For the first time in his 4 year career Hughie Fury will fight in his home city of Manchester when he takes on New Zealand world champion Joseph Parker. Not only will that be new to the family member of former heavyweight king Tyson Fury but he will also be fighting to emulate his older cousin. It is Hughie’s first attempt fighting for a world title and perhaps Parker is the best opponent for him. The other champions at heavyweight are Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder and while Parker does represent a step up in class for the young contender, Joshua or Wilder would be a step too far at this point. When the fighters get in the ring how will it play out?
The fight itself has not caught fire. The build up has been slow and the fact the fight was scheduled to take place in New Zealand back in May this year has taken the momentum out of the occasion.
However, the weigh in sparked interest as it broke out in a brawl between the two camps. Has the time passed for hype? It is too little too late to unfortunately to sell the fight on a feud basis. It may be by design as Hughie distances himself from his cousins antics. Tyson Fury is well known for his outspoken nature and the mind games he plays. Hughie by contrast is quieter and more reserved. It is good to see him stick to his guns and not try and be something he is not. But as the weigh in shows he does have a something about him. Maybe it was the Fury camp egging him on. Tyson Fury was present encouraging Hughie to ‘nut him’ – basically calling for a head-butt.
Both fighters come into the fight unbeaten – so somebodies 0 has to go! Parker has held the WBO World Heavyweight title since December 2016 when he defeated Andy Ruiz Jr on a majority decision. He has defended it once against Razvan Cojanu who was a replacement for the fight Hughie pulled out of. Before the majority decision and the unimpressive unanimous decision win over Cojanu Parker was known for his power. At the time he had 18 knock-outs in 21 fights. His last two performances have not been as impressive. It lead to Dillian Whyte calling him out after his first defence. Is this him adjusting to the step up in class? Yes it is. The worrying sign for Fury is that he is winning even when he is not at his best.
Fury has had a battle of his own in recent times. A rare condition called acne conglobata which severely hindered not only his training process but his performance on fight night too. He recalled in a recent interview the times in training when the marks on his back would crack in sparring and he would have a bloodstained training top by the end. The condition affected his stamina also as it would sap his energy in fights. After taking powerful medication for 8 months Fury is now free of the condition and looking to kick start his career.
Hughie seems to be relishing being the main man in the Fury family. Maintaining that Tyson and himself were born to fight he is taking up the mantle of his cousin. Meeting Manchester United players, headlining a bill in Manchester and fighting for a world title show you that they are building him up. At the end of the day he needs to do it in the ring. Parker is a step up for the challenger. He has not fought anybody at the standard of the Kiwi and will have to rise to the challenge. As Parker himself has shown it takes time to adjust at a higher level.
Fury can win. He is slightly taller and rangier so if he can use his jab and neutralise Parker coming forward it will give him a great opportunity at taking the belt. He will have to work around the ring, moving and not letting Parker in close. Inside fighting is not Fury’s biggest talent so he will want to avoid those encounters. The footwork of the challenger is key to the fight, if he can make Parker chase him and look flat footed the judges will notice. Parker has to get inside were Fury’s length and reach will not be effective.
The fight may not have caught the imagination of the boxing world, but be sure to tune in when the bell rings. Both men are looking to make a statement in the division and Parker as champion at 25 and Fury challenging at 23 shows just how good the future of the heavyweight division is. Both young men. Both at an incredible level of boxing. Both unbeaten. But both relatively unproven at the highest level. This is the chance for both fighters to make some major noise. Can Parker make it in Britain and raise his profile and standing in the sport? Can Hughie step out of Tyson’s shadow and become a world champion in his own right? There is only one way to find out. Enjoy the fight!
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