LONDON (3 FEB) Eager to make up for lost time, Hughie Fury returns to the ring on February 21 in Monte Carlo knowing a win over Ukrainian dangerman Andriy Rudenko will make the rest of the heavyweight division sit up and take notice.
The 20-year-old Fury, inactive since May due to illness, is back firing on all cylinders and keen to emerge as the UK’s leading heavyweight prospect in 2015. To do so, he’ll have to beat Rudenko and stay one step ahead of unbeaten Olympic champion Anthony Joshua.
“Rudenko has had 25 fights, 24 wins and 16 knockouts, and I don’t think Joshua has fought anybody with that sort of record yet,” said Fury, 14-0 (8 KOs). “It might be a while before he does.
“Unlike some of Joshua’s opponents, Rudenko is still ambitious and has plans of his own. He will try to win. He won’t just be expected to lose.
“His fight with Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne (August 2014) was a very, very close one. If you ask Rudenko, he’ll probably say he’s still unbeaten. He still wants it and he wants to make a statement against me, I’m sure. He’ll be going full force on February 21 and I know this isn’t some knockover job.”
Should Fury defeat Rudenko and continue his climb up the heavyweight ladder, an all-British showdown with Joshua could become a real possibility in time.
“Joshua’s done well so far and he’s a good fighter,” said Fury. “But he’s been very comfortable at a certain level and we still have yet to see him tested. He’s in the same situation I’m in. We’re winning comfortably at a certain level, but we need to be tested in order to prove just how good we are. I’m going to be getting that sort of test on February 21. Joshua needs to do the same this year. For now, it’s just a waiting game.
“Saying that, I think our paths will definitely one day meet, and I’m happy to take that fight whenever it comes about. As soon as my dad says I’m ready for it, that’s when it happens. If we both keeping winning, we could have some big fights in the future.”
Fury’s father and trainer, Peter, added: “I remember a time when they were comparing Joshua to Hughie, but now they’re comparing him to Tyson (Fury). Let’s not forget, Hughie is fighting an opponent in Rudenko who is better than anybody Joshua has faced. Rudenko has had more knockouts than Hughie’s had fights. This is a guy who is coming to win. He’s not just going to fiddle his way around, hope to stay upright and then collect his money.”
For now, Peter Fury likes what he sees in Joshua. And he fully expects to one day be in the opposing corner to him, stood alongside either Hughie or Tyson.
“I think Joshua’s moved quite well,” said Peter. “He’s a good fighter, I like everything about him. He’s athletic and he’s dedicated.
“But you can only train so much. Boxing and real fighting are either in your DNA or they’re not. Let’s see what he’s like when he can’t hit the target and he’s getting hit back and going rounds. If he has to go five or six rounds and is getting hit repeatedly, how will he react? We don’t know yet.
“One thing’s for sure, if he got in there with Tyson or Hughie, he’d get hit a lot. He also won’t be landing the bombs he’s been using to take people out with one shot. You can’t get away with that at any kind of serious level.
“I just hope everybody keeps winning because then we’ll have some massive fights this year and next. When the time comes and the money’s right, we can make all of these heavyweight fights people keep talking about. And I’d be over the moon if those fights happen because it’s good for British boxing. We need fights like that to keep people talking about this sport.”