Boxing: Fury picks himself up to stay in world reckoning

Click to follow
The Independent Online

While Audley Harrison was tripping his not-so-light fantastic on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing last night – doing a jive rather than talking it – Tyson Fury, the young British heavyweight champion he has impudently challenged, was quick-stepping his way to a three-rounds victory over Canadian champion Neven Pajkic in Manchester.

For 23-year-old Gypsy goliath Fury it was strictly business, not ballroom, but he had to get up from the floor after a second-round knock-down to stop an opponent in the first defence of his Commonwealth title who, like him, had been unbeaten in 16 contests.

Fury was stunned in the second round of an untidy brawl by an overhand right which put him on his back and at that moment his future seemed in the balance, but he recovered to twice floor the Croatian-born Pajkic in the third before referee Bill Edwards stepped in – much to the disgust of the smaller Pajkic, who complained it was premature. But it seemed a prudent intervention.

"He caught me with a good shot. It shook up my brain," said Fury. "But it woke me up and I can look forward to bigger things."

Fury believes he is only a couple of fights away from those bigger things, the Klitschkos, though Harrison – surely heading for a KO on the dance floor – says he wants to fight him in an eliminator. "I don't want to go backwards," said Fury. Bizarre things happen in boxing, so never say never.

There's a new kid on the blocks and the name has a familiar boxing ring about it. Chris Eubank Jnr, son of the former world super middleweight champion, launched his pro career by beating Lithuanian Kirilas Psonko in a fourth-round stoppage.

A modest 22-year-old, Eubank may not have the strutting demeanour of his dad but may well have a touch of his talent. He has also adopted his father's "Simply the Best" entrance with the same leap over the top rope. But there the similarity ends.

Eubank Jnr is a go-forward fighter with a good mix of orthodox punches. His opponent offered little behind a high-held guard and was finally worn down. "I wanted to enjoy myself and live the moment," said Eubank, who has been schooled secretly in the United States. "I jabbed and picked my shots."

New promoter Mick Hennessy has already hailed him as "the best middleweight in Britain", which is ridiculously premature. It remains to be seen if the paternal influence evident from Eubank Snr's advice at ringside is beneficial.

Welshman Andrew Selby has secured the flyweight berth in Britain's Olympic team for 2012 without throwing a punch in what was scheduled to be the second bout of an anticipated box-off trilogy against England's Khalid Yafai.

He failed to make the weight yesterday for Round Two after losing a 26-12 points decision in Friday's first encounter in the British Amateur Championships at York Hall, London. So the best of three became best of one for the European gold and world silver medallist Selby.

Fellow 22-year-old Yafai, who said he damaged a knuckle in the bout, was 300g over the limit and unable to shed the surplus. "I am gutted. But I wish Andrew well. We are still mates and I hope he gets the gold," said Yafai.