Tyson Fury beat Dereck Chisora by 10th-round stoppage to become the new European and British heavyweight champion in a one-sided contest at London’s ExCel Arena.
The unbeaten 26-year-old dominated from start to finish and Chisora pulled out at the end of 10th round to hand Fury his 23rd career victory that could now see him challenge veteran Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO, WBA and IBF belts.
The Manchester fighter has previously expressed doubts about Klitschko’s stomach for a world title showdown but a commanding display against Chisora in front of a sold-out 18,700 crowd may have enhanced his cause.
The battle failed to live up to its full-throttle billing, however, with Fury in charge throughout, and the crowd jeered all of the later rounds as neither fighter unleashed the hits they have become so renowned for.
Chisora, who was defending the European title he won in September last year, was unable to avenge his 2011 loss to Fury when the Finchley fighter suffered his first career defeat via a unanimous points decision at Wembley Arena.
The 30-year-old’s career record now stands at 20 victories and five defeats.
Chisora was coming into the fight on the back of a five-fight winning streak and appeared fitter and leaner than he was three years ago.
In contrast, there were suggestions Fury may struggle from a lack of sharpness having only fought two bouts in the last two years but the 6ft 9in fighter started strong, landing an early uppercut which wobbled his opponent.
Chisora was handed two warnings for low blows in the first round but there was a touching moment of respect in round two when the duo smiled and touched gloves after Fury had failed to land a wild right hook.
Chisora finally connected with an overhand right but Fury was dominating the early stages with a canny southpaw right jab and a handful of strong uppercuts.
The fight drifted through the halfway stage with neither fighter really committing themselves to strong hits and the crowd responded with a smattering of disappointed boos at the end of rounds six and seven.
Chisora struggled to trouble Fury, who was in cruise-control, peppering his opponent with jabs and undercuts but withholding any shattering blows to perk up a weary crowd.
Blood continued to stream from the nose, eye and mouth of Chisora and as the fight moved into round 10, it became clear the Londoner needed an unlikely knock-out to turn the contest in his favour.
Only his opponent, however, looked capable of ending the fight and at the end of the 10th round Chisora was reluctantly pulled out by his corner to confirm a thoroughly deserved victory for Fury.
Elsewhere on the card, Billy Joe Saunders edged an enthralling encounter with Chris Eubank Jr on points to retain his British, European and Commonwealth middleweight titles.
There was also a close points victory for Frankie Gavin, who beat Bradley Skeete to defend his British welterweight belt and regain the Commonwealth title while Frank Buglioni was crowned the new WBO European super-middleweight champion after beating Andrew Robinson.
Liam Walsh earned a unanimous decision over Gary Sykes to become the new British super-featherweight champion.
Fury’s trainer and uncle Peter Fury believes his nephew’s controlled display showed another side to his fighting capabilities and proves he is ready for a world title bout.
“Dereck was always dangerous,” Peter Fury said.
“You hold your feet too long and the big right hand comes over, he kept trying it.
“This is another side you’re seeing in Tyson Fury. He’s being patient. Like a horse holding its reins.
“He’s got a lot more power than people think, he can punch, so it’s about holding those reins back.
“He hasn’t got out of third gear tonight, there’s a hell of a lot more to come from Tyson Fury.”
*Doncaster’s Jason Cunningham was outpointed over 10 rounds at the Dome last night by Nottingham’s Jason Booth.
The match was a British super flyweight title eliminator.
Super featherweight Andy Townend KO’d Peter Cope in the fourth round in a English super-featherweight title eliminator. Cope tasted the canvas twice in the fourth round.
At Barnsley Metrodome, middleweight Ben Davies performed a similar TKO. As lightweight did Ben Wager over Michael Mooney.