is a realistic aim.
After Manchester, the rest of the boxing world has yet to be convinced. But all that could change in Belfast.