By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
TYSON FURY is heading for New York to muscle in on the world heavyweight title scene.
His promoter Mick Hennessy has already booked Madison Square Garden for March 17 – St Patrick’s Day – to show- case his stable star.
After stopping Canadian champion Neven Pajkic in three rounds in Manchester on Saturday, Fury is confident of staking his claim.
The likely opponent in New York will be WBA champion Alexander Povetkin with Romany gypsy Fury saying: “What a fight that would be, especially with my Irish roots!”
The 23-year-old Commonwealth champion showed he has the grit to fight back after being floored by his 34-year-old opponent in the second round.
Fury stretched his unbeaten record to 17 when referee Phil Edwards brought a halt to proceedings in the following round.
“That shows I have the bottle to deliver the goods,” said Fury. “Now I know I am on course to fulfil my destiny.”
That destiny, he says, is to become world heavyweight champion, something Hennessy is convinced will happen.
He said: “I have no doubts at all about Tyson’s ability to get right to the top.
“He is a tremendous fighter and can be world champion within 18 months.
“He is a phenomenon. He is a full pack- age but he has got to stop getting drawn into a gun fight.
“He has a lot of work to do,but in 16 months’ time he’ll be more mature and better conditioned and right on the button for the world title.”
But such hopes looked fanciful in the second round as Pajkic attempted to force the issue with a succession of huge over- hand rights.
When one landed flush, the champion crashed backwards onto the canvas.
Fury returned some heavy fire of his own, but another Pajkic right detonated on his chin and left the champion holding on.
Fury responded in devastating style in the third, connecting with some concussive work to leave Pajkic clearly shaken.
A body shot sapped the Bosnian-born 34-year-old, allowing Fury to land successive heavy rights with referee Edwards eventually calling a halt.
Fury said: “Champions go down and come back up. It shows true grit to come back and knock the other bloke down. I am happy with the performance.
“I have been rocked in my previous two fights, put down in this one. Nobody knows what is going to happen. That is what is exciting about me.
“I never doubted myself even when I was on the floor. I thought right, ‘it is time to get rid of him’, and that is what I did.”
Chris Eubank Jr, son of the former world champion, made a successful pro debut on the bill, defeating Kirilas Psonko of Lithuania in the fourth round, watched by his father.
“There is a lot of pressure because of what my father achieved and everyone is expecting so much, but that gives me that extra drive in the gym every day to graft hard,” he said.