The curious case of Hughie Fury

This Saturday night, Hughie Fury faces the Germany-based Romanian and perennial top-tier-tester Christian Hammer as part of the second Boxxer Sky Sports card at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle, which also features Savannah Marshall, Chris Eubank Jnr, and hometown favorite Lewis Ritson.

Cousin Fury, along with Chris Eubank Jnr, Richard Riakporhe, and Claressa Shields, makes up the spearhead of Sky Boxing’s raggle-taggle group of maybes and misfits as they push forward into a future without Matchroom Boxing firing up their engine room.

And when it comes to maybes, Hughie Fury really is your man.

Because he may just be the most overlooked heavyweight in the country, he may just be a threat to every fighter in the top ten, he may just go on a run and force his way back into title contention, or equally, he may just continue being a very good fighter who never makes the step-up to great.

Certainly, he is a tough as teak fighting man forged in the furnaces of the Fury franchise, managed and trained by the estimable Peter Fury, deeply experienced and the first British fighter to win super-heavyweight gold at the Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships back in 2012.

Christian Hammer, like previous Fury opponent Mariusz Wach, represents that tougher than average ‘Journeygatekeeperman’ type opponent who should pose a couple of questions and add a few rounds to the stats bank but ultimately fold around the middle rounds or see out a safety-first unanimous decision loss.

A win over Hammer does little for Hughie Fury. It leaves him where he is in the current standings, while contemporaries like Joe Joyce and newer faces on the scene such as Fabio Wardley are enjoying more profile and talk of title shots both domestic and international.

And while this is obviously a combination of good results or committed promotional work on their part, it is frustrating to see them progressing at a rate commensurate with Hughie’s stagnation. And you feel that there is little chance of that changing as part of the Boxxer Sky roster as opposed to Matchroom DAZN or even Queensbury BT Sport.

But let’s return to the maybes because Hughie Fury maybe has a resume in terms of experience as good as any of the top boys below the real top boys in the division. He has previously held the British and WBO Intercontinental titles, of course.

His record of 25 wins, 14 by knockout and three defeats has also been earned on the road, taking in trips to Canada, USA, Romania, Ireland, Jeddah, and Bulgaria, where one of his losses came against the always solid Kubrat Pulev by unanimous decision on the former titlist’s home soil.

Fury’s other defeats came against Alexander Povetkin in 2019, again by unanimous decision and a hotly debated majority loss to Joseph Parker in his first challenge for a world title when contesting for the WBO strap then held by Parker back in 2017.

In all three losses, Fury never looked in any kind of trouble but also never really troubled his opponents too much either, and with the onus on the challenger to take a title off a champion, even the Parker result was probably fair.

So the case of Hughie Fury really is a curious one, and it’s going to take some seriously creative promotional strategy to move him past opponents like Christian Hammer, who, let’s be honest, is fighting for pay rather than progress these days.

As Fury presents quite the risk for little reward for those on the way up, those halfway up, and those at the top – you get the point – and very few matchups are likely to move the needle too far in terms of viewing figures either right now. Forget PPV.

It’s unfair really for a committed, talented, and dignified fighter like Hughie Fury, but as a wise promoter once said, “You don’t get what you deserve; you got what you negotiate.” So maybe there’s more work to do around the conference table moving forward as there is to do in the gym.

Is Hughie Fury talented? Could he still have a say on the heavyweight landscape? Will he get the fights, profile, and respect that he deserves?

The answer to all of those questions is a resounding… definitely, maybe.

Follow G.E. Simons on Twitter: @BrawlingWIthInk