For some reason, I just think there would be something delightful about Hughie Fury appearing from nowhere and poaching the Joshua fight in April. British professional boxer Fury is slowly rising from the shadows of cousin Tyson Fury and could be close to making his mark in the heavyweight ranks.
Let’s face it we all want that April bout to be against Wilder or Tyson. But for how long now could we have seen Joshua vs. Tyson Fury. For his cousin Hughie to come out from nowhere and get that fight would be a somewhat sublime move. However, first, Fury has the task of going to Pulev’s backyard and winning – an easy victory is not enough; it needs to be undeniable. Undoubtedly, he needs one hell of an impressive performance for Joshua to take him seriously.
You tend to forget, as with many boxers, that Hughie is still young at the age of 24. After losing to Joseph Parker for the WBO heavyweight title, and despite many thinking he won, it was a good learning fight for him. The defining question is: how does he beat Pulev?
Pulev is obviously a handful, but we haven’t really seen him in a really big fight since his loss to Klitschko in 2014. He narrowly came through on a split decision against Dereck Chisora in 2016, but has been inactive for over a year after comfortably beating Kevin Johnson on points. Fury impressed in his comeback against Sam Sexton early this year with a crisp knockout to claim the British Title. He has stated that stylistically he is Joshua’s “worst nightmare” and can put forward his case for that on Saturday.
Pulev, however, is a tricky, defensive, fighter that will be tough to break down and who is now a veteran of the game. Fury has undergone a much more orthodox training camp since the Parker camp before which he employed far more military-style methods. His dad and trainer, Peter Fury, is known for his clever game plans and is probably one of the most underrated trainers in boxing.
I don’t believe Hughie has got the credit he deserves in his career thus far. Rightly or wrongly, it is probably down to being in the shadow of Tyson. Now being on his own with Peter, and Tyson training with Ben Davidson, it gives him that edge to make the best of his career. What is so likeable about Hughie is his grounded personality. He constantly says how he just wants to let his fists do the talking and it must frustrate him being compared to Tyson all the time. No doubt Fury will face a hostile crowd in Sofia. Pulev is a big celebrity in Bulgaria, along with his wife Andrea, a singer; they're like the Posh and Becks of South-Eastern Europe.
Pulev unquestionably has the experience to beat Fury, but for me Hughie just has too much speed for Pulev who will slow down more and more as the fight progresses. Being realistic, it has to be a Fury stoppage to comfortably set up the Joshua fight. However, in terms of what will actually happen, you have to favour a decision win for Fury. The contrasting styles will be interesting. Fury has the skillset to do it, but that skillset will have to be out in an emphatic fashion to win this fight well.