Tyson Fury believes that his dream of fighting for an Irish title may be moving one step closer, with the April 14 Odyssey Arena headliner against Martin Rogan a possible opportunity to dust off the heavyweight domestic strap last seen around the waist of Coleman Barrett in February 2010.
“Providing it gets passed as a title fight, it’s going to be a good thing for me,” buzzed Fury, who has made no secret of the fact that he wants the Irish strap before moving on to bigger things. “I never got to go to the Olympic Games and I never boxed for Ireland – well, I did, actually, twice as an amateur – but when it came to the big tournaments or championships they didn’t want to send me. It was more of a pride thing with me, to be honest, and now I want to put it straight – I’m really looking forward to this fight.”
While Tyson has yet to grace the impressive Odyssey venue, Rogan, on the other hand, has plenty of title experience there, with not too many happy memories unfortunately. But there is no doubt that the Clonard bruiser will be looking to put the two defeats by Sam Sexton into distant memory and arrive in stellar shape on fight night. Judging by initial impressions, both he and Fury look well-conditioned already.
“The fans are going to be out in their numbers,” predicted the ‘Iron Man’, who always attracts a healthy following. “Belfast’s a fight city and the kids [aspiring boxers] will like Fury and be inspired by a big guy like him, they’ll know him from Channel 5.”
“It’s fantastic to be back in Belfast, a long time coming and it has everyone talking about this fight,” added promoter Mick Hennessy. “Everyone wants it and we’ve duly delivered. I believe it will be the biggest heavyweight attraction in Ireland since Muhammad Ali in the 1970s at Croke Park [a 1972 knockout win over Alvin Lewis]. We have two proven warriors here. Tyson Fury beat Chisora and we all saw what he did out in Germany.”
I assume Mick means Chisora’s actual fight with Klitschko and not the post-fight melee that garnered boxing more column inches than anything with gloves on has managed in recent years. One matter that is not fully resolved for this upcoming event is the issue of Fury’s “Irishness’ and Rogan took every available opportunity to poke and prod at Tyson over the on-going matter.
“The Irish title eligibility has been proved,’ affirmed Hennessy. “The title is Mel’s business but last time we spoke, the Irish title was looking good. Tyson wants to win an Irish title and after the Klitschkos he is the most talked about heavyweight in world boxing.”
The title situation may seem fairly clear cut from Mick’s end but Boxing Union of Ireland president Mel Christle apparently sees it rather differently: “The situation at the moment is quite simple; we are still awaiting confirmation of Tyson Fury’s eligibility to fight for an Irish title,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Martin Rogan has his own eligibility concerns, over an Irish license dispute. It seems that Martin has a valid point of contention but the funky world of boxing politics is too sticky a subject to tackle at this moment.
“I’m an Irish citizen in Belfast and I don’t know why I can’t fight off my Irish license in my own city,” remarked Rogie. “It needs looked at, the politics of it but I should be able to be fighting on my Irish license.
People talk about belts but this fight doesn’t need a belt. A newspaper once said that I showed my Commonwealth title off too much when walking down the road but I was proud of winning a title. It was brilliant to win that, but this fight is a proper fight in a fight city – Belfast loves me and I love Belfast.”