Tag Archives: Martin Rogan

Tyson Fury–Madison Square Garden–Steve USS Cunningham–Look Out!

Look out United States of America, Tyson Fury, Britain’s most beloved and hated man-child and most congenital twitterer comes to New York City’s storied Madison Square Garden venue to take on Steve USS Cunningham in a 12 round IBF eliminator donnybrook. The good news is that he will have to pass through Homeland Security screening.

And the bad news? The bad news is that in spite of informing the public that he is coming after USS Cunningham with the intent to knock him out, Fury will pass seamlessly through screening and find a taxi to take him to Madison Square Garden, so what then you ask?

Fury With Friends

Perhaps a reflection of the reverse story backdrop that played out weeks ago in sunny London would be instructive. Grizzled southpaw contender Tony Thompson sicced his Tiger on British heavyweight hopeful David Price to take him down for the abrupt stoppage that left British pints full of tears that mournful Saturday night. Steve Cunningham is not as large, grizzled, and scary as Thompson, but he’s quick, moves well, and jabs well and still hungry for respect in his new heavyweight division.

But can Cunningham really take down the heavyweight hopes and dreams of the young mountainous man-child  Fury?

Fury has big ambitions planned when he intends to introduce his “little” 18 year old cousin Hughie Fury to the world by way of his pro boxing debut at the Madison Square Garden venue. Both Furys are trained by Peter Fury, keeping this Irish Traveler family tight in the spilled blood bonds of the often treacherous sport of boxing. This card will be their first step towards consolidating the heavyweight championship belts between them as The Furious Two, the new dynamic duo tapped to replace the Klitschko brothers when they retire.

Here is an entertaining Youtube video of Fury reprising his best devil may care, sly tongued, young, lean and hungry Cassius persona. Twinkles fall like stars out of his eyes as he showers the camera with his gift of self promotional gab. It’s a good time to be Britain’s biggest, brightest, undefeated heavyweight star with a bountiful future all laid out in front of him as you can see:


Mr. USS Nice Guy Helping Others

Mr. USS Nice Guy in Assistance

Steve Cunningham is coming off a disputed split decision loss to his old nemesis, Tomasz Adamek in an IBF eliminator. The 6-9 Fury will be substantially larger with greater reach than any previous opponent of Cunningham. He has a busy offense, quick hands, can box outside and especially loves mixing it up inside, and moves very well for a big man. More unsettling, Fury has become a switch hitter, boxing orthodox or southpaw as the mood strikes, a completely southpaw fight against Martin Rogan as I recall.

That’s a really tall order for Cunningham to be sure, but USS has been a staple in Germany for a number of years and had good sparring against many of the tall heavyweights who dominate modern divisional ratings. You can bet a championship fighter of his caliber has a plan mapped out to surprise Fury, but it best be better than the tepid game plan he showed against Adamek. Feather jabs alone just won’t cut the mustard at this level, so we shall just have to see what the fighters bring.

Tyson Fury fights tend to be interesting because of his palpable charisma and busy, animated style. I daresay he will attract a raucous crowd who have heard the noise and want to check out the reality. That’s Saturday, April 20th, Madison Square Garden, that’s where the action will be. 

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling–Tyson Fury vs Martin Rogan

Now I’m going on record to say that I will be the last to interfere in the Irish genological claims being thrown about for this latest Irish brouhaha, but could be this is the best, most dynamic all Irish fight since Sailor Tom Sharkey got tangled up with  Peter Maher in New York City back in 1897 some 115 years ago.

Maher was coming off his all too brief claim to the heavyweight title in another all Irish fight of sorts when he knocked out Aussie-Irishman Steve O’Donnell in the first round for James J Corbett‘s briefly vacated title, but then lost by 1st round KO to Bob Fitzsimmons in a legendary bout on a spit island in the middle of the Rio Grande River at Langtry, Texas.

Tom Sharkey then beat Fitzsimmons with the dubious intervention of hired gun/cum referee Wyatt Earp who ruled Ruby Robert’s famed solar plexus blow a foul, thus awarding Sharkey the “title” by disqualification. The furious Fitz immediately sued to freeze the purse until a legal hearing.

The California judge ruled that California had no such laws regulating prize fights, so there it is folks, proof positive that boxing controversies and multiple title claims are nothing new under the sun. 

The Sharkey/Maher fight was a wild melee typical of the brawling Sharkey style with both fighters continuing to punch it up with each other and assorted cornermen after the bell sounded to end the 7th round. After the police stormed the ring to restore order to the proceedings, so the shaken ref declared a draw before finding more peaceful surroundings.

Both Sharkey and Maher were evenly matched at 173 lbs.

Fast forward more than century later and young Tyson Fury will be 6-9, 250-260 lbs and  Martin Rogan  goes 6-3, 230 or so, so these are some really big boys toeing the scratch line these days for the “vacated” Irish Heavyweight title. Don’t know if there will be an old fashioned Irish donnybrook breaking out after the bell sounds for the rest period, but the fight itself has the mark of some old fashioned brawling action mixed in with the long jabs that Fury needs to pile up the points and set up the projected finishing flurry.

We can only hope and pray that Fury’s Irish Traveller fans don’t get crossed up with the local Belfast crowd since Fury and Rogan appear to be on very good personal terms.

Genuine Irish
Genuine Irish

Martin Rogan only a few years ago was the toast of Ireland and Great Britain after winning the Prizefighter tourney out of the blue. The popular Belfast cabdriver then leveraged his fame to dispose of former Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison before becoming the first fighter to ever knock out Matt Skelton. That victory netted him the British Commonwealth title and his first ever defense against British contender Sam Sexton, a classic brawler/boxer matchup with plenty of dramatic ebb and flow in the action. Unfortunately for Rogan, he turned into a gentleman brawler at the wrong moment when he had young Sexton reeling into the corner out on his feet. As Rogan moved in for the finish, Sexton spit out his mouthpiece and Rogan honorably stepped away so that the ref could rinse it and refit it to Sexton. It was a classy move by Rogan whose tough looks belie his sense of fairplay, but not the smartest move in a prizefight. Alas, the ref stopped Rogan only a few unfortunate moments later because of his rapidly swelling face, an all too familar miscarriage of fate found in life’s misfortunes.

It was a terrible ending of a fine night’s fight and only got worse in the rematch when Rogan retired after 6 rounds, citing an injured shoulder. He came back against a couple of lackluster journeymen in 2010, but has been inactive since then and will be weeks away from his 41st birthday come fight night.

Furious Training

Furious Training

In short, nobody knows what Rogan has left, but his brawling style is not one to gather much rust. Fury did look surprisingly vulnerable in his last go against  the lusty Canadian brawler Neven Pajkic when he was dropped hard with a right hand. Though Fury was up quickly and seemed to be OK, Rogan’s power has been proven at a higher level. A healthy Rogan could present a clear and threatening danger to Fury if Rogan has his timing back.

Rogan may further get an assist by the rotating cast of trainers Fury has been going through in his short career. Tyson Fury has become a consensus top 10 ranked heavyweight who more than anything needs a top trainer who matches his personality and style and then stick to him. Many are the downfalls when a fighter starts switching around trainers on a whim. 

That said, odds will be heavily stacked in Fury’s favor for a good reason, so something has to give and I suspect it will be Rogan going out with his honor intact on his shield. Tyson Fury is still physically talented  even if his consistency and stability may be in question.

To wit: “The ultimate Irish warrior was Cucuhalian, everybody knows that. Now Rogan and I will decide who is the rightful heir to his throne and I have no doubt it will be me.”

The game plan is a fun night of smiling Irish eyes as Fury consolidates his Irish support in advance of a projected heavyweight title shot coming soon, very soon.