Tyson Fury's next fight is set, and it may be considered a letdown. The 26-year-old Fury will face Germany's Christian Hammer on February 28 in London at the O2 Arena. Fury is coming off of a dominant but dull stoppage of Dereck Chisora on November 29.
As usual, Fury is doing his best to sell a fight that may not be particularly interesting:
"On paper, it's a dangerous job against Hammer. He's highly ranked, he brings a big punch with him, he'll have ambitions of his own to beat me and grab himself a world title shot against Klitschko, and I'm sure he'll be full of confidence coming over here."
Hammer (17-3, 10 KO) is not the puncher Fury (23-0, 17 KO) would have you believe, nor is he really particularly dangerous in this matchup. Hammer has won ten straight, but it's been against marginal opposition, and at no point has he looked like more than a heavyweight also-ran. His best win today was probably against Kevin Johnson in December 2013, and Johnson had long since been exposed as a true mediocrity by that point.
What makes this fight work for what it is, however, is the fact that Fury obviously wants to be busier than he's been in 2013 and 2014. He fought just once in 2013, after David Haye signed up and pulled out of two fight dates, and then just two times this year, after his fight with Chisora was delayed.
Fury understands the value of keeping himself sharp and not allowing career lulls, and in that regard, this fight is perfectly understand. Hammer may not be a true contender, but he's not a complete bum, and he's in his prime years, too. He's not an older guy hanging on and looking for a paycheck as an opponent.
That said, on paper, this should be a cakewalk for Fury. He'll have seven inches of height and a lot of reach on Hammer, and Fury has become quite good at keeping the range he wants. And even if that's negated, he fights pretty well at any distance, and has made major strides in just the last two years refining his game.
The big hope is that Fury will fight for a world title in 2015, but that's not available right now, either. Bermane Stiverne will be facing Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt on January 17, and Wladimir Klitschko will defend the WBA, IBF, and WBO titles on April 25 against Bryant Jennings. Of the remaining options, Hammer was probably the best mix of credible, safe, and willing.