BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder yelled vicious intentions at each other as their world heavyweight title fight was confirmed after Fury’s second comeback win Saturday.
Fury won every round of a ten round points decision over Francesco Pianeta before it was announced he will challenge WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder, who climbed into the ring for some trash-talking.
Their face-to-face confrontation in the ring was more entertaining than Fury’s predictable 100-90 points win over Pianeta in front of 25,000 at Belfast’s Windsor Park.
Fury’s second fight in as many months lacked drama and some fans jeered at the end — but the former champion was happy to shed some more ring rust.
It was then the perfect time and place to get the hype machine rolling.
“They called and I answered, I said yes and now he gets the chance to fight the lineal world heavyweight champion of the world,” Fury said.
“One thing I do promise you, when I go to Las Vegas I’m knocking you the **** out.”
“I’m going to knock you out, this I promise you, you are going to experience being hit by the Bronze Bomber,” Wilder replied.
“Now this fight is official, this fight is on baby. This is what we have been waiting for, the best fighting the best.”
The pair also clashed at a city centre hotel on Friday and it is a scene we will get used to before the pair finally meet again in a ring.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said about the date and venue: “All will be revealed next week — but the fight is on.”
Two unbeaten records will be on the line when American Wilder makes an eighth defense of his WBC belt against Englishman Fury, who won the other three world titles (WBA, IBF and WBO) with a shock points win over Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 but then did not fight again for a variety of reasons until two months ago.
It still seems a fight too soon for Fury to be facing Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) after so much inactivity and after losing eight stones for his comeback.
This was an improvement from his ring return ten weeks ago, but Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) is still short of the sharpness, fluency and movement of his win over Klitschko.
But it is on and owes in part to the breakdown in talks between Wilder and Fury’s English rival Anthony Joshua, the WBA-IBF-WBO champion.
It is perhaps boxing’s biggest bout of the year other than the middleweight rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez next month.
A lot was on the line for Fury — he expects to make £10million from facing Wilder, possibly in Las Vegas on November 10 or 17 — and he came through his audition without much discomfort.
The 6ft 9in giant from Manchester had promised to make “Italian sausage” out of Pianeta, who was born in Italy but has lived in Germany since childhood. He had to settle for something less spectacular but Fury was happy.
“I think it was a calculated boxing performance,” Fury said.
“I got ten rounds with a very tough man under my belt. I was working on my jab, slipping his punches. I thought that was a step up with the opponent and display. I needed the rounds and I had plenty left in the tank.”
Fury, 30, got into the ring to the sounds of “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd while Wilder, from Alabama, looked on from the front row.
Klitschko stopped Pianeta, 33, in six rounds five years ago but Fury was unable to seriously trouble the Germany-based boxer.
Fury weighed in 18 pounds lighter (18 stones 6 pounds) than his comeback fight against Sefer Seferi in June after two-and-a-half years in exile due to problems with drink, drugs and depression, during which time he also served a backdated doping ban.
He showed better movement in the first round than he did against Seferi, nimbly swivelling out of a corner while peppering Pianeta with shots to the head.
Fury whose mother Amber is from Belfast, employed his jab to good use in a sharp second round full of feints and nice moves.
Pianeta rocked Fury back on to his heels momentarily with a left hook at the start of the third round before the former champion resumed his jab and feints.
It was steady, rather than explosive, as Fury continued to rely on his jab rather than go hunting for a knockout.
The English boxer ended the ninth with some of his best punches of the fight, but Pianeta was unmoved.
Fury, who switched to southpaw for the last two rounds, did not get the grandstand finish he or his promoter Frank Warren wanted, but he did answer questions over his fitness as he looked sharp until the end.