The Lineal heavyweight champion of the world returns to the ring tonight when Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KO’s) takes on Italian Francesco Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KO’s) at Belfast’s Windsor Park football stadium.
‘The Gypsy King’ made his comeback earlier this summer against Sefer Seferi, ending an absence from the sport of over two-and-a-half years following problems with drinking, depression, drugs and the serving of a backdated ban.
Despite his absence and personal problems, Fury’s popularity outside of the ring has risen to a whole new level, with the British fans getting behind the entertaining Manchester man as he fights his way back into title contention.
Fury continues to shake off the ring-rust and re-prove his dedication to the sport; losing another stone while training at Ricky Hatton’s gym in Manchester. After ballooning up to around 28st during his exile, Fury tipped the scales at 19st 10lbs in his comeback fight – a fourth round TKO win over Seferi in June.
Pianeta is a former European heavyweight champion with experience at the top level. Despite a four inch heigh disadvantage, the 33-year-old is a seasoned heavyweight campaigner and is expected to be sterner test for Fury.
British fight fans will be forgiven for knowing little about Pianeta. Having never fought in the U.K. and facing only two British opponents in Matt Skelton and Scott Gammer, the German-based boxer will be treading on unfamiliar territory this weekend at Windsor Park.
The most notable name on Pianeta’s resume came when facing former unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. Though he entered the contest unbeaten, Pianeta was out-gunned in six rounds by the Ukrainian legend.
Pianeta enters this weekend’s contest with four losses in forty fights, and after suffering two defeats in his previous three outings – including a shock TKO loss to American veteran Kevin Johnson – he will see Fury as his final chance at forging a career at heavyweight.
The bout serves as a tantalising appetiser to Carl Frampton’s WBO ‘Interim’ featherweight title defence against Luke Jackson.
However, should Fury emerge victorious, all eyes will be ringside to see him come face-to-face with WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder – who will be working the fight for BT Sport – as the two men inch closer to a blockbuster heavyweight showdown.
Fury has long been linked with Wilder (40-0, 39 KO’s), and with negotiations between the two camps at an apparently advanced stage, he will know there can be no room for a slip-up against the capable – but likely overmatched – Pianeta tonight night.
Article by: Emmily Simcock
Follow Emmily on Twitter at: @emmily_jane