Tyson Fury’s long-awaited return to the ring is taking place on Saturday the ninth of June at the Manchester Arena. Frank Warren has put together a great undercard including Terry Flanagan’s fight with Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Super Lightweight Title. It looks set to be an interesting night of boxing but the lingering question mark over Fury’s opponent, Sefer Seferi, remains.
Those boxing fans whose proverbial glass is half full will note that 21 of Seferi’s 23 career wins came by way of knockout, and that he has only one loss. That one loss saw him go the distance with Manuel Charr, current WBA Regular Champion.
Those more cynical about the match-up have a lot more ammunition though. Firstly, and most importantly, Sefer Seferi is a cruiserweight. While cruiserweight-heavyweight match-ups do happen, Fury is a giant of a man and in those simple terms this is a complete mismatch. That’s before the quality of the fighters is taken into account.
Secondly, putting the pair’s boxing credentials under the microscope does little to advance Seferi’s case. He’s ranked by boxrec as Albania’s second best cruiserweight behind his brother, Nuri Seferi, 39-8-0 (22). Bear in mind also that there are apparently only two cruiserweights in Albania, and that Nuri is 41 years old.
At a more sprightly 39 years old, Sefer’s most notable wins came against Marcelo Ferreira do Santos and Laszlo Hubert. Neither of whom are exactly box office. The Albanian’s crowning achievement is going the distance against Manuel Charr, but Charr won by a unanimous decision. Altogether then Seferi’s age, size and record hardly inspire confidence that he can provide any sort of opposition for Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion. Ring rust or no ring rust.
In re-examining the self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ it is of course notable that he hasn’t fought since 2015. Fury’s problems outside of the ring are well documented and don’t need to be discussed in detail here, however, what is apparent is that Fury’s training regime is well and truly back on track. The last few months have seen Fury get back to fighting weight from an astronomic, reported 27 stone. Regular social media updates have documented a remarkable transformation, the extent of which also restores faith in Tyson’s (often debated) mental state. In short, the Gypsy King looks ready to rumble, and it will take more than Albania’s second best cruiserweight to stop him.
Glancing at the undercard offers some more competitive boxing, thankfully. A notable highlight is, of course, Flanagan versus Hooker, which by rights should be the main event. The draw of the heavyweight division means the card has been advertised, primarily, as Tyson’s comeback though. Elsewhere Nathan Gorman 12-0 takes on Sean Turner 12-2 in an interesting heavyweight match-up. It’s a step up for Gorman and could provide a further indication of how far the Nantwich man can go.
James Metcalf 17-0 takes on Spaniard, Jorge Fortrea 16-1-1 for the vacant WBC International Super Welterweight Title and Mark Heffron 19-0 takes on Andrew Robinson 21-3-1 at middleweight. In another middleweight clash unbeaten Troy Williamson 7-0, takes on Jack Flately 11-0, which promises to be a competitive affair.
One of the UK’s most promising super featherweights, Zelfa Barrett, is scheduled to appear on the card but, as of yet, has no opponent. He’ll be aiming to regain his confidence after a shock loss to Ronnie ‘The Shark’ Clarke saw the Manchester man miss out on a European title.
Lyndon Arthur 10-0 versus Ghanaian, Charles Adamu 30-9, is another undercard fight worth noting as ‘King Arthur’ looks to continue his unbeaten record against stiffer opposition.
In the third and final heavyweight fight on the card 31 year old Alex Dickinson takes on the increasingly ill-fated David Howe. Howe no longer looks likely to offer much opposition and has been stopped in his last three outings.
With three other bouts for good measure there will be plenty of undercard action but Flanagan versus Hooker and Gorman versus Turner look likely to outshine the main event. Fury’s comeback fight is a massive event for British and world boxing, but he has been handled with kid gloves as regards match-making.