LAS VEGAS — Tyson Fury’s debut in the Fight Capital of the World couldn’t have gone much better.
Oh, he only filled up the MGM Grand Garden a little more than halfway, but things pretty much went as well as Fury and Top Rank president Todd duBoef could have hoped when they embarked on the partnership to bring Fury to the U.S.
Fury made Step 1 on the journey a success by knocking out an overmatched Tom Schwarz at 2:54 of the second round, retaining his lineal heavyweight championship.
Fury opened as a 30-1 favorite at the Las Vegas sportsbooks but closed at 12-1, as bettors took a flier on Schwarz. But Schwarz had nothing to offer and was little more than a punching bag.
Fury came out in the second in a southpaw stance and was popping his jab in Schwarz’s face, quickly bloodying his nose. He dropped Schwarz with a right hand, and though Schwarz popped up quickly, it was clear the end was near.
Fury isn’t noted as a puncher, but he jumped on Schwarz and pinned him in the corner. He was whaling away before referee Kenny Bayless jumped in to halt the carnage.
No one expected Ali-Frazier III, and they didn’t get anything remotely close, but it was a good first step on the partnership. Fury charmed everyone all week and then grabbed the mic and was singing in the ring after the bout.
“I came here to have fun and put on a show for Las Vegas,” Fury said.
He did, though the crowd was only 9,012 in an arena that can hold more than 16,000, so he didn’t totally capture the imagination of American fight fans. But this was the first step on a long journey that Fury and duBoef hope ends in lucrative paydays against the likes of WBC champion Deontay Wilder, IBF-WBA-WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and ex-champion Anthony Joshua.
Fury noted that ESPN was playing Fury programming for the better part of the last 24 hours leading up to the fight.
“I’ve never seen promoting like this,” he said.
He has, however, been given more difficult matchups. Schwarz tried, but he was slow and without much upper body movement. He didn’t land a significant punch in the nearly six minutes.
Promoter Bob Arum wasn’t sweating that, though, because Fury did what they wanted him to do.
“That was amazing,” Arum said. “Tyson Fury is a force of nature. This was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen and not just because of the boxing. He’s an entertainer. He is truly unique.
“Now that he’s in shape, he can knock out every heavyweight in the world. I haven’t seen a fighter with that much charisma since Muhammad Ali.”
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