By Keith Idec
It didn’t take long Tuesday for the attention to turn toward Deontay Wilder.
A press conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was held to promote Tyson Fury’s fight against Francesco Pianeta. The Italian veteran is a huge underdog, though, a big man considered little more than a tune-up for Fury before he challenges Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title in November.
John Rawling, the moderator of Tuesday’s press conference, asked Fury about securing that opportunity by beating Pianeta on Saturday night at Windsor Park in Belfast.
“I’m gonna correct you there, John – if I come through this, Wilder has a chance to fight me for the lineal championship,” Fury said. “Let’s face it, he hasn’t really fought anybody. He has 40 fights and it is what it is. But we’re not here to talk about Wilder at all. Wilder may as well be a million years in the future. I’ve got to concentrate on this man here in front of me, and I’m sure he wants to take my glory away from me and cash that check.”
The 32-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) produced the most impressive win of his 10-year pro career in his last fight. The knockout artist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, overcame serious trouble in the seventh round to knock out previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC) in the 10th round March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Wilder will watch England’s Fury fight Pianeta from ringside Saturday night as part of BT Sport’s broadcast team. The Wilder-Fury fight is expected to be announced in the ring if Fury defeats Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs), a 33-year-old southpaw who has lost by knockout or technical knockout three times.
The 30-year-old Fury (26-0, 19 KOs), who’ll fight for the second time since ending a 2½-year layoff, won’t make the mistake of looking past Pianeta. The former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion expects Pianeta to at least try to win, which is more than he could say for Sefer Seferi, the first opponent in his comeback June 9 in Manchester, England.
“I study my heavyweights,” Fury said. “I know he’s fought some good men. He had a very good winning spree, 28-0 when he fought [Wladimir] Klitschko [in May 2013]. I’m not underestimating Francesco. I know he’s a very big guy, a big, strong fella. And he knows if he wins this fight then he could go on to fight Wilder instead of me. So it’s all to play for. And in heavyweight boxing, you take your eye off the goal for 10 seconds, you’re out of there.
“So I know what to expect. I expect him to bring his best performance and his ‘A’ game, and he’s gonna come and try and knock me out, because that’s what they all try and do. But hopefully he won’t be successful. We’re gonna put on a great show, entertain the fans and have a great fight with Francesco.”
Showtime will stream Fury-Pianeta as part of a doubleheader on its YouTube channel Saturday (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT). In the main event, Belfast’s Carl Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) and Australia’s Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) are set to 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.