With all the excitement surrounding the heavyweight division at the moment, including Anthony Joshua’s September meeting with Alexander Povetkin and the proposed blockbuster involving Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, one man is in serious danger of being forgotten about.
23-year-old Englishman Hughie Fury suffered the agony of a majority decision loss to Joseph Parker when challenging for the WBO world title last summer and has featured only once since. Despite going painstaking close to winning a major belt in his early twenties, Fury finds himself nudged off the top table.
There’s a long road back for the Manchester puncher, now 21-1-0, but he can take a shortcut if doing a job on October 27th opponent Kubrat Pulev at the Arena Armeec, Sofia. Does Fury have what it takes to beat a respected rival in his own backyard? Bookmakers aren’t too sure and the latest boxing odds have him priced as a definite outsider; as much as 6/4 available.
That’ll attract the attention of value hunters and followers of the game who believe Hughie is destined for the top, having already gained world championship experience at such a young age.
There’s no doubt this will be the biggest test of Fury’s career so far, and he did lose when last stepping up in grade, but there are many positives working in the Brit’s favour, including age, height and power.
Here’s how the men measure up…
Kubrat Pulev will go into this one as a 37-year-old who has already endured a tough career. ‘The Cobra’ made his professional debut way back in 2009 and since then has lost only once, the spare on his CV coming in the form of a fifth-round knockout defeat suffered at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. He has boxed only five times since.
Fury concedes plenty in terms of experience but he’s fresher, more active, progressive and hasn’t been in the wars that scar the man in the opposite corner. Hughie is also a man on the rise and he’ll be hoping he’s catching Pulev as he starts his decline. It’s got to happen sometime and a name like this would add serious weight to his record.
Fury stands 6ft 6inches tall and, like his cousin Tyson, is a student of the noble art. He proved in that failed effort at dethroning Parker that he possesses a well-schooled jab and has the footwork to get himself out of trouble when needed. It’ll certainly be needed against an opponent who comes to fight.
Pulev concedes both height and reach to the younger man, dropping two inches at 6’4, and his legs aren’t as energetic as they once were. The Bulgarian carries plenty of power – claiming 13 of his 25 wins inside the distance – but he struggled against the height of Klitschko and was, arguably, a better boxer then. Key to success for Fury is keeping this fight long and calling on his 50% KO average when Kubrat closes the distance, as he’ll look to do from the first bell.