TYSON FURY clowned his way through his eagerly anticipated ring return at Manchester Arena, claiming victory when outclassed opponent Sefer Seferi was retired on his stool at the end of four wholly farcical rounds.
Fighting for the first time since he wrested the world heavyweight title from Wladimir Klitschko over two-and-a-half years ago, Fury gurned and showboated his way through much of the contest and earned a ticking-off from referee Phil Edwards.
Seferi, who had campaigned almost all his career as a cruiserweight, was never going to trouble the 6ft 9ins Fury by whom he was out-weighed by more than four-and-a-half stone, and the favourite was clearly capable of ending the fight at will.
Cheered to the ring during a ring-walk which included a clip of Afroman’s ‘Because I Got High’ – presumably a sly dig at the drug-testers who contributed to his period of inactivity – Fury turned on the full pantomime act in the opening three minutes.
If he looked a little more serious from the second round onwards, it still felt like something of a non-event as the limited Seferi tried in vain to even reach Fury’s head with his sluggish right uppercuts.
Sporadic thick right hands from Fury had Seferi on the back-foot in the fourth, and his corner evidently decided to spare him further drawn-out punishment when they summoned Edwards and withdrew their man at the end of the round.
Nevertheless, the manner of his win was rendered relatively redundant when compared with the battle he has had to shed more than eight stones as well as winning a much-publicised battle with depression.
His promoter Frank Warren is evidently intent on keeping Fury busy as he begins his long road back towards the top, and he is next scheduled to fight at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 18.
It would do him good to have few nights as facile at this one, with the majority of the aggression in the arena supplied instead by a small pocket of fans who sparked a brief brawl midway through the bout.
Seferi’s unsatisfactory withdrawal sent the boos – and the occasional drinks bottle – cascading down from the upper tiers, but for Fury at least, it is simply a case of reigniting a career that still promises much.
Meanwhile, Terry Flanagan failed in his attempt to emulate his hero Ricky Hatton and become a two-weight world champion on the undercard.
Flanagan suffered a split decision defeat to American Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO super-lightweight title, with two judges favouring Hooker 117-111 and 115-113, and the third going for Flanagan 117-111.