Thursday, September 10, 2009

British Scene: Tyson Fury vs John McDermott Preview

Matt Chudley previews tomorrow night's Sky show featuring British heavyweights Tyson Fury and John McDermott battling it out for McDermott's English title.

Photo © Justin McKie

The most talked about prospect and arguably one of the brightest in the UK, Tyson Fury (pictured right) makes his first foray into the 10 round scheduled distance and title contention when he takes on John McDermott in Brentwood, Essex this Friday.

In doing so, Fury will be facing very different circumstances to the ones he has become accustomed to so far in his pro career. Having fought as the house fighter in front of favourable crowd support in all his previous contests, Fury will now be stepping into his opponent’ s backyard as the challenger after McDermott's promoter Frank Maloney won the purse bids to this English title contest.

This card will also be the first in over 2 years to be televised live on Sky without the presence of the traditional 12 round British, Commonwealth or European title fights. The previous occasion was David Haye's heavyweight debut against Tomasz Bonin and following the postponement of the originally scheduled headliner between Gary Davis and Ian Napa, the broadcaster has deemed that Fury's appeal is strong enough to carry the card.

Storming out to 7-0 with all the wins coming early, Fury has held little regard for his contemporaries in the pro ranks thus far and has hounded his domestic rivals at every opportunity. An onslaught of sound bytes and press releases would rarely endear a fighter to the public but to date Fury has made good on all the hype in taking on as good a competition as could be expected and proving to be the aggressive and powerful heavyweight craved by the fans to this point.

After looking out of shape against the 3-6 Aleksandrs Selezens last time out following a run of niggling injuries, Fury has left little to chance and once again traveled to Germany to get quality sparring amongst the large contingent of Eastern European heavies based there. With British champ Danny Williams risking his title by stepping into the next prizefighter tournament, Fury could soon find himself fighting for the vacant Lonsdale belt with a good performance on Friday and will once again be eager to make a statement of intent to the rest of the division.

Compiling a fairly modest 25-5 record and always appearing to be carrying a little excess weight, John McDermott has received little fan fare to date but has proved that he belongs at British title level after dropping controversial majority and split decisions to reigning British champ Danny Williams in his last two fights. After extending his record against very poor opposition to a soft 16-0 McDermott was dispensed of by the very average Nikolay Popov and Mark Krence and put to the sword by Matt Skelton in under two minutes. However, he has since produced a credible win over Scott Gammer and can rightly feel aggrieved with the decisions of the judges in those defeats to Williams.

With his greater maturity and experience McDermott is unlikely to lose the fight before he steps into the ring like many who have been intimidated by the 6'7 puncher and will be looking to soak up the pressure early and see if Fury becomes discouraged when things don't go his way. Should McDermott see the 4th and 5th rounds, Fury's stamina may also be tested since he has yet to go beyond 4 rounds let alone 10.

On the under-card…

Former British light middleweight champion Gary Woolcombe will be taking on a yet to be named opponent, as he looks to get back in line for another shot at domestic honours. Having won the Lonsdale belt in December of 2007, Woolcombe lose by stoppage to Ryan Rhodes in his first defense. With Rhodes taking on Jamie Moore for the European crown next month, the path appears open for Woolcombe to work his way back into the mix for a shot against current British champion, Anthony Small.

Also in action is 7-0 flyweight Ashley Sexton who stays busy against 17-7-1 Brazilian Darli Goncalves Pires as he builds towards a British title challenge. Former British bantamweight champ Martin Power also sees action against the 5-0-1 Stuart Hall, while Frank Maloney's own giant heavyweight prospect Tom Dallas looks to make an impression against the 12-15-1 Hungarian Mihaly Nemet.

e-mail Matt Chudley

Video of Tyson Fury warming up before his fight with Scott Belshaw courtesy of Justin McKie: