Fury vs Pulev Preview
By Matthew Dean
Let it never be said that in the year 2018 the British Heavyweight scene was bereft of talent. In a division overseen by the undefeated Anthony Joshua, holding 3 of the 4 major titles, the WBC strap, the final major alphabet title held by American Deontay Wilder and soon to be contested by our own Tyson Fury, it could be all 4 major boxing division championships reside on our little island come year’s end.
Notwithstanding that Tyson Fury might not wrest the WBC title away, we are still blessed with a crop of talent in boxings flagship division. A troop of heavyweight warriors, some of whom may have already come of age, some of which are still finding their feet in the big men’s division. Names such as Hughie Fury (21-1-0. 11KOS ), Dillian Whyte (24-1-0. 17KOs), Daniel Dubois (9-0-0, 8KOs) , Martin Bakole (11-1-0. 8KOs) all eager to etch their own indelible stamp into sporting immortality.
Saturday October 27th at the Arena Armeec in Sofia Bulgaria, we will witness ‘Fire & Fury’, the next stage in the development of Hughie Fury (21-1-0. 11KOS ) as he progresses towards that ultimate goal of winning a world title. Fury, the current British Heavyweight champ faces off against former European champ Kubrat Pulev (25-1-0. 13KOs) in the final IBF eliminator which would make the winner the mandatory challenger for Joshua.
Both men have previously challenged for world honours. Both have come up short.
Both men are still eager to achieve this goal.
Fury had his initial shot shot against former WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-2-0. 18KOs) which was cruelly denied. Over 12 rounds in which many thought he had done enough to snatch the belt away, the judges saw the outcome differently and in a surprise result to many, a Majority Decision went the other way to see Parker keep the title.
Fury however though has since come back and stopped Sam Sexton (24-4-0. 9KOs) in 5 rounds in his last outing to win the British title. In addition Hughie’s cousin is former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Although both men have expressed that they wish to emulate the Klitschko’s in holding all of the major titles between them, they would never face one another in the ring.
Pulev also previously challenged for the IBF title in 2014. A certain Wladimir Klitschko (64-5-0. 53KOs) put paid to his ambitions knocking him out in the 5th round. He has twice held the European Heavyweight title and was scheduled to fight Anthony Joshua in October 2017 but pulled out due to injury. Boxing in front of a home crowd will naturally motivate him to put in a better effort and he hasn’t lost since 2014
In effect this is a natural progression fight moving Fury from British championship via (albeit former ) European championship to elite level once more. Fury said that he has he hadn’t seen anything to be worried about. He was going to Bulgaria to win and was prepared for whatever Pulev could throw at him. If he needed to go the distance he was prepared to do just that and it was going to be one hell of a fight.
Pulev also believes his greater experience will give him the edge, having battled Wladimir Klitschko, and Dereck Chisora
“This is the first time such a high profile fight has been held in Bulgaria,” he said. “It’s never happened before. My opponent is very strong and It’s a very serious fight at world level. The arena will be full on Saturday night. I have to win to make the home ground proud. They are incredibly supportive of me.”
Of the two fighters, this is genuine 50/50 and could well go the distance. Factors at the moment swing back and forth between the two boxers. Pulev is ranked no 2 in the IBF and Fury is no 3. He is also ranked at no 10 in the WBC. Pulev has the greater experience of the two yet at 37 and not having fought in 18 months he will naturally have some ring rust.
Fury has only fought 4 times in two and a half years but he is only 24 years so has youth in his corner yet there will be a room full of partisan supporters backing his opponent waiting for him which could upset his plans too. Fury does have a slight height advantage but will he be prepared to go toe to toe with Pulev on the night?
Another Brit will be in action on the undercard as Super-middleweight Savannah Marshall (3-0-0. 2KOs) takes on the determined, unbeaten Yanina Orozco (4-0-0. 1KO) in a 10 round intercontinental championship bout.