Hughie, cousin of Tyson, has been sidelined since May due to illness, but is now back firing on all cylinders and ready for the biggest test of his 14-bout professional career.
“I’m just delighted to be back training and to have a big fight on the horizon,” the 20-year-old said.
“The last eight months have absolutely killed me really. I’ve spent my days doing nothing and just getting really bored. I was basically watching films all the time. I was out of the gym completely. All I could do was swim. I had to stick to the medication and do exactly as I was told.
“It’s been very frustrating for me and for everybody around me. I’ve had to sit and watch everyone else crack on and have fights, including members of my own family, and I’ve been able to do nothing with my own career. It’s been very hard. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and make a statement.
“I feel good and healthy now, though. I am 100% healthy.”
The heavyweight’s exasperation was shared by his father and trainer, Peter, who had lined up a number of fights for Hughie only to see them fall through.
“It was very frustrating,” he said. “One of the main reasons for pulling Hughie out of those fights is that he has such great boxing skills and is a world-class performer and I didn’t want to see him perform below par. He could have carried on at the same level, having the same kind of fights and just labouring through them. But what’s the point?
“We’re aiming for world-class boxing. I didn’t want him to be someone who stepped up and failed because of his health. The decision was obvious to pull him out and just get to the root of the problem. We think we’re almost there now. He’s had extensive checks over the last eight months and it has cost upwards of fifteen thousand pounds in health bills. We’ve taken him everywhere.
“But he’s feeling good now, he’s back in training and it’s all systems go. He’s been in training for three weeks and he’s responding well to the training. Everything is going very well. His strength is increasing and I’ve seen the results I would expect to see.”
A healthy Hughie is a dangerous Hughie and he’ll need to be at his very best to overcome the considerable threat of Rudenko in Monte Carlo. The Dnipropetrovsk-native is renowned for his punch power and durability and has won 24 of his 25 professional fights, 16 via knockout. The only black mark on his record is a controversial 12-round decision loss to top contender Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne last August.
“This is an easy fight to get motivated for, but I’ve always been focused and motivated for my fights,” said Hughie, 14-0 (8 KOs). “I just want to show people what I can actually do. I know I can beat anyone in the heavyweight division and, now I’m 100% healthy, it’s up to me to prove myself. You’ll see on the night what I can do at this level.”
Peter Fury added: “Hughie’s now 20 years of age and he’s been in excellent camps and sparred with some elite-level heavyweights. He’s around Tyson Fury and Eddie Chambers all the time. He is used to mixing at that level now. So, although it’s a step up and sparring isn’t boxing, it’s not like he’s completely new to this level. Hughie is a skilled fighter. He’s on a different level.
“He’s also 14-0, let’s not forget. He’s done his schooling and he knows his way around the ring. He’s been eight rounds when he’s been under the weather. He’s managed to get his way through it.
“Hughie is now experienced enough for me to be confident in taking a risk like this. He’s also got the amateur credentials. In fact, when you really condense it down and look at it, this is no inexperienced and vulnerable kid. Hughie can handle himself and he’ll show that on February 21.”