Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Fury wants Ulster fight fans to adopt him

Prospects: British heavyweight title challenger Tyson Fury and seven-year-old Bradley Hodge at Antrim ABC

Tyson Fury says he's ready to give the Ulster boxing fraternity a new hero to follow when he makes the first defence of his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles at the King's Hall on September 17.

Fury — whose relations live in Nutts Corner, Co Antrim — is delivering on his promise to make the first defence of the titles he won from Dereck Chisora in Belfast and in addition to that he is also looking to take out an Irish licence.

The 6ft 9' 23-year-old left Chisora — who was being lined up to fight Wladimir Klitschko — bewildered by his hard hitting, winning in emphatic fashion with a unanimous points verdict.

Now he is headlining at the King's Hall with Lurgan's Stephen Haughian in the main supporting fight against former World and European champion Junior Witter on the Mick Hennessy-promoted bill.

Fury had been lined up to face former Commonwealth heavyweight champion Martin Rogan but despite the Belfast man being offered a huge offer he declined the opportunity.

Promoter Hennessy will name a quality opponent at a press conference next week.

Fury said: “I'm very disappointed in Martin because he was at my fight with Chisora in London and said right after that he wanted the fight.

“He was made a massive offer, he was getting the chance to fight in Belfast, he said he was going to beat me senseless and yet he walked away.”

“He talked the talk but he couldn't walk the walk.

But the Irish fans will know when they see me box in Belfast that they're looking at the best Irish heavyweight around and I'm not going to walk away from any challenge. I'm going all the way to the World heavyweight title.”

Promoter Hennessy added: “The fight fans in Belfast can expect a great night's boxing on September 17. Tyson Fury is the new star of Irish and world boxing and he's very proud of his Irish roots so that's why he wants to box in Belfast. We all know the history surrounding the King's Hall so it's a privilege for Tyson to fight there.”

Meanwhile, welterweight Haughian will be looking to transform his career with an upset victory over Sheffield man Witter in the chief supporting contest, having lost a Celtic title fight last summer to Kevin McIntyre.

Haughian’s manager and coach John Breen said: “This is a golden opportunity for Stephen. It’s the kind of fight that we have been wanting for Stephen for some time.

“Stephen has been Irish champion for two years now, he’s been around the same level for too long but he has the opportunity to show that he belongs in the British title picture. Stephen knows what he did wrong in that fight with McIntyre and obviously it knocked his career back, but now he has the chance to redeem himself.

“Junior Witter is a very big name, he’s a former world champion but I believe Stephen can beat him. These chances don’t come around too often and he has to grab it with both hands, the preparation has to be perfect to win this one.”

Also on the bill is an intriguing clash between unbeaten Lurgan man Ryan Greene and Ballyclare's Willie Thompson, while former British title challenger Kevin O'Hara also returns to action.

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