Friday 23 February 2018

Fury fired up to emulate cousin Tyson

Tyson relinquished the WBO belt in December due to medical reasons. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Tyson relinquished the WBO belt in December due to medical reasons. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Mark Staniforth

Hughie Fury is determined to emulate his cousin Tyson and claim a version of the world heavyweight title by dethroning Joseph Parker in Manchester tonight.

Despite his relative inexperience, the 23-year-old is in predictably bullish mood ahead of his clash with the New Zealander, who claimed the vacant WBO belt in December two months after Tyson relinquished it due to medical reasons. The fight represents by far the biggest test of Fury's career having reeled off 20 straight wins over relatively modest opposition, but it is a chance he believes he will seize in some style.

Fury said: "It is going to be a pleasure to perform for the first time in my home city of Manchester and I'm going to bring on the greatest performance of my life and bring home the title. You can look at my previous fights but you don't see what is going to hit him. This is a different Hughie Fury - I'm so hungry and ready to put on a performance and when I say I'll knock him out, I'll knock him out."

The 25-year-old Parker has mixed in marginally better company but hardly enthralled in either of his previous two title bouts against Andy Ruiz Jr, from whom he won the title, and Romanian Razvan Cojanu in May.

A modest crowd expectation of around 8,000 is testament to the low-key nature of this particular heavyweight title bout, especially when compared with Anthony Joshua's upcoming stadium-filling defence against Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff.

But both men see tonight's bout as an opportunity to muscle in on the heavyweight division's newly-lucrative opportunities, with Parker insisting his willingness to fight Fury on his home turf is meant to make a major international statement.

Parker said: "I feel like the UK is where the heavyweight scene is at the moment and I want to be a part of it.

"I feel it is important to come here and make a statement, and there is no better way to do it than by fighting a young, hungry fighter who wants to be a champion.

"In the future, I think I am going to be here a lot more."

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