Tyson Fury defended his WBC heavyweight world title with a comprehensive victory over old rival Derek Chisora
Fury stayed on course for a unification showdown with reigning IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA holder Oleksandr Usyk, who was ringside at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, after pummelling Chisora into a 10th-round stoppage.
The 34-year-old Morecambe fighter should now get his crack at Ukrainian Usyk, and a shot at becoming the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, some time in the spring.
Afterwards Fury called out a grinning Usyk, snarling “You’re next you little b***h. Let’s get it on.”
Chisora was brought in for a third bout with Fury after proposed fights with Usyk, who has been taking a break from boxing, or British rival Anthony Joshua failed to materialise.
Fury had comfortably beaten Chisora on points in 2011 and again in 2014, also via a 10th-round stoppage.
Thus, the ‘trilogy’ fight that British heavyweight boxing never knew it needed had been a hard sell, especially during a World Cup.
Chisora, after all, had lost seven of his 20 fights since that second defeat to Fury and turns 39 later this month.
The event was not a sell-out but nevertheless almost 60,000 hardy souls braved the icy December weather to be in attendance.
Fury, in his first fight since ‘retiring’ after knocking out Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 at Wembley in April, warmed up in his dressing room in an England shirt and walked out to ‘Three Lions’.
When the action got under way a punishing body shot momentarily left Chisora gasping for breath, and in the second round Fury began finding his target with more frequency.
Chisora gestured that he was not concerned by the onslaught but he was clearly struggling with Fury’s power – as he had in the previous two meetings.
In the third Chisora was hanging on again, so much so that at one point he dragged the champion to the floor with him.
Such was Fury’s dominance he was able to switch stance from southpaw to orthodox and back again, with Chisora having no answer to the blows raining down on him.
By the ninth round the punishment was really starting to tell, a weary Chisora sporting a bad cut under an eye and spitting blood.
He went out on his shield, though, with referee Victor Loughlin putting Chisora out of his misery in the 10th.
It was a valiant but ultimately futile attempt by the challenger, who would have become the fifth-oldest heavyweight champion if he caused an upset, but will at least take a decent pay cheque into what looks a likely retirement.
“He’s an absolute warrior,” said Fury afterwards. “A British warrior. We’ve had three epic fights and he’s a tough man. He stood up to every shot and was calling me a b***h in there.”
For Fury it was victory number 33 of his undefeated career, and number34 is set to be the one that defines him.
Earlier Greenwich’s Daniel Dubois, 25, recovered from being floored in the first round to defend his WBA regular heavyweight title with a third-round TKO against South African Kevin Lerena.