Fury to face new opponent AbellFebruary 6, 2014
Tyson Fury is trading in one journeyman opponent for another.
Fury had been scheduled to face Gonzalo Omar Basile of Argentina in a 10-round bout on February 15 at the Copper Box Arena in London. However, Basile - knocked out in seven of his eight defeats, including four times inside two rounds - withdrew from the fight on Wednesday because of a lung infection.
Taking Basile's place is Joey Abell, who has been knocked out five times, including in three of his last five bouts.
"Abell is big and he can punch - just what I want on my comeback," Fury said. "One thing I do respect about him is his power. He's got a great knockout record and in the heavyweights it only takes one shot to turn things around."
Fury is fighting in the co-feature of the Integrated Sports PPV card headlined by fellow heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora, who faces Kevin Johnson. If Chisora, 30, and Fury, 25, win their bouts, promoter Frank Warren said he intends to match them in a rematch in June. Fury won a decision against Chisora in July 2011.
Fury has not fought since last April, when he got knocked down by former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham in the second round but rallied for a seventh-round knockout victory. Fury was due to next face former world titleholder David Haye in a heavily hyped fight, but Haye twice pulled out on Fury because of injuries and the fight was cancelled.
Regardless of whom he is fighting, Fury is anxious to get back into the ring after the unexpected lay-off.
"[Abell will] have confidence in seeing that I was floored by Cunningham and he'll want to have a good go," Fury said. "He likes to get things done early with a lot of knockouts coming in the first few rounds. Who knows? He could land one on me. This is his big chance to make a name and upset the future of the heavyweight division.
"I love these American opponents. They have all the talk, but I hope and pray that he does bring it on and comes at me swinging away because it will be one hell of a tear up. There's one thing I don't come off second best on, and that's a fight."
Should Fury and Chisora make it through the February 15 bouts, the summer rematch could be an elimination bout that would make the winner a mandatory challenger for one of champion Wladimir Klitschko's belts.
"I'm in perfect shape and even though Abell is a late substitute there's no way he'll knock me off course for my summer rendezvous with Mr. Chisora, who's got his own Yank to deal with in Johnson," Fury said. "I'll do my job, and if he's does his, then we're all set for a summer settler."
This article first appeared on ESPN.com