By Johnny Walker
Is the boxing world ready for another member of the Fury clan holding a world championship belt around his waist?
The last time such an event occured was in 2015 when Tyson Fury–cousin of Hughie, who fights WBO heavyweight champion at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK, on Saturday–ended the long reign of Wladimir Klitschko over the division in a dreadful fight, one in which Wlad, distracted by domestic issues, appeared not to notice he was in until it was too late.
Tyson Fury simply used his length and awkwardness, plus the mental absence of Klitschko, to take the titles and–joyfully for some long-time haters of the brothers Klitschko in the boxing world–to become a most unlikely champion.
Clearly, Tyson Fury must have felt he got lucky that night, and bailed on a rematch with the former champ, instead boozing and snorting his way into oblivion. Excuses were made, promises broken, and Fury ended up retiring and unretiring from boxing depending what side of the bed he got up on.
The British Boxing Board of Control still has some questions regarding drug use (including PED usage), they intend to ask the fighter, but one assumes they won’t bother unless he actually tries to come back to the ring. Currently, Tyson Fury appears to be aging in dog years, and with his hair long gone and his gut ever-expanding, looks old enough to be Hughie Fury’s uncle instead of his cousin.
Personality-wise, Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs) is the polar opposite of Tyson, a quiet sort who goes about his business with a minimum of fuss. At 6′ 6″ tall, he is like Tyson Fury long and rangy, but probably a better techinical boxer than his more famous cousin ever was. Fury goes to the body with authority, uses his jab well, exhibits good footwork and generally appears calm and composed in the ring.
Then again, the mastermind behind Hughie Fury is the same man who steered Tyson Fury to his -famous upset of Klitschko, Peter Fury–who also happens to be his father.
So the question is, can the Fury clan pull off another upset and take the belt away from New Zealander Joseph Parker tomorrow night?
Parker, also undefeated (23-0, 18 KOs) started off with a ton of hype, but in recent fights has begun to look a bit shopworn. A majority decison over Andy Ruiz Jr. and a unanimous decision over Razvan Cojanu have left some questioning whether Parker has been overestimated, or if he is becoming jaded fighting people who a true champion should be leaving on the canvas.
The truth is, the heavyweight division has been a bit of a mess since majestic reign of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko ended, and it’s time for someone to step up and show that he wants to be the man to replace the men from Ukraine.
Anthony Joshua has done that, but questions remain about his chin after he was rocked by Dillian Whyte and nearly knocked out by a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in his final fight.
Deontay Wilder’s win over a dehydrated Bermane Stiverne remains his best victory, and many still believe Wilder won’t last when he gets in the ring with someone in the upper echelons of the division, an issue that should be settled when he fights Cuban power puncher Luis Ortiz next.
Neither Parker, who while listed at 6′ 4″ tall looks smaller, or Hughie Fury–who at 6’6″ is more within the size range of other belt holders like Joshua and Deontay Wilder, not to mention the Klitschkos–have beaten a murderer’s row to get to this title fight, and one can truthfully state that the bout is a step up for both men.
Parker really needs to look good here, or he will be written off as a legitimate contender to unify the belts. A controversial points win simply will not do. Parker needs to stop Hughie Fury and he knows it.
As for Hughie Fury, he has the advantage of being prepared by a man who already helped to stun the boxing world once when he helped end Wladimir Klitchko’s reign, a result no one saw coming. A victory over Parker would not be near the shocker that Tyson Fury’s win over Wladimir was, but it would be an impressive upset nevertheless. No doubt he will use his length to try to give Parker fits when he tries to get inside.
If Peter Fury can do it again this Saturday with son Hughie, he truly may be a pugilistic wizard. And we’ll have a Fury as heavyweight champion without all the Twitter drama that Tyson Fury loves so much, and that cousin Hughie for the most part avoids like the plague.