Tyson Fury swaggered into the King’s Hall complex akin to John Wayne and then dealt with the slings and arrows of Martin Rogan with calm authority and charisma.
British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Fury, clad in his best ‘Quiet Man’ garb yesterday, will return to the ring on September 17 at the King’s Hall, following on from his victory over Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena but he is still waiting for an opponent to be named.
He initially expected to be facing Rogan but negotiations hardly got off the ground despite the Belfast man potentially earning the biggest purse of his career.
Before a member of the media could pose a question Rogan got to his feet and questioned Fury and his promoter Mick Hennessy as to why their fight fell apart.
Rogan proceeded to try and convince anyone who would listen that he needed more time to prepare and that he had not been given due respect in the negotiations. Fury and Hennessy dismissed any such comments.
Fury said: “We spoke after the Chisora fight and you said to me it would be a great fight at the King’s Hall and it’s unfortunate it won’t happen.
“Me and you have always had a decent relationship, I came over and sparred you when I was 17 years old. We had a nice chat in London but then you come back to Belfast and say you’re going to knock my face in, yet I never said a thing about you.
“So if someone says something about me behind my back then I’m going to say something back. I am a man of honour and if I want to say something I’ll say it to a man’s face. The fight is open to you, so take the fight.”
Rogan retorted: “If I had been given the time I would have knocked you out.”
Promoter Hennessy made it clear that a close friend of Rogan, well known in boxing circles, had made contact with the former Commonwealth champion as well as his matchmaker John Ingle and then as a last resort the promoter himself.
Hennessy added: “You were treated to great hospitality when you came to London and paid very well to be on standby in case Dereck Chisora pulled out.
“Then you stopped speaking to the friend who got you the money and who put the fight to me.
“I rung you personally and you had the audacity to say you would knock Tyson senseless.
“If that’s the case then step up.”.
Most poignant was Hennessy’s response to the suggestion that Fury-Rogan could happen in the future. “No, we’ve been there, done that. We’re moving on. Rogan just didn’t want to fight.”
Hennessy confirmed he would be bringing Fury back to Belfast before Christmas, assuming all goes to plan on September 17.
“This is where we want to base Tyson. There’s not a city in the world that has a better boxing tradition than Belfast,” he added.
Champion Fury said: “I have always wanted to box in Belfast, I want to bring big heavyweight fights to Ireland ... to box at the King’s Hall is very special.
“I’m not bothered who the opponent is, I’m there to win and that’s what I’ll do on September 17. The Irish fans are in for a real treat.”
Asked about Audley Harrison as a possible opponent for Fury, Hennessy quipped: “I’ve just brought Channel 5 into boxing — I don’t want to chase them away!”
The value for money show will feature Stephen Haughian against former World champion Junior Witter as well as a Northern Ireland title fight between Lurgan’s Ryan Greene and Ballyclare’s Willie Thompson.
In what proved to be a more eventful and at times comical press conference than most, it was somehow appropriate that charismatic MC Harry McGavock should introduce the top of the bill as ‘Mike Tyson Fury!”
Tickets: ticketmaster.ie (£28, £50, £100)
Not so quiet man: Tyson Fury had plenty to say in Belfast yesterday but still doesn’t have opponent