By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
TYSON FURY insists he is just three fights away from a shot at world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
The 6ft 9in gypsy giant defends his Commonwealth heavyweight belt against Canadian Neven Pajkic, 34, at Event City in Manchester on Saturday.
Unbeaten Fury, 23, could face the winner of Liverpool’s David Price and Essex boy John McDermott in a first defence of his British title early next year before then taking on unbeaten Russian Alexander Povetkin, 32.
A fight with Povetkin would then determine who progresses to face world No.1 Klitschko, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles after outpointing David Haye in July.
Fury, who is due to fight again after next weekend on January 28, has had only 16 professional bouts but feels he is nearly ready to take on Ukrainian Klitschko.
He said: “After this fight I think I’m two fights away from facing Klitschko.
“I’m improving with every fight so I will be ready in three fights for Klitschko – I’m nearly ready now.
“It’s exciting times and this is what I’ve always dreamed of with amazing fights coming up. I’m living the dream right now but I’m looking to keep busy.
“Povetkin’s promoter is not happy about me fighting him because I’m younger, hungrier, faster and more powerful.
“Povetkin and then Klitschko are going to have to fight me sooner or later because I’ve got a top-ten ranking with the governing bodies.
“Pajkic is a good fight for me before Povetkin.
“That fight will definitely happen in spring time next year if he doesn’t bottle it. I’m sure I’m ready for Povetkin and it could even be my next fight after this next one, we will have to see.
“I think it’s an easier fight than when I beat Dereck Chisora because he’s smaller, lighter and older.
“Povetkin is not a big puncher and can’t take a punch like I can.
“Whatever offer Povetkin’s team make I’m sure Channel 5 can match it because if we have to go to Germany for the fight I will have to knock him out to win. It could be held somewhere neutral like Ireland or somewhere else.”
Fury suffered a scare in his last fight when Yank Nicolai Firtha wobbled him in the third round before the Manchester boxer came storming back to force a fifth-round stoppage.
But Fury is happy with his progress and will have new trainer Chris Johnson in his corner for the first time.
He said: “It’s my first fight in Manchester since I turned professional so I’m hoping it will be a good fight for the fans.
“In my last fight I had a little scare in the third round. I got hit on the temple by a good shot but I got my head together and stopped him. I got caught and I had to pay the price.
“But I still thought I was sharp and powerful in my last fight.
“I’ve been working on the jab and it’s an important weapon for me because I’ve got the longest reach in world boxing.
“The jab works well for the Klitschko brothers.
“All they do is jab, jab, jab until the opponent gets tired and then they stop them.
“But I’m not that sort of fighter. I like getting stuck in but I’m trying to use my jab more as I step up in class.”
Tyson Fury v Neven Pajkic is live and exclusive to Channel 5 next Saturday, with the show starting at 9.45pm.