Tyson Fury defeated Francesco Pianeta to secure a bout with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, on this day in 2018.
It was Fury’s second fight following a self-inflicted absence in the 10-round contest against the German opponent, while Wilder was sat ringside at Belfast’s Windsor Park to watch the then 30-year-old ease to victory.
Time in the ring was important for Fury as ring-rust was to blame for a few momentary lapses in concentration. He sealed his 27th success from 27 bouts, winning 100-90 on the scorecard of all three judges.
Fury had already secured a fourth-round TKO win over Sefer Seferi in his first fight in nearly three years in June 2018, but he needed more rounds in the ring before agreeing to risky contest with Wilder.
Despite winning both bouts, those were the only fights Fury had with inexperienced trainer Ben Davison before his preparation for the world’s most dangerous heavyweight at the time.
In the first round, Fury showed his skills after being hit by a combination while trapped in the corner, but he remarkably manoeuvred his way out of it before finishing that particular exchange on top.
Fury promised to take Pianeta more seriously than his bout with Seferi, but that still contributed to him switching off and occasionally getting caught by the German.
In the fourth round, Pianeta connected with a left hook which Fury acknowledged with a nod of the head before he was again caught in the sixth with a right uppercut and further left hooks.
Fury continued to break Pianeta down, but he never really looked in danger of being knocked down in the bout. His lack of power was visible in the eighth round when a left hook, his best punch of the fight, did not trouble Pianeta.
The 25,000-strong crowd recognised the lack of drama by booing at the final bell, but their boos then turned to cheers when Wilder joined Fury in the ring to confirm their future fight.