By Jonny Stapleton
Nicolai Firtha believes Tyson Fury is two years shy of world level and a fight with either of the Klitschkos.
The big Manchester based fighter said he was ready for the world champion brothers after he beat the American champion in the Kings Hall last Saturday night.
However, whilst the experienced Firtha believes Fury has the potential to be king of the big men he claims the British and Commonwealth title holder needs to add experience to his natural ability before he challenges.
The heavyweight, who has Clare heritage, heralded Fury’s sharpness but claims he isn’t the hardest hitter in the division.
“He isn’t the hardest puncher I faced. I have been in there with three world champs and they have hit harder, but to be honest he is the sharpest guy I have been in with. He is sharp as a tack. He is coming. I think two or three years. He has to be really sharp to face the Klitschko. If he trains 365 and gets his nutrition right and has the right people around him then I think two years,” Firtha explained before hinting he thought the stoppage was a little premature.
“He is tough. He has a nice long jab and he whips his shots in. He is a game guy, but I think I took some starch out of him with that shot in the third. I wanted to test his heart. I wanted the fight to go, but that is the ref’s call.
Firtha certainly tested his opponent in the third. He wobbled Fury’s long legs with a right hand that would have brought a wry smile to Martin Rogan’s face.
So good was the shot and bad was Fury’s reaction that the American thought he was seconds away from having his hand raised in victory.
“Hell yeah I thought I was going to stop him in the third,” he declared when he asked about how close he came to stopping the 23 year old prospect.
“I thought this is over. I was ready to stick my hands up. There are two or three windows in every fight to knock a guy out. That was my chance and I went for it. Unfortunately he was able to hold and I couldn’t get my hands off like I wanted to. I was hitting him with hard shots. Big hooks to the head and I though the ref would jump in, but he didn’t and to Tyson’s credit he was able to save himself.”