Hughie Fury a ‘different person’ as Pulev looms
Hughie Fury insists he is a changed man to the one who was beaten by Joseph Parker just over a year ago.
The English heavyweight hopes to earn a second world title shot with victory over Kubrat Pulev in an eliminator for the IBF title, held by Anthony Joshua.
Fury (21-0, 11 KOs), 24, lost a majority points decision in his home city of Manchester to New Zealand’s Parker, then the WBO champion. Parker went on to lose the belt on points to Fury’s English rival Joshua earlier this year.
WBA-IBF-WBO champion Joshua would be a lucrative fight for Fury, who insists he is now better equipped for a world title shot.
“I feel mentally focused and more determined to get back to the top after the Parker fight,” Fury told ESPN.
“I’ve got more mental concentration and strength than I had for the Parker fight. I’m a different person to the one who fought Joseph Parker. With age, you change mentally and I’m more hungry to make it to the top level.
“This is the best I have ever felt going into a fight both physically and mentally and I’m ready to go there and get the win.”
Fury stopped Sam Sexton in five rounds to become British champion in May and is the IBF’s second highest ranked boxer behind veteran Pulev, who will have home advantage at the Arena Armeec in Sofia.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), 37, is also aiming to land a second title shot, after being knocked out in the fifth round by Wladimir Klitschko four years ago.
The Bulgarian was supposed to be Joshua’s opponent last year, but he pulled out injured with two weeks to go and has not fought for 18 months.
“The layoff won’t have helped him,” Fury said. “My speed will definitely get the better of a man of that size. We’ve got everything covered: if he comes for a fight, if he comes for a boxing match, I will be ready. Youth, more hunger and ability is what wins me the fight.
“You can’t underestimate Pulev. But I believe it’s the right time for me to have this fight. The time he’s had off can’t have helped.”
Fury is the cousin of former WBA-IBF-WBO world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who challenges Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt in Los Angeles on Dec. 1.
The pair used to train alongside each other, under the watchful eye of trainer Peter Fury, Hughie’s dad. But Tyson has since moved on and now has a new trainer after embarking on a comeback in June following 30 months out. These days Hughie does not want to talk much about Tyson.
“It’s a good fight and I wish Tyson all the best, I don’t have a clue who will win it,” Hughie said of Fury-Wilder.