It is 15 years since Britain last staged a credible world
heavyweight title fight - let's pass on the David Haye-Audley
Harrison farce in 2010 - but this summer will see Tyson Fury in a
worthy challenge for the crown on home territory.
The big man from Manchester is set to face either Wladimir
Klitschko or Deontay Wilder, who both hold versions of the title,
and my plan is for it to take place at a London football
Millwall was where then champion Lennox Lewis ko'd South African
Frans Botha back in July 2000 - the first heavyweight title fight
in Britain since Frank Bruno-Oliver McCall in 1995 - but
bigger venues like Wembley and Arsenal are in the mix for this.
I flew to New York last week on business and had talks with
representatives of both Klitschko and Wilder, as well as their
respective TV companies, HBO and Showtime. They all seem keen on a
fight with Fury. Why? Because he's an exciting, genuine contender
who is bringing a fresh look to the division.
He's the hottest young heavyweight out there. You've got
Showtime and HBO saying that's the fight they want. And he
will definitely meet one of them. One hundred per cent.
We haven't reached agreement on anything yet but both champions
seem up for it and Tyson will choose the one he wants. Obviously
his preference is Klitschko, and I want him to have every advantage
which is why I will do all I can to put it on over here.
Fury is the mandatory WBO challenger for Klitschko, who must
first defend his other belts -the WBA, IBF and IBO against the
undefeated American Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden on 25
Let's be honest, Klitschko has been a good champion but he bores
the pants off you whereas Fury is over a decade younger, has more
pizzazz and his giant physique even outmatches the Ukrainian's. I
think Fury would be too mobile for him. He has a fantastic
jab, a decent boxing brain, and a good chin.
The WBO have stated categorically that after Klitschko meets
Jennings he has 30 days to negotiate with us. Obviously it's all
about money if the fight is to take place over here but I think we
can get there. This won't be Klitschko against one of his
hand-picked pushovers but if for some reason he doesn't fancy it
and ducks out he must vacate the title.
In that case Wilder, who now has the WBC belt held for so long
by Wladimir's big brother Vitali is ready and willing to make the
Transatlantic trip. He has already fought here once -albeit rather
briefly as it was on my promotion.
BoxNation and HBO are pushing hard for the Klitschko fight and
their president Ken Hershman will be at London's O2 ringside on
Saturday night when Fury meets Christian Hammer.
Of course all this depends on Fury coming through without mishap
against the Germany-based Romanian, whom is no stiff. He is a rated
fighter who can bang so this is a big gamble. But one of of the
things I like about Tyson is that he's prepared to take risks.
I confess I am a Fury convert. I wasn't a great believer at
first though I've always known he has heart having seen him get up
off the floor to win.
He impressed me with the way he beat my man Dereck Chisora, an
aggressive front foot fighter, last time out. He dominated the
fight, adapted his style intelligently by switch-hitting and
leaving Chisora totally bewildered.
Fury can be infuriating with some of his antics. He's certainly
colourful -sometimes a bit too colourful with his language, which
has cost him a good few quid in fines from the Board of Control But
recently he seems to have curbed his tongue and I suspect this may
be his father's influence.
Fury Snr, who I remember from his days as Gypsy John when he
fought for the British heavyweight title, is back home after
spending five years at Her Majesty's pleasure for assault.
Now both father and son seem to be working together. Perhaps it
is a similar scenario to the snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan who
had a lot of problems while father was inside but settled down once
he came out.
Tyson's dad named his eldest son after his own ring hero, and
was much involved in his early career. Tyson is obviously delighted
he is back in his camp and will be at ringside again. It seems to
have given him even more motivation.
Fury Snr says he can understand why his return to the public eye
may receive a negative response from people given the nature of his
crime, but feels he has now 'paid his price' and wants a chance to
give something back to society.
"People are entitled to their opinion," he says. "All I can do
is keep it family, keep it boxing, and do the right thing.
"I have a wealth of experience in the fight game and those, and
the experiences I have in prison, I can pass on to young people to
make sure they don't get in trouble."
Personally I think the heavyweight division is as exciting now
as it has been for the last ten or 15 years - probably since the
days of the other Tyson.
John Fury won't be then only dad keeping fatherly watch on his
offspring on Saturday. Inevitably Chris Eubank will be posing and
pouting as young Christopher engages with Russian Dmitri Chudinov
for the WBA's interim world middleweight title.
Chudinov is yet another of those unbeaten invaders from
the east who are beginning to dominate rings in the west. I
wouldn't put him in the class of the GGG man - Gennady Golvkin, who
showed why he is the best fighter in the world with his dismantling
of Britain's Martin Murray but Eubank Jnr. has to demonstrate that
he's learned from that narrow defeat by Billy Joe Saunders.
Eubank Jnr. has pedigree, speed and great heart but he also has
quite a few faults which I hope his observant but over-protective
old man has been ironing out.
So the big one is finally signed and sealed, and will be
delivered in Las Vegas on 2 May. But other scraps remain to be
resolved over Mayweather v Pacquiao, not least who wins the TV
rights in this country. Sky are in the bidding, but for nearly the
last three years all Mayweather's fights have been on BoxNation,
who have also shown Pacquiao's last three. So we are certainly in
But I believe any suggestion that ITV will fork out the cash for
a contest that starts at four in the morning is a total
non-starter. However, it is good that they are returning to boxing
with the Carl Frampton-Chris Avalos world title fight in Belfast on
Saturday. It should be a relatively comfortable night for the
Ulsterman and we've staggered our two major fights at the O2
so they don't clash with ITV's late night screening.
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