Fast Results from Manchester: Fury Breezes; Hooker Upsets Flanagan

The match between local fan favorite Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker with the WBO 140-pound belt at stake was ostensibly the main event, but the main selling point of tonight’s show at the Manchester Arena was the freak fight between Manchester-born Tyson Fury and Sefer Seferi. At the pre-fight press conference, the six-foot-nine Fury towered over his previously obscure opponent. The image brought back memories of grunt-and-groan wrestler Andre the Giant.

Imagine how ridiculous it would have looked if Fury hadn’t shed all that weight. During his lengthy hiatus from boxing – two years, six months, and 12 days — his weight ballooned to almost 400 pounds. At yesterday’s weigh-in, he tipped the scales at a relatively svelte 276, only two pounds above his career high but 66 pounds more than Seferi.

It was understood that Fury-Seferi would be little more than an exhibition. The younger of two fighting brothers, Seferi was 23-1, but had defeated only four men with winning records. Also working against him (if one took a leap of faith by assuming that he would actually render an honest effort) was that he was 39 years old and had fought virtually his entire career as a cruiserweight.

Before the fight, Fury said, “I feel like I’ve been a goldfish in a tank, trapped and now I’m getting released back into the river where I belong….You’re going to see the best Tyson Fury you’ve ever seen.” Seferi was deferential. He called Fury “a boxing legend of the 21st century.”

The expectation in this corner was that Seferi would submit to a mauling for a few rounds and then retire on his stool and that is basically what transpired. It wasn’t much of a mauling to be honest — a scuffle outside the ring provided more action — but Seferi clocked out after the fourth round.

There wasn’t much to take away from this fight. Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) landed a few good uppercuts, but was also touched by a few overhand rights on those few occasions when Seferi fought on his front foot. We say “touched” because Seferi’s punches had no mustard on them.

There’s talk that Fury’s next opponent will be Manuel Charr, but Charr has signed for a match with Fres Oquendo on Sept. 29 in Cologne, Germany. Regardless, the self-styled Gypsy King is back, ready to clean out the division and reclaim his lineal title – or so he says.

Flanagan-Hooker

Flanagan and Hooker fought for the belt vacated by Terence Crawford. It was Flanagan’s first fight at 140. He moved up in weight after five successful defenses of his WBO lightweight title. A southpaw fighting on his home turf, the Mancunian entered the contest 33-0, the longest undefeated record of any active British boxer. But when the smoke cleared, it was Hooker who emerged with the title.

The invader from Dallas, who has sparred extensively with Terence Crawford, advanced to 24-0-3 by dint of winning a split decision. The scores were 117-111 and 115-113 with the dissenting judge having it for the hometown fighter 117-111. There were no knockdowns, but Flanagan suffered a nasty vertical cut in the center of his forehead in round seven after an accidental clash of heads and ended the bout with a small cut in the corner of his right eye. In the view of most ringsiders, both 117-111 tallies were too wide.

Gorman

In another bout of note, undefeated Nathan Gorman, in his most impressive showing to date, blasted out Dublin’s Sean Turner in the third round of an 8-round heavyweight fight. A direct descendent of Bartley Gorman, England’s most fabled bare-knuckle fighter and a distant relative of Tyson Fury, Gorman improved to 13-0 with his 11th knockout. He is trained by former welterweight champion Ricky Hatton who said, “This boy is going straight to the top” when he pilfered Gorman out of the amateur ranks.

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