In a revealing fight, undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 KO’s) had to really struggle tonight in stopping former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham (25-6, 12 KO’s) in the 7th round in a fight televised by NBC from Madison Square Garden, New York. Fury is awfully lucky that he was fighting a guy 44 lbs. lighter than him because Fury got dropped in the 2nd round by a looping right hand from Cunningham.
It’s hard to picture Fury surviving that knockdown if he were fighting someone that could put his punches together with more power and better work rate than Cunningham. The only time Cunningham was able to hit Fury hard was when he would load up with everything he had. He wasn’t able to punch with heavyweight power with every shot and he wasn’t able to throw more than an occasional shot. Most of the time, Cunningham was moving around and looking to land one punch at a time.
In the 7th, Fury forced Cunningham up against the ropes than gave him a hard shove that the referee allowed him to get away with and then dropped Cunningham with two hard right hands to the head. Cunningham looked tired at that point in the fight from Fury having been leaning on him a lot in their clinches. That’s partly Cunningham’s fault because he kept initiating clinches with Fury instead of listening to his trainer and avoiding the clinches because he was getting mauled too much.
Fury lost a point in the 5th round from using his head in close. That wasn’t the only case of Fury playing dirty. He shoved Cunningham after the 1st round had ended for no reason and the referee failed to do anything about it.
The win still was far from impressive because of the knockdown that Fury suffered in the 2nd. Cunningham isn’t a big puncher, yet he was able to drop Fury and stun him on at least one other occasion. It’s impossible not to see this fight and wonder what someone like Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne or the Klitschkos would be able to do to Fury if they were able to land even harder shots than the one he was knocked down with. I kind of think Fury was exposed in this fight and I just don’t see him being able to defeat any of the bigger heavyweights with heavyweight size.
You’ve got to give Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy most of the credit for this fight because he selected Cunningham and that’s good matchmaking. He’s done a good job of picking out guys like Cunningham and Martin Rogan for Fury to stay unbeaten. However, the training wheels have to come off someday and when that day comes for Fury I don’t think it’s going to be a pretty picture.
Other boxing action on the card:
Curtis Stevens UD 8 Derrick Finley
Adam Kownacki TKO 2 Calbert Lewis
Hughie Fury TKO 1 Alex Rozman
Karl Dargan TKO 2 Edward Valdez
Josh Harris TKO 5 Sevdail Sherifi