17 September 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Rising heavyweight star Tyson Fury will make his long-awaited Irish debut on the undercard of Bernard Dunnes world title defence against Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym at Dublins O2 Arena on September 26.
The undefeated 22-year-old, whose father hails from Galway, has long spoken of his desire to fight on the Emerald Isle and is delighted to be finally getting the chance to do so.
“I cant wait to fight at The O2,” revealed Fury. “I was ringside there when Bernard won the World title in March and what a night that was. The atmosphere was incredible, I dont think Ive ever experienced anything like it so Im really looking forward to boxing there myself now and putting on a show for the Irish fans.
“I had hoped to fight for the Irish heavyweight title on the show but nobody seems to want to fight me for it. Im very proud of my Irish roots and I represented Ireland as an amateur on a few occasions so it would be great to win the Irish title as a pro.
“My dad was born in Tuam and my grandmother on my mums side was a Tipperary woman. In fact, myself and Andy Lee are actually second cousins – his Granny and my Granny were sisters.”
Fury will arrive in Dublin on the back of his English title success over John McDermott last Friday night. The bout was shrouded in controversy, with many believing that McDermott had done enough to get the decision, but while Fury admits that he had not been at his best, he still feels he was a worthy winner.
“I wasnt happy with my performance against McDermott,” he conceded. “My preparation for the fight wasnt too clever. I havent been able to get good sparring over in England so for the McDermott fight I actually did some sparring in Ireland and Germany.
“To be honest, I probably overdid the sparring and ended up doing too much in Germany. I was sparring between eight and ten rounds every day which in the long term will stand to me because it was great experience but it meant that by the time I got in the ring with McDermott I was missing the snap that you need in your punches.
“I still thought I won the fight pretty comfortably though and I know a lot of people who were at the fight saw it that way as well but the commentary on TV made it sound a lot closer than it was. I think if you watch the fight back with the sound off it becomes a completely different fight. In my opinion, the commentary was terribly biased towards McDermott.
“Ive watched it back on tape a few times and I thought I won it by six rounds to three with one even. I certainly wasnt happy with my own performance because it was the worst of me and the very best of John McDermott on the night.
“I think I did prove, however, that I have the chin, stamina and heart for the game even though I didnt show any of my talent on the night. I had him going in the last two rounds, though, and had it been a 12-round fight I believe Id have stopped him because he had nothing left at that point.”
The late Darren Sutherland, who was tragically found dead at his London flat earlier this week, was ringside for Furys clash with McDermott. Fury freely admits that he still cannot quiet believe that Dazzler has gone and plans to dedicate his performance in Dublin next weekend to the Olympic bronze medallist.
“Its come as a complete shock to everyone in boxing. To think that Darren was at my fight last weekend and now hes no longer with us. He came across as a really nice lad and it looked like he was really going to do big things in the pro game. Hes a real loss to Irish boxing and my heart goes out to his family.”