He has one of the best names in boxing, and now fight fans will get a better sense if Tyson Fury has what it takes to possibly challenge the Klitschko brothers' chokehold on the heavyweight division.
Fury, a 20-0 Brit, will fight Steve Cunningham, a 25-5 Philly fighter, on April 20 at the Madison Square Garden Theater. The winner becomes the No. 2 man in the eyes of the IBF and must meet the No. 1 contender, or the leading available contender, and thus establish a mandatory challenger for IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko.
Fury, 24, is 6-foot-9 and will have a height advantage, while the 6-3 Cunningham, 36, an ex-cruiserweight champ, has the experience edge. Cunningham looked sharp in his last outing, a scrap against Pole Tomasz Adamek, which many if not most watchers, outside of the judges, thought he won.
The fight will be broadcast at 4 p.m. on NBC as a special two-hour afternoon presentation of NBC Sports' Fight Night.
"Cunningham's got all the tools," Fury said. "A former world champion, good fighter, he's got a lot of skill. I'm looking to put on a devastating performance, the best of my career to date. I'm absolutely ecstatic to be fighting at Madison Square Garden. It goes back in history and I can't wait to put my name with a long list of champions who have fought there. I'm a historian of boxing myself, so this is definitely the pinnacle of my career so far."
"I'm looking forward to getting back in the ring on April 20th to face Fury," Cunningham said. "For the first time in my career I have a guy coming to my country to face me. I am certain he's never faced a fighter like me. I am prepared to fight a great fight and come out with a victory."
Main Events' Kathy Duva talked about the scrap: "Steve put on a fantastic performance against Adamek on Dec. 22 and deserves to be rewarded with this fight. We also get to introduce Tyson Fury, a young heavyweight contender, to the American public in a true crossroads match."
Tickets to the bout, starting at $25, will go on sale next week.