Fulfilling their promise for great fights against world-class opponents, Hennessy Sports has finalized Tyson Fury's July 7 bout, as the giant gypsy will face American club fighter Vinny Maddalone.
First off, don't take this as a "shot" at Vinny Maddalone, who is a tough, honest fighter who gives his best effort every time out and doesn't shy away from challenges. Maddalone (35-7, 26 KO) has been in the ring with Tomasz Adamek, Jean-Marc Mormeck (old version), Denis Boytsov, Evander Holyfield (the ultra-old version), and Brian Minto (twice).
Fury (18-0, 13 KO) dropped his British and Commonwealth titles supposedly to chase bigger fish. Realistically, it's just more of the same.
He never did defend the British title, as his next fight after beating Dereck Chisora was a win over American clubbie Nicolai Firtha, with neither belt on the line. He defended the Commonwealth title against Neven Pajkic after that, then gave up the belts and fought Martin Rogan, an old, essentially retired guy who has fight in him, but that's about it.
Maddalone is basically a sideways step from Rogan, though Maddalone is more active and at 38, still a fighter full-time. In all honesty, I wouldn't even mind this fight so much for the 24-year-old Fury, except they keep talking about him fighting top opponents and then they pull this, and the fights do numbers on Channel 5, so they can keep doing it.
If they'd just be honest -- "we're taking our time, there's no rush" -- then no big deal. Fury has things to work on still and I can go along with this level of opposition given his youth and continued need for improvement to truly take the next step. But you can't promise world-level opponents and then just deliver guys who aren't from the UK and call them "world-level." Well, you can, I guess, since they do.