By Paul Mason (@PaulMason1986)
This Saturday the Manchester Arena hosts a WBO Heavyweight World Title fight, as Hughie Fury, cousin of Tyson, challenges for his first major Title, when he takes on New Zealander, and current holder of the belt, Joseph Parker. The contest is live on the pay per view platform, but rather than this being on Sky, ITV or Boxnation, it has wound up on You Tube for £9.95. Here I preview the card.
Joseph Parker (23-0, KO18, Champion) v Hughie Fury (20-0, KO10) For The WBO Heavyweight Title
It’s a whole new ball game for Hughie Fury this Saturday, as he takes a leap into the unknown, and genuine World Class, to challenge South Auckland, New Zealand’s defending Heavyweight Champion, Joseph Parker. This is the second defence of the Title that Parker won by beating Andy Ruiz Jnr via majority decision in December last year.
The reason I suggest that this is the unknown for Fury, is because of the calibre of opponent that he has faced thus far in his 20 fight career. His talent is not under discussion. A youth World Amateur Champion in 2012, Britain’s first ever at Super Heavyweight, Fury turned professional just one year later at aged 18. Hughie made his debut at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and stopped David Whittom in the second round. An appearance on cousin Tyson’s card against Steve Cunningham at Madision Square Garden followed with Hughie stopping Alex Rozman inside a round. He racked up six more wins in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Romania and England, before stepping up to the eight round distance against former British Cruiserweight Champion, Shane McPhilbin in Rotherham in September 2013. McPhilbin retired at the end of the first citing a shoulder injury.
Five straight wins over relative journeymen followed, before Fury scored a career best win when outpointing Andrey Rudenko over ten rounds in Monaco. Rudenko had only lost to Lucas Browne before, and has only lost to Alexander Povetkin since. Both defeats were on the cards. He followed this up by beating George Arias on points and then knocked out Emilio Zarate in two, and blew away the badly faded Larry Olubamiwo inside one round.
Once touted prospect Dominick Guinn was then outscored over ten, and in his last contest, back in April 2016, he was well ahead on the cards in his contest with Cameroonian Fred Kassi, when the fight was stopped in the seventh with Fury badly cut. Hughie won via a technical decision. This earned him the only belt of his career so far, the ranking building WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight strap. After David Haye, the then WBO number one, signed to Fight Tony Bellew in March this year, Fury became the new mandatory challenger for Parker’s gold.
The fight was initially scheduled for May in New Zealand, but Fury had to pull out due to a back injury suffered in training for the fight. The location has now changed to Fury’s hometown of Manchester, and this is amid rumours that the fight was switched due to money issues with DUCO Events, Parker’s promoter.
In Joseph Parker, Fury takes on arguably the divisions weakest Champion, behind Anthony Joshua (WBA Super, IBF & IBO) and Deontay Wilder (WBC). Parker had a decent amateur career, and has been matched well thus far during his professional career. He turned over in July 2012, and, following five straight wins, he was cleverly matched with the ageing former four time World Title challenger in South African Frans Botha. Botha was overwhelmed and stopped in two rounds.
He then enjoyed wins over respected journeymen, Marcelo Luiz Nascimento (TKO7) Brian Minto (RTD7) and Sherman Williams (Unanimous). Seven straight stoppage wins followed, including wins over countrymen Bowie Tupou (KO1) and Kali Meehan (TKO3), before a career best win in a keenly contested unanimous points win over Frenchman Carlos Takam. This was also an eliminator for the IBF Title.
Instead of waiting for a shot at Anthony Joshua, the IBF Champion, Parker instead went down the WBO route, retaining his WBO Oriental belt by stopping Solomon Haumono in four, and Alexander Dimitrenko in three. With Tyson Fury vacating the WBO Title, Parker found himself in a vacant Title bout against Andy Ruiz Junior in December 2016. Parker became the first heavyweight boxer from New Zealand to win a world title as he won via majority decision. Two of the judges scored it 115–113 in favour of Parker as the third judge scored it a 114–114 draw. Ruiz started off the better boxer and was the main aggressor throughout the fight. Parker picked up the pace in the middle rounds winning most of them but Ruiz got back into the fight during the championship rounds, but ultimately Parker prevailed.
Since then, Parker has defended his Title once, against late notice substitute, and regular sparring partner Razvan Cojanu, following the withdrawal of Hughie Fury. In a scrappy and hold filled affair, Parker won a wide points decision. He now had a target on his back following the fight, as multiple Heavyweights goaded him into a match with them. But it is the mandatory Fury that will meet Parker in the ring this Saturday night.
Fury’s lack of World level experience concerns me, and I feel this opportunity may have come a little bit early for the Manchester man. Parker himself is not overly tested at World level, but has faced much better opposition than Hughie. Add to this Hughie’s 17 month layoff, notwithstanding the farcical “exhibition” bout he had in July to shake off rust. The WBO would not let Hughie fight a professional bout as their rules permit a boxer challenging for their belt taking a contest in between. I predict that Parker will have certain tricky patches early on, but should be able to outwork and outpoint Fury over the Championship distance handily enough.
The Undercard features a British Title fight as chief support. Birmingham’s Don Broadhurst (19-3-1), the former 2004 Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, and Commonwealth Super Flyweight Champion, challenges the current British Bantamweight Champion, in Barnsley’s tough Josh Wale (24-9-2).
Joe Muray (21-2) meets Matty Fagan (11-2)at Lightweight, while experienced campaignerPeter McDonagh (27-28-1) who brilliantly says that “records are for DJ’s” will faceShayne Singleton (23-2-1), who is coming off an unsuccessful challenge for the British and Commonwealth Titles at Welterweight.
Former WBO Super Welterweight Title challenger, Jimmy “Kilrain” Kelly also features.