I was going to return to action with some post about, you know, other stuff, but let's just jump right into the news and get it going. Maybe tonight I'll do the other thing. Whatever it is.
Tyson Fury's opponent for September 17 in Belfast has been named, and it will be 32-year-old journeyman Nicolai Firtha, a fighter you might think off hand is Russian or something, but not really, he's just from Akron. Firtha (20-8-1, 8 KO) should be no problem for Fury, but the British champ himself isn't letting himself think that way, at least in the press release.
"There was a lot of talk about me fighting Martin Rogan and a few other names like Mike Perez and Leif Larsen were mentioned but I've accepted to fight Firtha who's a lot younger than Rogan and has mixed in a lot higher company than any of those other guys.
"With two weeks to go I know this is a risk, a gamble but I'm a true fighting man and a man of honour and I'm prepared to fight any man on the planet and I want the Irish fight fans to come out and see a real fight not some knock over job.
"Anybody who knows anything about boxing can see that this is a risky fight because Firtha has gone the distance with the man who now holds the WBA belt which David Haye once held. It's going to be a big test for me so soon after me beating Dereck Chisora but I know it's a challenge that I can rise to."
Fury (15-0, 10 KO) is right that Firtha has been in with better competition than Larsen, and even Perez, but that doesn't make him a tougher test than Perez would have been by any means. Firtha has been in with (and lost to) Alexander Povetkin, Manny Quezada, Tye Fields, Neven Pajkic, and Franklin Lawrence. He's also lost to lesser opponents in Lamar Stephens, James Northey, and Josue Blocus.
Promoter Mick Hennessy pulled the usual line about a European fighter facing a no-name American, saying, "Although the fight has been agreed with just over two weeks to go, the Firtha camp have known about the possibility of this fight for some time. We had been looking at the Rogan fight but when that fell through then we looked to make the Firtha fight. Tyson's profile in America is on the rise and a win against Firtha will only help that."
The Firtha fight is, in its way, acceptable. Fury is still learning and it's a fairly quick return to the ring after he last fought on July 23. But no, beating Nicolai Firtha, who has zero name value in the United States, will do nothing to raise Fury's profile here.