Three defeats in three years might have reduced a lesser man to licking his wounds but is testament to Tyson Fury’s cousin that he keeps rebounding into major fights, opportunities he is earning not because of his surname, but because he accepts them without hesitation.
Tonight Hughie Fury faces Pavel Sour in Monaco, live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm, and believes a win would propel him into world title fights in 2020 in the dramatic heavyweight division.
He is still only 25 years old, which hardly seems possible – that’s five years younger than his bigger cousin or Anthony Joshua. It has been an arduous 26-fight career for Fury that includes three defeats (to Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin) but the difficulty of this CV is why, he believes, he is battle-hardened to challenge the elite.
“We have fixed a lot of problems,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back in the mix.
“I’m not afraid to get in with anyone. It’s about learning, taking the positives from those fights, building and getting better. They were all good learning experiences.”
Fury’s three defeats all came via decision and has scarcely been seriously hurt inside the ring.
“We’re not looking at somebody who has got wobbled or badly beaten,” his father and trainer Peter Fury said.
“He ticks all the boxes, he can box, he can hold a shot, he can do the 12 rounds. They are only tweaks that’s needed, so he will get there.
“I think Hughie will get his world title shot next year.”
Tonight’s opponent, Pavel Sour, is a 37-year-old from the Czech Republic with an 11-2 record. Fury will expect an impressive performance, and the win, and to again be matched against the top dogs next year.
The prospect of a world heavyweight champion from China would “change the sport forever”, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Zhilei Zhang in the nation’s most serious contender and, tonight against Andriy Rudenko, faces his most difficult challenge on his biggest platform to date.
“Great amateur record, great pro record, a real threat to the heavyweight championship,” Hearn said about ‘Big Bang’ Zhang.
A 6’6″ southpaw whose career has been based in Las Vegas, he has a 20-0 record but, aged 36, is still awaiting a standout result. Getting rid of tonight’s foe Rudenko (who has faced Hughie Fury, Povetkin and Lucas Browne) would be a major step in the right direction.
Cecilia Braekhus is, like Katie Taylor, an undisputed world champion and, like her rival, wants to be acknowledged as the world’s best female fighter. A fight between them next year would be a blockbuster but, tonight, Braekhus must remain undefeated against her mandatory challenger Victoria Bustos.
Norway’s Braekhus, the ‘First Lady’ of boxing, has won all 35 of her fights and owns every major belt in the welterweight division. She has linked up with promoter Hearn with one eye on a mega-fight with Taylor, which would have to be contested at a catchweight.
Two undefeated Russians, Alexander Besputin and Radzhab Butaev, collide in the main event for the vacant WBA welterweight title.
British and Commonwealth champion Joe Cordina can stay unbeaten in an 11th fight and add the WBA continental super-featherweight belt by beating Mario Tinoco, who has faced Devin Haney and defeated Jordan Gill.