By Keith Idec
A source informed BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that a deal is nearly finalized for an April 20 heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham.
The Fury-Cunningham fight will take place in The Theater at Madison Square Garden and will be televised live by NBC during the afternoon.
Facing Cunningham in New York would mark Fury’s debut in the United States, but his transatlantic trip will be well worthwhile because of the national television exposure he’ll receive. Other than a fight in Quebec City two years ago, the 6-foot-9 Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) has fought only in his native England, Ireland and Northern Ireland since he turned pro in December 2008.
The developing, 24-year-old contender is coming off a unanimous decision victory over another American, Kevin Johnson (28-3-1, 13 KOs), in a 12-rounder Dec. 1 in Belfast.
Cunningham, meanwhile, suffered a controversial loss to Tomasz Adamek in his last fight.
The 36-year-old Cunningham (25-2, 12 KOs) appeared to out-box Adamek (48-2, 29 KOs) in their 12-round rematch Dec. 22 in Bethlehem, Pa., but Adamek defeated him by split decision for the second time in four years. The Philadelphia native’s second loss to Adamek brought Cunningham to tears in the post-fight press conference because Cunningham knew how much it would hurt him and his family financially, but the former IBF cruiserweight champion was able to land another meaningful fight in his next bout.
The Adamek-Cunningham rematch also was broadcast by NBC. It reached an audience of roughly 3.9 million viewers, which made it the most-watched boxing event in the United States in 2012.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.