Cunningham blasts 'disrespectful' Fury
Steve Cunningham has vowed to beat Tyson Fury in their IBF heavyweight title eliminator after admitting his opponent's comments got under his skin.
Fury is set to make his debut on American soil when he fights Cunningham on April 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York, and with the Brit guaranteeing he will knock him out to "send him into retirement", his comments have irked Cunningham and fuelled his anger.
"It felt disrespectful," Cunningham told fightnews.com. "It was disrespectful. Tyson did get a little under my skin. He talked and he woke up a little anger in me that probably wasn't there before.
"Now camp is more intense because I want to beat this dude right. I want to do it properly. He sparked a little fire in me that's helping my drive. It's helping me get up and run and do what I'm supposed to do. He woke up another dragon that's in me."
Fury comes into the bout defending an unbeaten career record in 20 fights, producing 14 knockouts in the process. A victory would put him one step closer to a showdown with WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Cunningham, who has lost three of his last four encounters, also believes Fury is not as great as he thinks he is, and feels all the talk is to cover up uncertainties he has going into the contest.
"He's a fighter… he's undefeated. We know he's not a chump. We know he's not scared, but something's up," Cunningham said.
"There were four guys on his list to fight, solid heavyweights almost his own size, but he chooses me, the smallest guy on the list, and the one who's supposedly not a heavyweight. So why would he want to fight me? Like I said, something's up with him."