Boxing: Wladimir Klitschko clash still some way off despite grit and guts of Tyson Fury
Nathan Cleverly moved from neglected world champion to the centre of attention with a flawless display while Tyson Fury survived a wild night to lead a confused crowd in song at the end of his New York debut on Saturday night.
Fury had talked and talked in the weeks and days before the first bell at the Felt Forum, the cavernous basement venue at Madison Square Garden, and there were many hoping for him to be silenced by the educated fists of Steve Cunningham. It looked like Cunningham, who was three stone lighter and six inches shorter, would deliver their wish when Fury, standing square and with his left hand low, was hit and dropped with the first punch of the second round.
"I was caught, I went down and then I got up to win," said Fury, after his singing had silenced the crowd. "I have grown up watching real men fight and real men get up when they are knocked down, get on with it and win. That is what a heavyweight has to do. "
Fury was fighting without his mentor, trainer and uncle in his corner after a visa mishap left, Peter Fury fuming at the Canadian border; it is unlikely that the fight would have started, continued and ended in any other way. Fury is a reckless attraction, a fighter with excessive heart, tremendous natural talent and a tendency to make his fights slugfests like the clashes that illuminated the 1970s and 80s.
On Saturday night Fury was out on his feet and at the mercy of Cunningham, who looked at times like a peak Evander Holyfield, for several rounds; he had a point deducted in round five for holding, which was the only way he was staying upright. However, it was also in the fifth that Fury's bulk first started to drain Cunningham's strength and desire. It was, make no mistake, the type of fight scriptwriters refer to when they create ridiculous fight scenes.
"Man, he is just so big and he can fight," admitted a crushed and tearful Cunningham, who was stopped for the first time in his career. "I thought that he was down for good when I dropped him but he just got up more determined."
It needs to be said, to put the fight in context, that last December Cunningham lost a disgraceful split decision to Tomasz Adamek, who is considered the No 1 challenger for the world titles held by the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali.
In round seven, as Cunningham was being manhandled with disturbing ease, Fury held up Cunningham's head with his left forearm and delivered a cruel right hand to the chin. Cunningham went down heavily and had no chance of beating the count. The final punch and illegal move, by the way, would have the delighted the kings of filthy fighting Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali.
Fury, who is 24 and unbeaten in 21 fights, now has a final eliminator for Wladimir Klitschko's IBF heavyweight title against Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev, another of the "Eastern European stiffs", before getting a championship fight. On Saturday night he failed to convince everybody but he showed once again that grit and guts are crucial, and often missing, ingredients in a heavyweight boxer's construction.
Cleverly is much better at containing his emotions and fought with the right amount of brain and force to win every single round against Robin Krasniqi, his mandatory challenger, and retain his WBO light-heavyweight title at Wembley. Cleverly, performing like a vintage Joe Calzaghe, seldom wasted a punch, moved unnecessarily or took too many silly punches. It was a masterclass of control, a welcome outing for the purists.
"The plan was to just get through this guy because he was a mandatory and I had to fight him," said Cleverly. "Now I want the fights that will really test me and I know that they can be made."
In a bizarre decision by the WBO, an organisation that is based in Puerto Rico but, like all the sanctioning bodies, often delivers orders based on fantasy, Cleverly has another immediate mandatory against Jrgen Brhmer, a German who is a balding bad-boy and felon from the old east of the country.
"I would like to make the fights the fans want, not the ones that the sanctioning bodies order, " said Frank Warren, the promoter. "I will speak to all involved and see what can be done about Brhmer." In theory Cleverly could fight the WBA champion Beibut Shumenov as chief support when Bernard Hopkins defends his IBF title against Karo Murat in Brooklyn on 27 July. Hopkins, 48, is the weight's prize cash attraction and has agreed to fight Cleverly.
There will be some serious late-night fixing necessary to get Cleverly to Shumenov without meeting Brhmer, and to get Manchester's Fury in the opposite corner to Pulev. In boxing the fighting has always been the easy part.
After the shocking outcome of the last UFC 112 championship UFC betting world is in lurch and amazed whether to place their bet on Penn, eight time UFC world champion or on Edgar, who defeated Penn in last UFC 112 event in April. The line at www.sportsbook.com has Penn as the current favorite at -300.
Penn started his Brazilain Jiu Jitsu training under Ralph Garcie at the age of 17. Soon after entering into the World Jiu Jitsu championship he won black belt from Andrea Pederneiras and then bagged the gold medal from the World Jiu Jitsu championships in Rio de Janeiro with such an unbelievable speed that the Jiu Jitsu was given the nickname, The Prodigy.
Penn is a trained MMA fighter. His strength and striking skills are enough for giving tough time to his opponents. He is blessed with unbelievable submission skills and legendary flexibility that gives him the intensity to translate his defeat into win in a flash of seconds.
Penn possesses solid wrestling skills, takedown defense and excellent overall boxing qualities. His hands are electric fast and hits very hard.
On the otherhand, Penn’s UFC 118 opponent, Frankie Edgar, cannot be considered less than Penn in any comparison. Frankie Edgar had proved that he is a tough competition for Penn by defeating Penn in UFC 112 championship in April 2010.
Frankie Edgar is the reigning UFC lightweight champion and purple belt holder in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He had a record of eight undefeated streak of fights at a stretch.
Edgar too possesses excellent takedown defense and ground control skills. He is technically a very sound boxer with high speed and toughness.
The UFC 118 world championship will only decide whether winning of Edgar was fluke or he is the UFC’s new champion or the Prodigy would save his title and continue to rule the world of UFC.
Let’s proceed towards the second set of players Randy Couture Vs. James Toney who will participate in the main card UFC 118 round. Both these players are in their forties and are from different types of games i.e. Randy Couture is the boxing champion and James Toney is an MMA champion.
Though a UFC bout between two forty-year’s olds seems to be very uninteresting and very sluggish but these are not any ordinary forty-year’s old players these are the big names of their respective fields.
The opening match will be played between Marcus Davis and Nate Diaz.
Marcus Davis is known as the ‘Irish Hand Grenade’ who had exploded against Jonathan Goulet at UFC 113 on May8. Davis scored a technical knockout finish and snapped a rare two-fight losing skid.
On the other hand, Davis’s opponent Diaz played impressively in his 117lb debut against Rory Markham and would try to establish himself in this category by defeating Davis.