Tyson Fury 'remains on course to challenge Klitschkos'
Promoter Mick Hennessy says Tyson Fury remains on course to challenge the Klitschkos for heavyweight supremacy after a dramatic win on Saturday.
The Briton defended his Commonwealth title for the first time by stopping Canadian Neven Pajkic but was floored in the second round in Manchester.
"He's just got to stop getting drawn into a gun-fight and start being smart," said Hennessy.
"He wants the Klitschkos and 18 months from now he'll beat the Klitschkos."
Wladimir Klitschko, who beat Britain's David Haye in July, is the WBA, IBF and WBO title-holder, while older brother Vitali holds the WBC belt.
On the face of it Fury, who stands 6ft 9in and weighs in at 18st, is a physical match for both brothers, but the bout against Pajkic suggested the British champion is some way short of a world title tilt.
Despite only stopping five opponents in his 16 professional wins before Saturday and giving away almost two stones in weight, Pajkic made a mockery of his reputation as a light puncher by dumping Fury to the canvas with an overhand right in round two.
However, Fury responded to the first knockdown of his unblemished 17-fight career in devastating fashion, flooring Pajkic twice before stopping the Canadian 17 seconds from the end of the next round.
"He's got a lot of work to do, but by the time he gets there in 16 months' time he'll be a different fighter," said Hennessy.
Hennessy is planning for Fury to fight again in Blackpool in January before making his US debut at New York's Madison Square Garden in March.
"Hopefully I'm going to have a big year next year with plenty of fights, plenty of wins and plenty of excitement," said Fury.
"I wouldn't fear going in with any man in the world. I believe I can beat any man."
Meanwhile, Liverpool's David Price wants a match with Manchester-born Fury, if the former Olympic bronze medallist can get past John McDermott on 21 January.
"I beat Fury in the amateurs and I will beat him in the pros and I just hope that both promoters can get this fight on," said Price, 28.
"I give Tyson Fury credit. To get up off the canvas and go on to win the fight takes a lot of heart and courage and I hope he shows the same guts by taking me on.
"This is a fight the British public want and deserve."
Tyson Fury snaps out of sleepwalk to keep Klitschko title dream alive
• Heavyweight expects to be world champion in 18 months
The boxing landscape is not quite as bleak as it is sometimes painted. And, standing in the middle distance of the canvas are a 6ft 9in heavyweight with fists more reliable than his chin or his concentration – always a winning mix – and a quieter but superb reincarnation of a British legend.
Tyson Fury is heading for Madison Square Garden next St Patrick's Day, chastened after being dumped on the seat of his pants in Manchester on Saturday night for the first time in his 23-year-old life, and Christopher Eubank Jr, a winning debutant on the undercard, might go along for the ride. Shortly after that, it says here, Fury will be fighting "one of the Klitschkos" for a world title.
And why not? Boxing accommodates all dreams and disasters. Cynics who scoff at Fury for tumbling at the feet of the unbeaten but hitherto anonymous, light-fisted Canadian Neven Pajkic will point to the Mancunian's previous two fights, in which he was rocked before winning, as evidence of his fragility. It is a problem not of bone but brain. Fury, unbeaten in 17 fights, can certainly take a punch, as he showed beating Dereck Chisora to win this title in July, but he has a dangerously lackadaisical attitude to his trade. He arrived as if wandering through a warehouse looking for garden supplies, not altogether inappropriate in the cavernous surroundings, Event City in Trafford Park, and left with his Commonwealth belt still in his kitbag. He gets the job done.
Pajkic, who had stopped only five of his 16 opponents, seized on Fury's sleepwalking indolence and clipped him with a short right to the whiskers in round two after taking the first. The champion got up, briefly inconvenienced, to put Pajkic over twice in the third and was laying into him freely when the referee, Phil Edwards, stepped in. The visitor was incensed, rightly so; had it been Fury in his situation, the action undoubtedly would have continued.
"He was on unsteady feet and he was going to get knocked out," Fury said. "I told the referee he shouldn't have stopped it because I wanted to knock him out and he said 'Exactly'. He was there to stop it. I don't know why I was so relaxed going into that fight when he was a dangerous undefeated fighter. But I do believe one of these days I will be world heavyweight champion."
His promoter, Mick Hennessy, read from the same script. "We are talking about some exciting names for Madison Square Garden," he said. "He is a phenomenon, the full package, but he has got to stop getting drawn into a gun fight. In 16 months, he'll be more mature and better conditioned. I honestly believe he can beat WBA champion Alexander Povetkin tomorrow but he is looking beyond that. In 18 months he will beat the Klitschkos."
Fury sparred with Wladimir Klitschko before he outpointed David Haye in the summer but he is far from ready to challenge for the Ukrainian's legitimate versions of the title. "I have been rocked in my previous two fights against Chisora then Nicolai Firtha two months ago, put down in this one. Nobody knows what is going to happen. That is what is exciting about me. I never doubted myself even when I was on the floor. I thought right, 'It is time to get rid of him', and that is what I have done."
An old friend lit up the fixture when he accompanied his son on his professional debut. Christopher Eubank Jr boxed beautifully to stop peacenik Kirilas Psonko in the fourth of six scheduled rounds. "I've got royal blood in my veins," he said. "It is in my DNA. I am an entertainer. I don't go out there like a lot of guys and just get punched. I like to look good." It was easy against an opponent who did exactly the opposite but Eubank has talent.
His father sat beside him, resplendent in a dark, tailored, neck-high jacket and said: "I have only given him direction and he has had to do everything. He has had to suffer in Las Vegas where he spent his adopted, teenage years, he has had to suffer in Cuba and suffer in Angola. We have a livewire. He has world title potential. I cannot find any faults or flaws. He is far more advanced than he should be for the experience. Any father wants his son to be better than he was. This is something I truly pray for."
Junior's advisor is Ambrose Mendy. We live, again, in interesting times.
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