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In a packed out Kings Hall, Belfast, British Heavyweight Boxing Champion Tyson Fury beat Nicolai Firtha after a fifth round stoppage. Despite an impressive performance from Fury, many feel the fight was called off too early. Controversy aside, no-one can doubt the result was inevitable. 

Tyson Fury Searches for His Next Fight

Before the fight, both men attended the weigh showing less-than-pristine conditioning. Fury (15-0 10KOs) comes hot off a twelve round battle with Derek Chisora in July, a fight in which he stole both the Commonwealth Heavyweight Title and Chisora's unbeaten record. 

Following his Chisora fight, Fury needed to capitalise on his growing UK profile and book in a quality opponent to fight. Nobody expected him to fight as soon as September, and with the earliness of the bout came disappointment with the choice of opponent. Nicolai Firtha is not a name that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Nevertheless, at such short notice he was actually quite a good choice.

Nicolai Firtha (20-8 8KOs), thirty-two, has been boxing professionally for seven years, winning twenty fights, losing eight and drawing one. In this this time, he has had some success; on July 26 2010 he won the vacant NABA USA Heavyweight title. More recently, and most impressively, he took current WBA Heavyweight World Champion Aleksandr Povetkin the full ten rounds in a fight that proved Firtha's metal. It is also this showing that booked him the bout with up and coming Tyson Fury.

Fury Beats Nicolai Firtha 

The fight started explosively, with Fury looking to score a knockdown. He must have smelled something in the air, because the 6'9” boxer from Manchester threw combinations early. It was a big problem for Firtha, because the combinations landed and it wasn't long before the 'Stone Man's' nose flowed crimson.

Round two was much the same, with Fury moving on his impressive start and controlling the round. It looked like we were going to see a whitewash. Nobody banked on the punching power of Nicolai Firtha, though. He isn't especially known for knock outs, with only eight of his fights ending that way, but in round three he wobbled Fury.

Firtha came out in the third looking more dangerous. He wanted to make something of the fight and he started to throw more punches in this round than he had in any other. Finally one got through, a sweet right that shattered Fury's questionable defence and made room for Firtha to slam a few more fists into the Brit's face. Fury showed he has a granite chin as he rode the onslaught, managing to steady himself as the round drew to a close.

This was the last we were to see of Firtha's danger, because Fury dominated the last two rounds. He used his strong jab perfectly, landing it with ease and keeping Firtha from getting anywhere near him. Firtha's face was now full of blood, and his beaten face had taken more than it could handle. In the forth round, Fury caught Firtha perfectly and he went down. From here, the outcome was inevitable.

The final round began the same, with Fury using his jab to dominate. A nearly one-sided fight was ended in round five when the referee brought the fight to a stop following a Fury punch. The stoppage was not without controversy; the punch itself was clean, but it was not as powerful as some of the others that had already been thrown. It was undoubtedly a little too early, but ultimately there was no way for Firtha to get back into the fight. He simply wasn't throwing enough back at Fury.

Tyson Fury – Too Unfinished to Face the Klitschkos?

After the fight, Fury took a ringside interview. There was one question that had to be asked; who will Tyson Fury fight next. Mick Hennessy, Fury's promoter, stepped in two answer this. On a future fight with one of the Klitschkos, the promoter had this to say:
“Not the smart move. In eighteen months he [Fury] will wipe the floor with any heavyweight in the world.”
The plan for Fury, it seems, is to fight for a European title, and then after that go for a world belt. Both the promoter and Fury himself recognise that the fighter still has his flaws, the most major of these being his slack defence. This has gotten him into major trouble in both this fight and his previous bout with Dereck Chisora. In both matches, Fury has allowed his opponent to catch him too easily, and it has left him stunned in the early stages of the fights.

If Fury is to win a World Title fight, he will need to fix these weaknesses. Until then, Fury cannot even think about conquering the heavyweight boxing world.