Fury aims to measure up

Manchester Evening News Stuart Brennan21st May, 2009

The 6ft 9ins Manchester heavyweight has smashed the five opponents put in front of him since turning pro last year, and is rapidly becoming Britain's hottest heavyweight prospect since Lennox Lewis.

But all of those opponents have been smaller men, leading some critics to question whether he has the ability to take on any of the giants, who populate the elite heavyweight strata these days.

Fury intends to begin answering the question in his next two fights.

On Saturday night, he is pitched in against 6ft 7 Irishman Scott Belshaw in his first eight-round fight at Watford Coliseum.

And if he comes through that unscathed, he is being lined up to take on seven foot Russian Evgeny Orlov, in Wigan on June 13.

But Fury is undaunted and is relishing the chance to home in on his first title - he claims he will be British and Commonwealth champion by Christmas as long as no-one ducks him.

"I'm more than happy to be fighting someone close to my own size," says Fury, whose fight will be shown live on ITV4.

"Heavyweights have to be judged by weight, not height, otherwise you would say Mike Tyson was a nothing, at 5ft 10, while Tommy Burns won the world title at 5ft 7.

"To the average person in the street it might look like a mis-match when I get in with someone who is 6ft but it has its disadvantages.

"The pressure is right on me to knock out a smaller man, and I would get criticised for not doing it. And the smaller men tend to be quicker and harder to hit.

"You can hit the big lads a lot easier, and even if you don't stop them or knock them out, it doesn't look so bad."

Belshaw has won ten of his 11 pro fights and avenged his only defeat - a points loss to Daniel Peret, three months later. Fury retired Peret inside two rounds in February.

Belshaw also holds the British record for the fastest knockout, sparking Lee Webb just 10 seconds into his debut in 2006, and has stopped seven of his 10 victims in total.

Credit

Fury said: "I'm just glad someone has stepped forward. Full credit to Scott, because it seems that none of the other prospects out there are willing to fight other prospects.

"Derek Chisora is lined up for a shot at Danny Williams' British title in June, after nine wins. Why should he get a shot ahead of me? He was taken eight rounds in his last fight by Peret, who I stopped in two.

"I seem to be the only heavyweight, who wants to fight all the others. The rest seem happy to fight nobodies, build records and earn a few quid.

"I want things to move faster than that. I want to be British and Commonwealth champ by the end of this year.

"They are two great titles, but my sights are already set higher. I truly believe I can be world champion in a couple of years, because there is nothing out there to stop me."

Fury has been working hard on facing tall men. He flew to Berlin last week to spar with unbeaten Finnish giant Robert Helenius, who stands 6ft 6 and then had a session with Orlov.

"It was an odd experience and at first I wasn't getting my right hand off, because I have never punched up into the sky before," said the 20-year-old former British amateur super-heavyweight champ. "But my jab was working perfectly, as were my left hand, body shots and overhand rights."

Fighting the big men is something Fury will have to become unaccustomed to - Liverpool's David Price is likely to be one of his main rivals and stands 6ft 8.

And the world scene is dominated by hulks, with the Klitschko brothers Vitali and Vladimir, who between them hold the WBC, IBF and WBO belts, both 6ft 6 and WBA `Beast from the East' Nikolay Valuev an enormous 7ft.

But Fury has to deal with Belshaw before he can start dreaming of any giant-slaying, and the man from Lisburn is up for the fight.

"It's going to be a night to remember," he said. "Fury's a good technical boxer but he doesn't have my punch - he's beatable."

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