By Keith Idec
Tyson Fury was far from spectacular Saturday night, but the former heavyweight champion got in some much-needed rounds and secured an eight-figure payday for his next fight.
England’s Fury defeated Italy’s Francesco Pianeta by decision in their 10-round heavyweight fight on the Carl Frampton-Luke Jackson undercard at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Referee Steve Gray, the sole judge, scored all 10 rounds for Fury (100-90).
The 6-feet-9, 258-pound Fury failed to become the fourth opponent to knock out the 6-feet-5, 254¾-pound Pianeta. Much of the capacity crowd of 25,000 booed Fury once the fight ended, after Fury used his jab, movement and defense to easily out-box the slower southpaw.
The 30-year-old Fury improved to 27-0 (20 KOs) by winning the second fight of his comeback. The 33-year-old Pianeta slipped to 35-5-1 (21 KOs) and lost for the third time in his past four fights.
Fury’s victory ensured his November showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), who watched Fury’s fight from ringside. The knockout artist from Alabama wasted no time jumping in the ring once Fury beat Pianeta to trade insults with the colorful former champion.
The Wilder-Fury fight will be officially announced at a press conference Monday in London.
His defeat of Pianeta was Fury’s second win since he ended a 2½-year layoff largely caused by Fury’s treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction and depression. He beat Sefer Seferi by technical knockout following four farcical rounds June 9 at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Unlike Seferi, Pianeta at least tried to win. The slow-footed veteran was just no match for Fury’s skill level, though.
Fury hit Pianeta with two hard body shots just before the midway mark of the 10th round.
With Pianeta backed against the ropes, Fury landed a straight left hand late in the ninth round. Pianeta took that shot well and waved Fury forward to let him know that flush punch didn’t hurt him.
Fury connected with a right uppercut earlier in the ninth that snapped back Pianeta’s head.
Fury was more aggressive in the eighth round. He backed Pianeta into the ropes during that round and landed to Pianeta’s body.
Gray gave Pianeta time to recover from a Fury left hand Gray ruled landed low with 1:30 to go in the seventh round. Fury drilled Pianeta with a straight right hand with about a minute remaining in the seventh.
Gray warned Fury for leading with his head midway through the sixth round. Fury caught Pianeta with a left hook with about 55 seconds to go in the sixth.
Fury’s defense was impressive in the fifth round, as he avoided Pianeta’s power shots and occasionally landed jabs.
Fury began letting his hands go early in the fourth round. He landed two combinations in that round and appeared to start getting into a rhythm in those three minutes.
Pianeta connected with a left hand about 30 seconds into the third round. Pianeta also landed a right hook late in the third round, during which Fury mostly moved out of Pianeta’s punching range and worked off his jab.
Fury used his jab to control the distance during a mostly uneventful second round.
Fury moved well during the first round, when he landed a solid right hand with about 1:20 left in it. Pianeta trapped Fury in a corner about 40 seconds into the fight, but he couldn’t land a flush punch.
Even though the skillful Fury is more boxer than puncher, he was expected to knock out Pianeta because Pianeta has lost by knockout or technical knockout three times.
Wladimir Klitschko stopped Pianeta in the sixth round of their May 2013 fight for Klitschko’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles in Mannheim, Germany. Two years later, Ruslan Chagaev knocked out Pianeta in the first round of their July 2015 bout for Chagaev’s version of the WBA title in Madgeburg, Germany.
Ten months ago, Kevin Johnson stopped Pianeta in the seventh round in Unterschleissheim, Germany.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.