Tyson Fury will fight for only the second time since his return to boxing when he faces Francesco Pianeta on Saturday night at Windsor Park in Belfast.
The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ is looking to map out a return to the top and has already set his sights on a showdown with Deontay Wilder later this year.
First, however, he must overcome the ‘Italian Ace’ Pianeta. Our boxing expert gives us his best boxing bets ahead of the weekend.
Expect fitter and faster Fury
Fury’s return to the ring in June after a two-year hiatus came against another Italian, Sefer Seferi – and for boxing fans, it was disappointing to say the least. Away from all the hype, he was up against a smaller competitor and it had the feeling of a training bout as Fury pranced around the ring without any real purpose.
While the fight against Pianeta is similar in that this will be another opportunity for Fury to gain fitness and more minutes in the ring, the Italian matches up to Fury more than his fellow countryman Seferi did – he’s taller, more physical, and could cause Fury problems if he isn’t focused. As a result, this showdown does hold some promise.
That said, Tyson Fury has looked sharp in training – slimmer, leaner, and quicker. There’s a different feel to this bout, and he should be one step closer to fighting a competitor higher up the heavyweight ladder after Saturday night. Deontay Wilder will be keeping an eye on ‘2 Fast’ with rumours doing the rounds that a fight will happen between the two later this year.
The former heavyweight champion will be in no mood to mess around, and he’s heavy favourite for Saturday for a reason. He can be backed at 1/100 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Pianeta out to prove he’s not past it
Francesco Pianeta is a southpaw who has never quite made it to the top of heavyweight boxing. He’s had title opportunities a few years ago – he fought Russian Ruslan Chagaev in 2015 for the WBA world heavyweight title and Klitschko in 2013 for multiple world titles. Both times, Pianeta lost by stoppage.
At 33 years of age, the ‘Italian Ace’ is past his prime now, and he’s unlikely to experience another fight as big as Saturday’s bout with Fury. On paper, Fury will have too much for the Italian, but the latter will likely look to frustrate the former heavyweight champ and make it as gruelling as possible.
Pianeta is 13/1 with Grosvenorsport.com to cause an upset on Saturday.
Return of the King will edge closer
I’m with most boxing experts on this one – I cannot see anything but a comfortable Fury victory. It’s a fantastic undercard for the Carl Frampton fight, and I hope that we’re treated to something special and see glimpses of greatness coming back to ‘2 Fast’.
I doubt Pianeta will put up too much of a fight – and I would be surprised if it went to the seventh or eighth round. There’s decent value in this going under 6.5 rounds at 5/6, but I’ll stick my neck out and say that Fury will finish this in the fifth. That can be backed at 7/1.
If Fury wins this comfortably, expect to see him call out Wilder immediately – then we can really look forward to the return of the King.