Meet Tyson Fury: The Next Big Thing or the Latest, Greatest Pretender

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COMMENTARY | This Saturday at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, another upstart heavyweight looks to make his mark on the world scene. One week after Seth Mitchell was sent back to "Pretenderville" by Johnathon Banks, the UK's Tyson Fury (19-0, 14 KOs) will look to affirm his status as a world class heavyweight and legitimate contender for a shot at one of the long-reigning Klitschko brothers.

At 6' 9", Fury is an impressive physical specimen and certainly has the type of microphone skills that will generate plenty of headlines.

"I will beat Wladimir Klitschko for sure," Fury told the Daily Star. "I will go to Germany to do it. I don't want to fight him in England, I don't want it in Ireland, I don't want it in the US. I want it in Hamburg or Berlin. Wherever he wants it in Germany, he can have it.

"I'm going to go over there and I'm going to wreck him...I don't want to fight any other idiots in the division, it's Wladimir or ­nobody."

First, however, he will have to face American former world title challenger, "Kingpin" Kevin Johnson (28-2-1, 13 KOs) who, for better or worse, represents the best fighter the 24-year-old Fury has fought so far.

Johnson is best known for a one-sided unanimous decision loss to defending WBC titlist, Vitali Klitschko in December of 2012. In that bout, Johnson played defense fairly well, keeping himself from any serious punishment, but never really let his hands go to score his own shots. At the end of twelve, every round on all three scorecards went to the defending champion and Johnson was sent back home to rebuild.

Since then, Johnson has gone 6-1 and has added a touch of aggression to his hard-thumping jab. The 33-year-old Johnson also realizes the importance of this Saturday's clash and, like Fury, is not shy on the mic.

"I'll beat Fury so bad he'll want to retire, everyone will see that on December 1," Johnson told Liam Happe of Eurosport/Yahoo! UK. "Fury's just not in my class...I have learned a lot from the Klitschko fight, there were mistakes I made in that fight but I am the better man for it and I will get another world title fight."

Fury will enter the ring with the home field edge and a six inch height advantage over the 6' 3" Johnson. A more important factor will be whether the young, brash heavyweight will show up in shape-- a major concern at various points of his four-year professional career. Fury's weight has fluctuated from 270 lbs. to 245.5 lbs. with the lighter weight almost always producing a sharper in-ring product. It should be noted that the prospect's last two fights, against Vinny Maddalone and Martin Rogan, have seen him show up near the 245 lb. mark and have been among the best performances of his young career.

For this upcoming bout, Fury swears that he will be in the best shape of his life.

"The camp has been absolutely brilliant and I am doing things I have never done before," Fury told the Belfast Newsletter. "I have been training non-stop since January, so I have been doing this nearly a year...I have put my heart and soul into it."

Soon enough we'll find out if Fury can stay on his path to world class glory or if another pretender to the throne will be tossed to the side of the road, alongside the dejected and deflated remains of past "Next Big Things."

Johnson is definitely good enough to upset all of Fury's well-laid plans. This will not be an easy assignment for the fast-talking, heavy-handed Brit. It'll be sink or swim for Tyson Fury this Saturday in Belfast. We'll either have one more contender taking his first, tentative steps on to the world stage or yet another "woulda-been, coulda-been" heavyweight sob story.

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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.

Sources:

Nick Parkinson, Tyson Fury Eyes Klitschko Fight in May, June in Germany, Boxingscene

The Belfast Newsletter, Tyson Fury ready to see off Kevin Johnson at the Odyssey

Liam Happe, Boxing - Johnson: I'll beat Tyson Fury into retirement, Eursport/Yahoo UK

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