By Johnny Walker
Rising heavyweight contender Tyson Fury of the United Kingdom backed up his trademark brash talk today by stopping veteran Irish heavyweight Martin Rogan with a fifth round TKO at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
With the win, Fury (18-0, 13 KOs) picks up the previously vacant Irish Heavyweight championship.
Fury, who normally fights out of an orthodox stance, threw a curve-ball at Rogan right away in round one by fighting as a southpaw. The newly trim-looking Fury was content to bide his time throughout the first two rounds, seemingly getting comfortable with his new style, and Rogan took advantage by pressuring him and throwing some awkward combinations at the 6’9” giant.
Fury basically gave away the first two rounds, but when he did start to attack, it was clear that Rogan would be easily overpowered on this night.
A glancing left hook from Fury, still fighting as a southpaw, sent Rogan to the mat late in round three, and though the veteran beat the count, his momentum on this night was effectively ended.
Round four saw Rogan right the ship somewhat, though his aggression was now muted as Fury used his reach advantage to nullify Rogan’s attempts to get inside.
Fury was becoming increasingly comfortable, while Rogan was becoming increasingly desperate.
Fury had seemingly had enough of the proceedings in round five, and opened up with a stinging body attack on the challenger. A hard left hook to Rogan’s midsection saw the Irish veteran wince and go to the mat. Rogan beat the count, but his corner threw in the towel, and Fury had his victory.
Fury explained his southpaw conversion after the fight as a result of him being “ambidextrous,” and expressed great satisfaction with his physical conditioning–at 245 3/4 pounds, Fury entered the ring at his lightest weight as a professional fighter.
“I’m a world class heavyweight, I’m going to try different things,” Fury said.
“No doubt, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Fury, 23, had taunted the 41-year-old Rogan, calling him a “bum” in the build-up to the fight, but he was classy in defeat, attempting to lead the largely pro-Rogan Belfast crowd in a chanted salute to their fallen hometown hero.
“Rogan is a true Irish warrior,” Fury said.
As for what is next, Fury was unusually reserved.
“I’ve done a lot of talking in the past – I’m going to just let my boxing do the talking from now on,” Fury declared.