Tonight in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kubrat Pulev won a wide 12-round unanimous decision over the much younger Hughie Fury. In a rough, tough and at times messy affair, the 37 year old local hero proved too strong, too sturdy and too effective for the 24 year old Brit. Winning by scores of 118-110, 117-111 and a too close 115-113, Pulev improved to 26-1(13) and the Bulgarian is now in line for a shot at the IBF heavyweight title. Fury falls to 21-2(11).
Fury, talking such a great game coming in, had a decent start. With his low-held hands, Fury used his long jab and also looked to unload with his looping right hand. Pulev, having a slow start, stalked but scarcely threw any shots of his own. In the second, a stiff left hand from Pulev opened a nasty cut above Fury’s left eye. For a round or two it seemed as though the injury would force the fight to be stopped yet the Fury corner did a great job on the cut.
The action was messy at times, with plenty of holding and wrestling going in from both sides. Fury looked to land counters but he was largely unable to do so. Pulev paced himself expertly and he landed with the far more eye-catching shots. Fury’s best moment came in round-eight, as he landed a flush right hand to the head the troubled Pulev. But by the ninth it seemed Pulev was in total command. Fury was looking tired and his performance was becoming ragged. Pulev, who stood up between rounds, looked as though he just might be able to get his man out of there in the last couple of rounds by Fury, to his credit, held on.
There could be no complaints at all about the decision – for what it’s worth this writer had it 9-2-1 for Pulev – and Fury now faces yet another re-build. Pulev is now looking to get a shot at Anthony Joshua, this of course being a fight “The Cobra” was all set for a while back only to have to pull out due to injury. Tonight was Pulev’s first fight in well over a year-and-half.