Hughie Fury headlines at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday
If the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, doesn’t do it for you, then this just isn’t your day. Why? Because Hughie Fury, the champ’s younger cousin, is unbeaten, talented and on the serious ascent within the sport’s glamour division.
This Saturday, the 21-year-old prospect headlines at the Copper Box Arena in London, England, and will be looking to make it victory No. 20 against Cameroon’s Fred Kassi (18-4-1, 10 knockouts).
“Fred Kassi is a very awkward fighter who makes people look bad,” said Fury, who turned professional three years ago. “He has a loss to Dominic Breazeale and a draw with Chris Arreola but I thought he won both of those fights, if I’m being honest with you.
“There aren’t many fighters who would go out of their way to take him on but you need matches like this in order to progress with your career. I’m looking forward to it and it’s my first time headlining a big show.”
Last time out, the younger Fury took on American Dominick Guinn, unarguably his most distinguished opponent to date. Things went smoothly when the bell rang, but Fury’s appearance followed the ill-fated middleweight bout between Nick Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jr., after which Blackwell was placed in a medically-induced coma. He has since recovered.
“It was a relaxed performance where I used my boxing skills,” said Fury who won all 10 contested rounds. “But it didn’t really feel like a fight because of what happened (to Blackwell). It was on and off several times and we didn’t get into the ring until one o’clock in the morning. Everyone had left the arena, by then, so it was just us, the referee and the round card girl – it was all really strange.
“Overall, it was a good learning experience because you can’t switch off against Dominick Guinn or he’ll catch you.”
Fury’s cerebral outlook on boxing belies his years and the reason for that is simple: He has been brought up around the sport since infancy and had his first fight as an 11-year-old. A few years later, he would represent England at the Youth World Amateur Championships and become the first British super heavyweight to win gold.
Trained by his father, Peter Fury, acclaimed coach of Tyson, Hughie’s potential really holds no bounds but his main goal for 2016 is just to remain active.
“I want to have as many fights as possible,” he said. “I want to be fighting regularly against tough opponents, so that, when it is time for me to step up, I’ll know that I’ve fought every style. Early on, in my professional career, I fought once every few weeks and I want to get back to that.
“If the titles come then great, but I won’t underestimate Fred Kassi and I need to get through him before I do anything else. I’m not really bothered who I fight because it’s just two men in a boxing ring.”
Soft-spoken. Easy-going. Laid back. Hughie Fury refuses to be a bombastic replica of the heavyweight champion of the world but don’t let that fool you. Genetically, this 6-foot-6, 240-pound specimen is Tyson Fury’s mirror image in terms of physical attributes. Hughie is deceptively quick for a big man, light on his feet, athletic and, as his amateur background suggests, fundamentally sound.
And it would appear that a lot of active heavyweights have noticed.
Fury explains, “I rarely get too excited when I get a date to fight because I’ve had so many opponents pull out. I’ve had fighters pull out on two days’ notice, so now I’m not convinced until I get in the ring. It’s frustrating but you just have to train hard and hope the opponent shows up.
“I didn’t have any luck getting a spot on Tyson’s first fight with (Wladimir) Klitschko because seven opponents pulled out. I’m telling you it was a nightmare.”
Coincidentally, the highly anticipated rematch, set for July 9, was officially announced on Wednesday and, all going well against Kassi, Fury will blend immediately into sparring partner mode for his older cousin.
“I’m always in camp, so I’ll be giving Tyson plenty of sparring,” said Hughie. “He’s started training; he’s looking well and this will be a tough camp for him ahead of the Klitschko rematch.
“Hopefully I can get a spot on that show but I would like to be out at least once before then. We need to get Kassi out of the way first but that would be the ideal scenario for me.”
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing