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Hughie Fury: ‘Alexander Povetkin is very crafty, and you can’t take him for granted’

(From left to right) Hughie Fury, Eddie Hearn and Alexander Povetkin. Photo by Mark Robinson
Fighters Network

LONDON – Many people are surprised that heavyweight Hughie Fury is facing Alexander Povetkin on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, including his own promoter, Eddie Hearn.

The 24-year-old Fury signed with Matchroom Boxing last month and almost immediately agreed to face the hard-hitting Russian on the undercard of the lightweight championship bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell. That was good news for fight fans, many of whom would have expected Fury to have a stay-busy bout, but the reason behind the opponent selection was actually quite simple.

In September 2017, Fury lost his unbeaten record to then-WBO titleholder Joseph Parker on a majority decision. There are those who believe that Fury deserved to have his hand raised that night, but it was not to be and he had no choice but to move on. Just over a year later, the colossal Englishman ventured to Bulgaria to take on Kubrat Pulev, a hard-enough task without an eye cut – sustained in sparring – opening up early and hampering his performance. In summary, his first defeat was a close decision loss and his second was largely influenced by injury. Fury simply doesn’t feel the need to move back down in levels.

“Not at all, and this is all about timing,” Fury told The Ring. “All of these experiences have got me to where I am today, and I’m thankful in a way because it’s helped my frame of mind. Right now, I have to focus on this fight against Alexander Povetkin. I still believe that no one has beat me, and I’m looking forward to this fight and showing people what I can do.”

“He belongs at this level and people forget, Hughie is improving,” said father-trainer Peter Fury. “He’s getting better and people will see that on Saturday night. You’re gonna see things you’ve not seen before. He’s had a couple of raw deals, but he’s got nothing to lose. He’s 24 years of age, and he’s learning his trade. These fights are fantastic for him.”

Photo by Mark Robinson

Povetkin will be 40 years old next week. The former Olympic champion has been a professional since 2005 and is unquestionably in the twilight of his career. However, he still carries dynamite in both fists, as evidenced by a stunning fifth-round knockout of David Price in March of last year, and his skills are formidable.

“Alexander Povetkin is very crafty,” Fury acknowledged. “He’s got nice shots; nice variation and he turns his punches over well. You’ve got to be very aware of what he can do in that ring because this fella can fight and you can’t take him for granted.

“I’m just looking to get back in the world title mix. This was the fight I wanted and this is the way forward.”

In the aftermath of his loss to Parker, Fury was accused of being too defensive. Being 6-foot-6 and incredibly athletic, he is almost the perfect prototype for boxing behind his jab and creating distance. The knock on that strategy is that judges may penalize Fury for being too negative and opponents will bank rounds simply for walking forward.

“That’s true, he has to be able to mix up,” said Peter Fury. “He has to be able to box and get the opponent’s respect. The thing is, Hughie can punch. He’s got a thunderous right hand on him, but he’s got to let it go. He’ll be letting it go this time… and he’ll have to.

“Povetkin is a serious operator. He’s not just a big puncher, he’s a good boxer. He cuts the range well and he’ll creep up on you when you don’t expect it. His style is very deceiving, and he’s a very good fighter.”

If Fury prevails on Saturday, it will unquestionably be the biggest win of his career to date. Povetkin is ranked No. 7 by The Ring and is well-positioned with more than one of the governing bodies. Despite youth being on his side, Fury does not want to waste any time and will be targeting the division elite should he come through.

“I’ll fight anyone,” said Fury. “There is a lot of politics in boxing, but I believe in fighting the best. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m not looking for it to be easy. When it comes to fighting for a world title, I’ll take on anyone with a belt, whoever comes first.”


Tom Gray is Associate Editor for The Ring. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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