Tyson Fury vs. Sefer Seferi and Flanagan vs. Hooker Preview


By: Oliver McManus

TYSON FURY will make his much-awaited return after a two-and-a-half year absence – he’ll face the Albanian , cruiser turned heavyweight, Sefer Seferi whose sole loss came via a 10 round unanimous decision to Manuel Charr, the current WBA ‘Regular’ Champion.

Fury will be looking to prove he still has what it takes to mix it at the very top of the division after knocking long-time kingpin Wladimir Klitschko from his throne in November of 2015. It’s certainly possible that over the last 30 months his performance has been over-idolised but, regardless of personal opinion, there’s no doubt that The Gypsy King – on his A game – is a threat to everyone.

Having lost eight stone since returning to the gym, Fury is arguably more motivated then ever and with Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua squabbling about their unification fight, there is no better time for him to stamp his case than now.

He, himself, said he wanted rounds come the 9th but against Seferi it’s unlikely we’ll see the bout extended past three rounds – despite being scheduled for 10 – with Seferi having next to no-one on his 24 fight resume.
Scratch that. He has no-one.

Look deeper at Seferi’s opponents and you’ll find that a mere five of them came into the bout with winning records and his last opponent – Laszlo Hubert – was a seventy-four fight veteran, 23 of those being losses (22 via knockout) and edging ever closer to his 43rd birthday.

“The Real Deal” got the job done in the 2nd round against the Hungarian who showed no real desire to fight and Seferi’s opponent prior to that was Marcelo Ferreira dos Santos for the World Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title.

I would, however, raise the point that you can expect Seferi to go further than the 40 seconds that Phil Lo Greco endured in with Amir Khan at the back end of April and Khan received far less stick for his choice of opponent than Fury has done and, no doubt will continue to do so, after his performance on June 9th.

Tyson Fury, whatever he says, will want to look good whilst fighting Seferi. That’s a fact and the big man looks happy with himself and happy in the ring – the most important facet to a successful fighter – his footwork certainly hasn’t slowed and nor has his mind. Intelligent both in a general scheme of things but, more importantly, in the ring there’s a danger of Saturday’s fight becoming an exhibition of Tyson Fury and his greatest hits but there’s no doubting he’ll get the win so, hey, why should we be complaining?!

Whilst Sefer Seferi does little to raise hopes of an immediate return to world level for Tyson Fury, when you look at where Fury was 12 months ago it makes the prospect of him getting back where he belongs even more realistic because he’s back fighting and, let’s be honest, few of us truly believed we’d see him back – at whatever level – and whilst this journey will take longer than many would hope for, let’s just enjoy it whilst it lasts because you never truly appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

TERRY FLANAGAN will be headlining the card, officially, despite the fact all the hullaballoo seems to be revolving around THAT Fury comeback – Flanagan will be looking to make history as Britain’s first EVER lightweight and super-lightweight two-weight world champion.

Up against Maurice Hooker, a 28 year old with 26 fights, Terry Flanagan faces the WBO’s NABO Champion of three years who’s built a destructive reputation on the back of 16 professional knockouts; a brief look on his resume, however, wouldn’t exactly fill me with confidence going into the fight with Darleys Perez and Courtney Jackson being the only real “names” to have shared the ring with Hooker.

Up against Jackson in August last year he faced a man with an unbeaten record – 18 and 0 – but ultimately someone who failed to turn up and perform, Hooker looked convincing enough in winning all 10 rounds on two of the scorecards and nine on the third and his shot at the world title is a deserved one, if slightly questionable.

I say questionable because across the super-lightweight division, especially in Britain there are some incredible match-ups that can be made but, ultimately, Hooker has done the job necessary to force his way into the big fight.
For Hooker to stand any chance of winning he needs to disrupt the rhythm of the tactically-astute Flanagan early on and really unleash some fireballs when there’s the opportunity for combination shots – if Hooker can penetrate the defence of Flanagan, work the body and just sling for it then there’s a chance he can upset the greatest of odds. Seems unlikely, though.

Flanagan meanwhile is making his fourth step up in weight having, originally, been a featherweight before stepping up to British level at super-feather, world title at lightweight and now gunning for his second world version at super-lightweight.

The transition each time has been seamless – even if the gulf in quality has been somewhat lacking at times – and a reputation for cautious, safety-first boxing may be boring to some but, undoubtedly, gets the results.

There’s certainly signs of an explosive fighter within the Mancunian as we witnessed when he made his first title defence against the, much-fancied, Diego Magdaleno – dropping the, 28 and 1, challenger three times in the 2nd.

For Flanagan to win then he, realistically, just needs to turn up and get cooking. The overwhelming general opinion in Britain is that Terry is levels above Hooker and he should be able to establish a reign of longevity in the Super Lightweight division.

Flanagan and Fury will step into the ring at the Manchester Arena on June 9th with fire in their belly; one knows they can make history with the other knowing he can shut all the critics up, the nay-sayers, the disbelievers, with a statement of bad intentions come Saturday night.

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