By Johnny Walker
Newly crowned British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Tyson Fury had planned to kick off his title reign with a defense of his belts in Belfast, Northern Ireland against veteran Irish scrapper Martin Rogan on September 17.
However, The Belfast Telegraph reports that the proposed fight has been nixed by the part-time taxi driver Rogan, 40, who had previously boasted that he would knock Fury out and “beat him senseless”.
Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessey was taken aback by Rogan’s decision: “I can’t believe that Martin has turned down the offer to fight Tyson,” he said. “He was given all he wanted — one of the best purses he’s ever had, a chance to fight for both titles and fighting in his home city.
“In the end Martin talked a good fight with Tyson but that was all, he just didn’t want to fight him and that’s a shame.”
Fury, 23, who is ethnically an Irish Traveller, wants to make the Emerald Isle his home base and had hoped to stake his claim to Irish heavyweight supremacy by beating Rogan. Another possible Fury foe, Canadian heavyweight Neven Pajkic, has also reportedly rejected an offer to get in the ring with Fury.
This leaves Fury with the rather unappealing option of fighting British heavyweight Audley Harrison, last seen doing an imitation of a statue in a farcical bout with the now ex-WBA heavyweight champion, David Haye, a performance so shockingly bad that the British Boxing Board of Control investigated to determine if Harrison should be paid for his (lack of) effort.
Harrison has been using Twitter to petition the Fury camp for a chance to make yet another “comeback,” a comeback, it must be said, that no one is clamoring for. Whether Fury is really that desperate to find an opponent is yet to be determined, but should he finish Harrison’s career once and for all, he would win the hearts of many boxing fans.