18th September 2011
Tyson Fury by www.boxingportraits.com

Unbeaten British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Tyson Fury had to come through some testing moments in his fight with Nicolai Firtha, before stopping the American in the 5th round at the Kings Hall in Belfast on Saturday night.

Fury 23, started the fight fast and tried to take his man out early behind his long jab, landing a number of telling shots that bounced off Firtha’s head and he did well to take them, surviving the round with just a bloodied nose, proving he hadn’t come to lie down and was here to give the 6’9″ Fury a fight!

Wiley pro Firtha turned the tables in the third round by catching Fury and hurting the Manchester man, his knees dipped momentarily and Firtha followed up with a series of shots that landed as Fury backed to the ropes. Looking vulnerable for the first time in his career and moved held and parried as he tried to keep Firtha off him. Fury regained his senses rode it out and fired back and saw out the round

In the fourth both had to be told to tidy it up by the referee at the start of the round with both holding inside. Fury then got back behind his jab and dropped in some big over hand rights that had Firtha wobbling, the fight was turning into a slug fest now and the full capacity crowd stood and cheered to the rafters, with the contest on a knife edge.

Fury’s jab was now keeping the American of Irish blood at arms length, ramming it into his face and then just before the bell to end the round, Fury unleashed a Hugh right cross that had Firtha doing a dance as his facilities left him. Fury went in for the finish and followed up with a left hook. As Firtha tried to grab hold, he went to ground on his knees as Fury retreated back.

The referee picked up a count Firtha got to his feet and to his relief was saved by the bell.

In the fifth Fury got behind his jab again using the basic to control Firtha, big right hand behind a stiff jab! Then as Firth jumped in to land his own punches, Fury caught him with a sweet short right hand, that shook his opponent to his boots. Fury was unable to capitalise and catch Firtha clean but pushed forward trying to overwhelm his man.

A couple of sickening uppercuts from Fury smashed off Firtha’s chin, proving the big mans durability. But from now on he was on survival mode and it only looked like a matter of time before Fury landed the finishing punch. Another succession of uppercuts and then a big right hook signalled that call and the referee John Kean stepped in to stop a Firtha on his feet.

Firtha was disappointed at being stopped, but it was the right decision. But Fury answered a few questions, while in turn posing more questions. He shown he has a tough chin, although we believed that before anyway. But it was the ragged way that Fury went about his work that will need some adjustments. His defence at times was far too open as he attacked and that is when he got caught. But when he used his good long jab and stuck to his tactics he was able to dismantle Firtha in good style.

Fury this week before the fight had stated that he wasn’t ready for the Klitschko’s just yet and on this showing, he knows his limits and that there is more to learn before he enters world level. But Fury is willing to learn his trade before stepping up and takes credit for taking this fight on, when he didn’t have to and so soon after his recent win over Dereck Chisora.

“He caught me with a good punch and I had to come back from it. It’s all part of being a heavyweight boxer.” said Fury afterwards.

“It was an action-packed five rounds for the Irish fans and full credit to Nicolai. He’s a tough guy but in the end he was taking too many punches.

“I’m still learning and I’m just looking forward to my next fight.” he added.

Tyson Fury British and Commonwealth champion ‘A work in Progress’

Undercard results
Sheffield’s former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter scored a points win over six rounds against
Arvydas Triznd.

‘Big Bang’ Willie Casey was back in the ring after getting stopped in his last fight by Guillermo Rigondeaux back in March. He stopped African journey man Daniel Kodjo Sassou in round 8.

Unbeaten Kid Galahad claimed a first round stoppage win over Paul Griffin with an impressive quick blowout. Galahad is a good prospect and takes his record to 9-0.
Phill Fury beat Richard Troupe on points over 6 rounds, 58-56
Joe Hillerby beat Tommy Tolan on points over 4 rounds, 39-38

Dee Walsh beat Gerard Healy on points over the four, 39-37

Levan Ghvamichava beat Joe Rea in one round.

Michael McLaughlin knocked out Mark Betts in round 4.
By Chris Maylett 
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