The laws of physics came into play this afternoon at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Britain's Tyson Fury (21-0, 15KO) stopped Philadelphia's Steve Cunningham (25-6, 12KO) with a right hook in the 7th round of their 12 round heavyweight eliminator.
In the days leading up to the clash discussion centered around whether the smaller and lighter Cunningham (6ft 3, 210lbs) would be able to stand up to the taller and heavier Fury's (6ft 9, 254lbs) attack.
Cunningham began the contest using his agility and movement to establish a pace and let his jab, both to the head and belly, help find range. Fury came forward and connected with some jabs but missed with his follow up punches.
In the second round a right hand from Cunningham put Fury down. Fury rose and beat the count. As Cunningham continued to box and move with skill and precision, Fury began to lean on Cunningham whenever they clinched.
In the third and fourth frames Cunningham began to land his right hand with consistency. A sweeping KO attempt missed in the third. In the fourth he caught Fury flush with a straight right and staggered him.
Shortly into the fifth round referee Eddie Cotton deducted a point from Fury for holding (and possibly using his head). Fury enjoyed his best round to that point, connecting with several combinations, and maintaining pressure.
The sixth round featured close action as both fighters traded at an even pace. Fury connected with a strong left. Cunningham answered back with a big right hand.
In the seventh both fighters traded punches but Fury moved Cunningham to the ropes. A solid body punch put Cunningham against the ropes. A booming right hook followed and Cunningham was down and unable to beat the count. Referee Eddie Cotton waved it off at 2:55 of the round.
In his post fight remarks Cunningham acknowledged that the weight and force behind Fury's punch was difficult to contend with. He also suggested Fury used his elbow to hold his head in place for the KO shot.
In the eight round co feature Brooklyn middleweight KO artist Curtis "Showtime" Stevens (24-3, 17KO) won a unanimous decision against Chicago's Derrick Findley (20-10, 13KO).
Stevens put rounds in the bank as he boxed and slugged it out with the tough Findley. While the KO did not materialize, Stevens displayed his boxing skill and entertained the fans.
Chicago was conceding nothing to Brooklyn as Findley gave as good as he got and talked trash continually.
When the scores were tallied Stevens earned the decision with scores of (78-74) twice and (79-73).
Polish heavyweight Adam Kownacki (5-0, 5KO) brought a vocal contingent of supporters from Brooklyn to witness his second round TKO of Calbert Lewis (0-3).
In a four round heavyweight attraction Hughie Fury (2-0, 2KO), the eighteen year old cousin of Tyson Fury, made short work of the overmatched Alex Rozman (1-1, 1KO).
With an extensive amateur background Fury was relaxed and polished in the ring as he cruised to a second round TKO.
Exciting lightweight prospect Karl Dargan (13-0, 7KO) of Philadelphia earned a disappointing TKO win when his opponent Edward Valdez was unable to continue after the second round. Valdez complained of an injured hand.
In the afternoon's first bout Svedali Sheriffi (9-2-2, 8KO) left his avid Albanian supporters saddened by losing by TKO in the 5th round to Josh Harris (9-6-1, 7KO) of Youngstown, Ohio.