Tyson Fury: What's Next for the Big Heavyweight?
Tyson Fury moves onward and upward.
Last Saturday, 6'9" (206cm) British heavyweight Tyson Fury (18-0, 13 KO) stopped Irish Champion Martin Rogan (14-2, 7 KO) to elevate his unbeaten streak to eighteen.
The 40 year old Rogan, whose prime years are seemingly behind him, landed some crisp right hands in the early rounds and looked poised to give young Fury a difficult run until he was floored by a big Tyson Fury left to the head in Round 3. At that moment, the momentum shifted and Rogan adopted a more defensive approach.
The end came in the 5th Round when Fury leveled Rogan for the second time, catching the Belfast native with a powerful right hook body shot. Although Rogan beat the count, his corner stopped the fight to prevent their fighter from taking an unnecessary beating.
Given Fury has relinquished his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, there's growing speculation about who the 23 year old will challenge next. Some insiders assert Tyson is still a bit too green to challenge a top five heavyweight and that it would make more sense for him to fight for the European Union Heavyweight Title that was vacated by Robert Helenius due to injury. If Team Fury chooses that route, their man would likely meet the winner of Kubrat Pulev (15-0, 7 KO) vs Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KO) which takes place May 5th.
It remains to be seen if Tyson Fury would be favored over Pulev or Dimitrenko but both men have faced and beaten better opposition than Fury and would undoubtedly be a step up in class for the young Brit.
The fight British fans are clamoring for is Tyson Fury vs David Price in a showdown of big, young undefeated British heavyweights who are seemingly on a collision course.
Price, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the super heavyweight division, stands 6'8" (203 cm) and appears to be on the same path Fury is on. And although his resume lacks a name opponent, Price is scheduled to fight former British Commonwealth Champion Sam Sexton in May.
Many believe Fury vs Price represents Tyson's biggest, most lucrative 'reasonble' fight at the moment but his handlers appear content to cultivate him a little longer before taking major risks.
And while critics slam Team Fury for their selection of opponents, some forget another young heavyweight named Tyson, 27 years ago, didn't fight risky opposition until he'd engaged in 20+ pro bouts.
Since Fury stated his desire to fight an American, some have named veteran Michael Grant (48-4, 36 KO) as a possible opponent. Grant holds the very fringe WBF title but its a "world" title nonetheless. Despite his formidable record, Grant arguably hasn't defeated a top ten heavyweight since stopping Andrew Golota in 1999. At 6'7"(201 cm) and 250-260 lbs Michael Grant is a giant like Fury - But unlike the UK's rising heavyweight, Grant has faced elite competition and possesses significant ring experience and a deep professional pedigree. As a result, Fury's handlers may seek other options or engage another fight or two before stepping up to meet a fighter of Grant's caliber.
Another American Team Fury might be interested in is boxing legend James Toney (74-7-3, 45 KO). The 43 year old fighter known as "Lights Out" is well past his prime but still possesses skills good enough to wallop a few heavyweights in the top forty.
Never at a loss for words, the loquacious Toney would likely be a big draw in a classic battle pitting old pro against young star and accomplished little man against a still-developing big man. Size is also an element that would make Toney vs Fury intriguing as the older man would be giving up nearly 11 inches (28 cm) to Fury.
Stylistically, Tyson Fury would match up well with Toney due to Tyson's massive advantages in height and reach and Toney's diminished reflexes. Nonetheless, Toney's ring savvy and technical skills would undoubtedly make Toney vs Fury a compelling match-up. Lastly, Toney travelled to Moscow last year to fight Denis Lebedev, proving the American will fight overseas if the money is right.
Other potential American challengers for Tyson Fury include Monte Barrett (35-9-2, 20 KO) and Ray Austin (28-6-4, 18 KO).
"Everyone in boxing must know now that the only man who can beat the Klitschkos is Tyson Fury. Tyson is a modern day heavyweight, he's 6ft 9' but he also has the speed, the heart, the hunger, the chin and the power to beat either one of them."
- Promoter Mike Hennessy, September 12, 2011