By Wayne Bartlett: It was a case of job done for Tyson Fury as he boxed his way to a unanimous points win over American Kevin Johnson in Belfast.
Facing the toughest test of his unbeaten career, the 6ft 9ins tall Fury set about the task of Johnson with a controlled performance that prompted boo’s from the Odyssey Arena in the later stages of the fight.
The judges scorecards of 119-110 and 119-108 twice was also met with a smattering of boo’s beyond the cheers, but from those only unhappy at seeing a disciplined performance rather than a shootout.
33-year-old Johnson, whose 28-3-1(13) record has seen him lose only on points to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and Tor Hamer over 3 rounds in the Prizefighter final earlier in the year, never looked like being stopped here.
But never looked like winning either as Fury, still just 24, worked his jab and measured attacks to head and body yet relented to pour it on Johnson.
“I boxed to a game plan,” said the now 20-0(14) Brit. “You don’t just try and come forward and smash him up. He’s a world class fighter and I out-boxed him.”
Overcoming his talented but subdued American foe with a higher work-rate, the result was never in doubt for Fury even after suffering a point deduction for hitting on the break in round seven.
This win, an eliminator for the WBC title, keeps the Fury train firmly on track for both a shot at the world title and the prospect of a fascinating clash with domestic rival David Price.
In the chief support, Chris Eubank Jr also came through the toughest test of his fledgling career as he outpointed veteran Bradley Price over eight rounds.
Despite his clear and deserved win, the 80-73 scorecard flattered Eubank Jr, who was pushed all the way by Price, and left the ring with the marks on his face to prove it.
Originally scheduled to box Matt Hainy before Hainy’s withdrawal due to a sparring injury, surprisingly by today’s standards, Eubank Jr plans to box again next Saturday on the undercard of James DeGale’s bout with Fulgencio Zuniga.
“We were originally meant to be fighting Hainy,” said the 23-year-old after extending his unbeaten record to 8-0(3). “And if he still wants it after watching that he can have it.”