• Boxing

Fury insists Firtha represents huge gamble

ESPN staff
September 5, 2011
Tyson Fury was snubbed by first-choice opponent Martin Rogan © PA Photos

British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will aim to take another step towards a fight with Wladimir Klitschko when he takes on Nicolai Firtha in Belfast on September 17.

Fury struggled to find an opponent for the clash after being snubbed by his first choice, Martin Rogan, who claims he was disrespected during the negotiation process.

Having been linked to names such as Audley Harrison and Prizefighter winner Mike Perez, Fury has now settled on Firtha (20-8-1, 8 KOs), a 32-year-old American who has lost four of his last eight fights.

Firtha went the full ten rounds with WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin ten months ago - but one of the judges awarded Povetkin every round, while the other two only gave Firtha a combined three rounds.

"There was a lot of talk about me fighting Martin Rogan, and a few other names like Mike Perez and Leif Larsen were mentioned," Fury said. "But I've accepted to fight Firtha who's a lot younger than Rogan and has mixed in a lot higher company than any of those other guys.

"With two weeks to go I know this is a risk, a gamble but I'm a true fighting man and a man of honour and I'm prepared to fight any man on the planet and I want the Irish fight fans to come out and see a real fight not some knock over job.

"Anybody who knows anything about boxing can see that this is a risky fight because Firtha has gone the distance with the man who now holds the WBA belt which David Haye once held. It's going to be a big test for me so soon after me beating Dereck Chisora but I know it's a challenge that I can rise to."

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