Hughie Fury—Force of Nature

By Ben Thomsett on January 9, 2014
Hughie Fury—Force of Nature
He has achieved much in a short space of time but there is more, much more, to come.

I once held a focus pad for Hughie as a joke. “You really want me to hit it?” he laughed. “Go on” I replied…

“Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear.”—Marcus Aurelius 121 AD – 180 AD

Much is made of the tough upbringing of fighters; a process which has attained almost mythical properties on the keyboards of journalists up and down the land. Mike Tyson came from a rough New York ghetto gang, Maidana was born into poverty in the Argentine region of Santa Fe, and Jack Dempsey famously slept under bridges. They all went on to achieve good things in the ring. It was more than fate, right? For Hughie Fury, the hand of fate runs fast, but not quite as deep as the reality of his 19 years of life. He has achieved much in a short space of time but there is more, much more, to come…

Since turning pro in March of 2013 Hughie has had 12 fights and won them all (7 by KO). Considering this record was compiled in just six months, and with a string of minor injuries (including going into a fight with a broken hand), it’s something to take note of in a division which shows signs of life for the first time in a long while. People have been talking in hushed voices of Hughie breaking Mike Tyson’s “youngest ever heavyweight” record. Hyperbole, maybe, and it’s something that Hughie himself wouldn’t have the arrogance to suggest, but people are starting to sit up and inspect this quietly spoken young fighter under an increasing glare of the boxing media.

If you haven’t seen Hughie fight, don’t think of his cousin Tyson, they are different boxers. True, both are big human beings (Hughie is all of 6’6”, and Tyson is 6’9”), but where one Fury is an unpredictable rough-houser, the other is a feinting, body-punching, cobra of a fighter. I would fight neither of them for any money, even if the alternative was living in a pool of starving sharks for a month. A fellow boxing writer once proclaimed that Hughie has “Arms like noodles.” All I can say to that is he can’t have ever met Hughie. I once held a focus pad for Hughie as a joke. “You really want me to hit it?” he laughed.

“Go on” I replied, confident that my 200 lbs. would easily take it.

“Well if you’re sure” he shrugged. Without even facing me he half threw out a lazy left jab. My arm rocked back and felt as if it would windmill around on the axis of my right shoulder. Once was enough.

Ask Janos Finfera how those noodles work. Mr Finfera was whisked from his Romanian bout with Hughie at the end of two rounds after a series of sickening body punches. Later that night I asked Peter Fury (Hughie’s father and trainer) if Finfera was okay. “They’re saying he’s broken a couple of ribs” came the reply. Now, I don’t think for a second that Janos was ever going to trouble the boxing world, but we’re talking about a respected MMA fighter with an enormous and tough physique reduced to nothing more than a bag of putty. Former British cruiserweight champion, Shane McPhilbin, was set up to be a tough test for Hughie, but when a thunderous right hand connected with his shoulder, McPhilbin’s arm ceased to work and he had to retire. In short, Hughie can punch.

Hughie is one part of a fighting dynasty which stretches back into the 1800s. You won’t have heard of any of the names—apart from Tyson Fury, and Peter Fury—but within the world of Bare Knuckle fighting, the Fury’s are part of a breed who have reigned at the top for the large part of the last 100 years or so in the UK. Hughie took an interest in boxing training at an early age and, a short, unproductive spell at Amir Khan’s gym apart, he has been trained by his father his whole fighting life. It’s no secret that the Furys train hard: so hard that Hughie has been known to vomit after training. There is no glitz, no ego. They don’t play by other people’s rules, including the media; it’s why Tyson and Peter aren’t on TV all the time, or being followed around by Kugan Cassius like one of Eric Cantona’s “Seagulls” after the scraps from the trawler. And there are more compliant heavyweights out there…

The rise of Anthony Joshua has seen the British press salivate at the prospect of another Frank Bruno clone. The friendly, safe, clean-cut, perfume selling, good egg; a guy who’ll play the game. They’ve waited long enough for the cliché to return. At last, old type settings can be taken from dusty cabinets in the offices of the tabloids and headlines re-hashed. Joshua is a polished, media savvy, gravy train—with Eddie Hearn stoking the fires—and a bout with Hughie is inevitable at some point. Both are young, both have achieved much (Joshua is the reigning Olympic Super Heavyweight Champion, and Hughie won the World Junior Super Heavyweight Championships—the first British fighter to ever do so), and both are heading into stellar orbit. But up there it’s a lonely place if you fill your spaceship with hungry wolverines and many promises.

There is much in both young men’s past’s to propel the desire to win. Anthony is now a “Star” and that’s a hard habit to break (ask Audley Harrison), it’s a heady, cruel, gig. Hughie runs another mile, goes another round, and lifts an extra 10kg; fighting is the dominant Fury gene. It’s hard to go against your instincts. There is a difference.

I guess now isn’t the time to predict either man’s future with any more certainty than I have of not falling down my stairs tonight. But if I took a chance maybe that would be appropriate? After all, nature will prevail.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:35am, 01/11/2014

    He’s got the physical make up of a young Gerry Cooney…...the difference here is that Cooney could take your head off with his left hook… we’ll see how this goes.

  2. nicolas 12:13pm, 01/10/2014

    Future will tell what will happen. Comparing him to his brother. Tyson Fury started boxing as a pro at 20, Hughie at 18. Yes I think Hughie’s twelve fights have come at a shorter time than his brother’s, but here is the big difference. Hughie Fury’s opponents have had 80 more losses than wins, Tyson Fury’s first twelve opponents have had 60 more wins than losses. Perhpas his World Junior Super heavyweight title will help.

  3. David Payne 07:00am, 01/10/2014

    Hello Ben, well written, don’t quite buy the Joshua Bruno comparison but enjoyable read.

  4. Pete The Sneak 05:55am, 01/10/2014

    Nice write up there, Mr. Thomsett on Tyson’s cousin, never seen Hughie fight, aside from these videos here. I hope he’s as promising as you believe he will be, for a division that despite some signs of life, still needs a big jolt to wake it up… Would certainly like to hear some of the other posters here who have seen Hughie fight, chime in, particularly any of the other writers from across the pond (where are you, Mr. Mohummad Humza Elahi)...LOL…Really enjoyed this story on Hughie…Peace.

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