Manchester-born Tyson Fury re-stated his claim as the ‘saviour of the heavyweight division’ after knocking out Steve Cunningham in seven rounds at Madison Square Garden.
Unbeaten Fury, 24, was given a stern test by the much-smaller American, who knocked him down in the second round and appeared to be up on the scorecards.
However, Fury used his giant frame to tire out the former cruiserweight world-champion before sending him to the canvas with a huge right hook.
“He put up a good fight but he lost to the better fighter,” he said.
“It’s a learning experience, many are picked but few are chosen – I’m the ultimate fighter and will fight anybody.
“It was a matter of time before I got to him. Lennox Lewis said ‘you can run but not hide’ and he [Cunningham] was running around but when I caught him it was curtains.”
Fury brought his trash-talking style into the ring and began round one attempting to humiliate his 36-year-old opponent, mocking him with feints on his way to victory.
Yet the Wilmslow-born’s fighter’s script was torn up a minute into the second round as Cunningham looped a powerful overhand cross over Fury’s guard, knocking him to the floor.
A visibly-stunned Fury held on for the rest of the round and began to lean on his smaller quarry in rounds three and four, barrelling forward with sweeping shots.
But ‘USS’ stayed in the fight and peppered Fury with more shots, debatably winning round five and giving a good account of himself in the sixth.
And as round seven came around a potential victory could have been on the cards for Cunningham, only to be floored by tremendous right hook and unable to beat the count.
Though Fury was tested far more than his pre-fight bluster made out, he insisted he was confident of victory even when he visited the canvas.
“You can’t go swimming and not get wet,” added Fury. “I got caught with a big swinging right hand and if you do not see them coming then you will go down.”
The six-foot-nine boxer’s record rises to 21-0 (15 KOs) and now has to face unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev for the right to fight Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF heavyweight title.
Image courtesy of Kristal Hart, via YouTube, with thanks