According to this report from UK Yahoo Eurosport, British WBC Heavyweight Title prospect Tyson Fury now has an opponent for his December 1st heavyweight bout. He will face Russian slugger Denis Boytsov, with the bout slated for the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For both fighters, this is a big step up in the quality of opposition.
In September, Fury announced via Youtube video that he would be fighting on December 1st and was seeking a top 10 ranked opponent. It seems he has found that opponent in Boytsov. According to heavyweightboxing.org, Boytsov was ranked as a top 10 heavyweight for the four major titles, WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring.
The bout is being lined up as a potential title eliminator for the WBC crown currently held by Vitali Klitschko. Whether Klitschko will still be fighting by the time the winner would secure a fight, given his political ambitions, is unknown currently.
Also, former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has continued to talk about a fight with Klitschko in 2013, which would mean the victor of a Fury-Boytsov bout would have to wait before challenging for the title.
Boytsov is undefeated in 31 professional bouts, securing 25 knockouts in the process.
But he has been content to line up and knock out journeymen fighters. While Fury's list of former foes rings a similar tone, with the exception of Derek Chisora, it has to be noted that Fury has competed in 12 fewer fights than Boytsov and is already looking to make the step up in class that Boytsov has, until now, avoided.
The bout should be interesting for the fans. Boytsov is an exciting boxer to watch, with his aggressive, come-forward style that drew early comparisons to Mike Tyson. Boytsov's heavy, fast hands will be a challenge for Fury, who has been prone to "switching off" in past fights.
For Fury, it allows him the opportunity to attempt to use his size and reach advantage to dictate the pace of the fight. It offers the fans a glimpse at his ability to concentrate for the entire fight, to deal with a heavy hitter and to see how he handles himself against the next level in competition.
For me this is a 50-50 fight. I am a huge fan of Tyson Fury and feel that with dedication to his craft he could be the next dominant champion. However, I have seen him drift in the middle of too many fights, and after being decked by the relatively tame-punching Neven Pajkic last year I cannot commit to categorically stating Fury will win.