By: Oliver McManus
Tyson Fury returns to the ring on June 9th after a substantial two and half year absence enforced by a variety of compounding issues resulting in the withdrawal of his license and despite such lengthy ring-rust the Lineal champion is looking in the shape of his life having lost eight stone since returning to the gym.
The former IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the world will be up against, 23-1, Sefer Seferi who calls himself The Real Deal – indeed the Albanian, born in Macedonia, will be looking to cause an upset of untold magnitude when he looks to dance with the devil in Manchester.
On the face of it that record looks like the opponent you want for a comeback fight – far more appetizing than the likes of a 17 wins, 19 losses, Jakov Gospic who, for many, was the expected level of opposition – with his 21 knockout victories appearing to be show immense one-punch power.
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 which brings us neatly onto the second issue with Sefer.
Very simply put – he’s a cruiserweight! Not a cruiserweight who’s floated up into heavyweight and had success – akin to David Haye but on a smaller level – but an out and out cruiserweight who’s only ever had one notable fight in the heavier division.
To be fair it’s hard to say that the Albanian has even made a splash in the pond of the cruiserweight scene so the credentials for picking him are slim-to-none and when he did step up to fight Manuel Charr – now WBA Regular Champion – in September 2016, he lost via a 10 round unanimous decision.
If you can take BoxRec’s rankings too seriously you’ll see that the 39 year old isn’t even ranked as the best cruiserweight in Albania – that honour goes to his older brother Nuri.
Nonetheless it’s the padded record we’re familiar with a variety of boxers such as William Bezerra (a 41-0, 40 KO cruiserweight who’d never advanced past South American level) and is a paper-opponent you’d expect to see in with Tyson after such a lengthy absence.
Indeed I’d 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.
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.
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