By Keith Idec
Tyson Fury promised a much more impressive performance Saturday night than the last time he fought.
Fury predicted during a press conference Tuesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that he’ll box like “a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard” when he encounters Italy’s Francesco Pianeta. Fury and Pianeta will meet on the Carl Frampton-Luke Jackson undercard at Windsor Park, where a crowd of roughly 30,000 is expected for Saturday’s card.
“What you’re likely to see from me is a heavyweight ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard on Saturday,” Fury said. “Anything less is a failure. So there you are. You’ve had it. Judge me on that comment. A heavyweight ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard. Anything less, no good.”
The 30-year-old Fury ended a 2½-year layoff June 9, but his technical knockout of Sefer Seferi amounted to a farcical fight because Seferi refused to engage. The 6-feet-9 Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) spent much of their bout clowning around, before Seferi refused to leave his corner for the start of the fifth round at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs) is a 6-feet-5, 245-pound southpaw who has fought much better opponents than the reluctant Seferi (23-2, 21 KOs).
The 33-year-old veteran is just 4-3 in his past seven fights, however. Those losses include a seventh-round technical knockout defeat to American Kevin Johnson on October 14 and a first-round knockout to Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev in a fight for the WBA title in July 2015.
If Fury tops Pianeta, the former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion’s November showdown against WBC champ Deontay Wilder will be officially announced in the ring Saturday night. Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, acknowledged during the press conference Tuesday that there’s a deal in place for Fury to challenge Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) next if he wins Saturday night.
Wilder will be part of BT Sport’s broadcast team Saturday night for the Fury-Pianeta fight.
Showtime will stream the Fury-Pianeta and Frampton-Jackson bouts on its YouTube channel (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT). Belfast’s Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) and Australia’s Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) will fight for the WBO’s interim featherweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.