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ON SATURDAY night, after nearly three years out of the ring, Tyson Fury returned in a remarkably unimpressive bout against Sefer Seferi. From the announcement of Seferi as Fury’s opponent, pundits were disgruntled with the low bar being set for the return of the “Gypsy King.”
After a 32-month layoff, bouts of serious mental illness and gaining around 10 stone, it was expected that Fury’s team wouldn’t want a big challenge for his return. But an opponent who’s ranked 65th in the weight division below, proved a pointless exercise for both men.
On the night, Fury started as he meant to go on, controlling the pace and distance with his movement and lightning fast jab. Seferi seemed game and attempted to rush the Manchester man with flurrying attacks, but failed to get past Furys 10-inch reach advantage.
As expected, the showboating started immediately, with Fury gesturing to the crowd as much as throwing punches. In the second round, the former champ was distracted by a huge brawl near the ringside, practically pausing during the fight to watch, with Seferi still unable to capitalise.
In the next two rounds, Fury began applying more pressure and finding his target easily with right hands and uppercuts. Seferi, now well and truly subdued, was pulled out by his corner at the end of the fourth, to boos from the 15,000 fans at the Manchester Arena, unsatisfied with both lack of competition and a conclusive knock out.
On the same bill, Manchester’s Terry Flanagan fought travelling United States fighter Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO Super-Lightweight title, in a thrilling and gritty contest.
Hooker kept calm under the constant barrage from Flanagan and managed to pick shots well using his reach advantage. The Texan was able to capitalise on severe cuts to Flanagan’s forehead and eye, sustained from a head clash in the seventh. Both men slugged it out in the 12th, keen to impress the judges and secure victory, with Hooker being crowned winner via split decision after the final bell.
Stateside, the sensational Terence Crawford became a three-weight world champion by stopping a game Jeff Horn in the ninth round.
Crawford, who unified the super-lightweight division last year, moved up to face the WBO welterweight champion Horn, who shocked fans in 2017 when he out-fought Manny Pacquiao to win the belt.
However, he was unable to recreate his title glory this time, against the dazzling Nebraskan. With his unique mix of boxer/fighter, Crawford peppered Horn throughout with his wide array of hook-cum-uppercuts and body shots. After Horn was downed briefly in the ninth, Crawford poured on the punches until the referee was force to stop the contest.
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