Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) made it look easy in his second comeback fight after a long absence from the ring, defeating Francesco Pianeta (35-5-1, 21 KOs) via unanimous decision in a 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday night at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
ESPN's Dan Rafael showed a shutout on the cards for Fury:
This fight was set up as a warm-up bout for Fury, as he has his sights on WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who was in attendance for the fight. Fury even referenced Wilder's home state in his ring walk, playing "Sweet Home Alabama," which Wilder didn't seem to mind, per BT Sport:
After the bout, Wilder entered the ring, telling the crowd "the fight is on," per the Showtime live stream on Facebook. Fury and Wilder then got into some trash-talking, much to the delight of the crowd that moments before wasn't pleased with the action in the ring.
Fury still has work to do if he wants to defeat Wilder. As Yahoo's Chris Mannix pointed out, Pianeta is a few levels below the "Bronze Bomber":
That said, Fury could use the stepping stone. After defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to become the lineal heavyweight champion, Fury slipped away from the sport, as a drug ban and a couple of retirement announcements kept him out. He's back with a purpose and a plan, and the fight in Belfast showed he still has considerable skills for a 6'9" giant.
Fury started the fight in a much more focused and purposeful fashion than he did in previous bout against Sefer Seferi. He was light on his feet, moving around the ring and keeping his hands busy. He didn't appear to have much rust to shake off.
The 33-year-old Pianeta, who has challenged for heavyweight titles before but is well past his prime, did little to put Fury in uncomfortable spots. The second round saw Fury backed into a corner, but he bobbed and weaved his way out of every punch.
By the fourth round, it was clear Fury didn't find Pianeta a threat, per Sporting News' Andreas Hale:
The 30-year-old Fury showed off a solid double jab, which he used to set up hooks to the body. Anytime Pianeta tried to counter, Fury was quick to slip the punch, either taking a step out of range or moving his head and coming right back with a shot of his own.
The Ring's Ryan Songalia praised Fury's footwork:
Even with the all that, Fury's focus seemed to wane, and the crowd grew restless by the middle frames. Pianeta appeared ripe for a knockdown, but Fury took his time. He ripped Pianeta with hard left hooks and shots to the body at close range. They were good punches, and Pianeta had no answer, but they weren't quite flush enough to rock him.
When the final bell rang, the crowd booed, but Fury seemed happy to get his rounds in as he looked toward a bout with Wilder. That would provide a nice shot of energy to the heavyweight division, with the winner likely going on to challenge the division's biggest star, Anthony Joshua.