It may not have been pretty, but Tyson Fury showed guts, strength and resolve today, stopping John McDermott in their rematch to win the vacant English heavyweight title and move a step closer to a shot at the British heavyweight belt.
Fury (11-0, 9 KO) started off very well in the first round, using a jab and showing some speed with his right hand. But from there, he slowly looked more and more like the raw prospect he still really is. McDermott (25-7, 16 KO) really turned the fight around in the sixth, as Fury looked like a completely gassed fighter, frequently staring over at his corner as if he wanted them to throw in the towel.
Everyone reported after the bout that it was extremely hot in the Brentwood Centre, and Fury came in at a career high 270 pounds, both of which were likely factors contributing to his stamina issue. Fury lost a point in the seventh round for repeated holding, making it 66-66 on the Bad Left Hook card after seven rounds, in a fight it looked early on would easily go Fury's way.
In the waning moments of the eighth round, McDermott took a left and a right to the head, and his legs gave out on him. He made it up and got to his corner, but his legs proved totally gone in the ninth, as Fury floored him twice more, with McDermott trying to make his own charge at closing the show. It wound up a war of attrition, and Fury was just able to stay up longer.
The 21-year-old Fury had a very short and rather disastrous training camp, sparring, it was reported, only about 10 rounds. On the other hand, the Sky commentators felt as though McDermott may have overtrained.
For the 30-year-old McDermott, this was his fourth straight defeat. As McDermott is hardly an adonis or a true contender, the end may be pretty close for him. He is a mediocre domestic heavyweight who simply will not be getting over the hump, but he's a brave fighter and really did deserve his moment in the sun last September against Fury, at least in my view.
Fury also said after the bout that he hurt his hand in the fifth round, so don't expect to see him right back in the ring. He is in line for a shot at British champ Derek Chisora, which would be an awful fight for him right now. Chisora is no world-beater, but he's aggressive, very strong, and just too much man for Fury at this stage. If Tyson and his team are smart, they'll forget about everyone else's expectations and start refining the big man's game some. He's so young that he's still awkward with his own body, and I honestly see him leaving himself so wide open that a fighter like Chisora would take his head off in short and brutal fashion. Realistically, he needs a couple more years seasoning, but with the hype and the TV money waiting for him, he might not get it. Two life-and-death struggles with McDermott do not mean he's ready for another step up just yet.