GATINEAU, Quebec, Canada - The worldwide branding campaign of undefeated Irish Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and is set to explode on Saturday afternoon, April 20, as the imposing 6' 9". 250-pound Irish-Mancunian makes his United States debut against two-time world champion Steve "USS" Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) in New York City.
Fury vs. Cunningham headlines an exciting event, co-promoted by Main Events and Hennessy Sports, which will air live (4 p.m. ET start) on NBC from The Theater at Madison Square Garden, as part of a special two-hour afternoon presentation of NBC's Fight Night boxing series.
The 12-round Fury vs. Cunningham main event is an official International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Voluntary Eliminator for the No. 2 position, showcasing No. 8-rated Fury versus No. 12-ranked Cunningham.
"All of the top heavyweights in the world need Americans to watch them fight and that's why I'm making my U.S. pro debut in New York City for all Americans to see on national television," the charismatic Fury said from his Canadian training camp at beautiful Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. "You can't put the Klitschkos in the same category as me. Nobody outside of the Ukraine and Germany care anything about them. They fought a few times in America. Wladimir fought a real stinker in Madison Square Garden (DEC12 vs. Sultan Ibragimov on Feb. 23, 2008).
"I was supposed to fight in America a few times but they fell out for different reasons. We needed good television, a good arena, and good opponent. Now's the right time; we have all that."
Fury, also rated No. 4 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), has green running through his veins. His Irish Traveller family has a long history in boxing, dating back to the 1880's bare-knuckles days of his great grandfather, Tiger Gorman, and his uncle, Bartley "King of the Bare Knuckles" Gorman. His father, "Gypsy" John Fury, the man who named his son after Mike Tyson, was also a prize-fighter in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
As an amateur boxer, Tyson represented both England and Ireland because his father is from Galway, and grandmother (on his mother's side) hails from Belfast. It's not a coincidence that his promoter, Mick Hennessy, is marketing his star on the East Coast of the U.S., where the largest groups of Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans live in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.
"I am the Irish Heavyweight Champion and there's never been another like me," the often outspoken Fury explained. "The Irish love real fighters, like me, who always say it like it is. I like to fight and I'm looking forward to fighting in front of so many Irish fans in New York City and watching across the states on NBC."
Cunningham, fighting out of Philadelphia, represents a clear and present danger, unquestionably the stiffest challenge of the 24-year-old Fury's relatively young professional career. Cunningham has nearly had as many world title fight rounds (95) as Fury has total rounds fought (105).
"Cunningham is a good boxer and world champion who fought in different countries," Fury concluded. "He's a small (203lbs. in last fight) heavyweight who will come in with a good game plan and strategy. I anticipate him running but, sooner or later, I will catch him and knock him out. If he runs, I hope the fans boo him out of the arena. He's going to have to fight me. I'm coming to fight and put on a show."
One of Fury's Hennessy Sports stable-mates, heavyweight Hughie Fury (1-0, 1 KO) is also scheduled to fight on the April 20 card.
Tyson's 18-year-old cousin, 6' 8'', 235-pound, Hughie, won his impressive pro debut by second-round knockout last Friday in Montreal.
"I can't wait until April 20th as I know Tyson is going to shake up the world of heavyweight boxing, he's in phenomenal shape and I know he is going to make a huge statement on his US debut." Mick Hennessy said.