Joseph Parker Vs. Hughie Fury
Hughie Fury will aim to follow his cousin Tyson Fury in becoming a world champion when he takes on the highly-rated Joseph Parker for his WBO crown.
The fight – which will take place on home soil for Parker at the Vector Arena in New Zealand – is scheduled for May 6 and both fighters are aiming to propel themselves into the big time.
For Parker, it is an opportunity to announce himself to British fight fans having previously enjoyed little profile outside of his home country, while Fury will want to follow his cousin to the big-time.
Parker, who has a 22-0-18KO record, picked up the WBO belt after it was vacated by Fury, represented his country at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and has become one of the names to watch in the division in the last couple of years.
But Fury has made the headlines in the build-up to the fight due to speculation his trainer and father Peter would not be allowed into New Zealand for the fight due to his previous criminal past.
After an appeal, immigration minister David Bennett granted Fury the right to enter the country with his boxer and the fight, which Parker is favourite to win, will go ahead as planned.
Fury insists he has had to fight within himself during his career so far after battling a severe skin condition, which is now completely under control.
“I feel like a new person,” says Fury, who suffered fatigue as a result of the skin problem. However, as he has not fought since beating Fred Kassi in London a year ago, there are question marks about his fitness and it is therefore no surprise to see he has been made the outsider.
Fury can be backed at a best price of 7/4 to continue his winning streak against Parker, but the New Zealander having home advantage in front of his Kiwi fans will be a big factor as well, with the fight set to be held in Auckland.
For 22-year-old Fury, facing Parker is an opportunity to show that his skin condition was holding back his potential and he can follow fellow Brit Anthony Joshua into becoming world champion.
I’ll Smash Him
Parker has vowed to “smash” Fury when the pair get into the ring on May 6, with the New Zealander certainly in fight condition having regularly had five bouts a year in his career.
A four-month break has provided Parker – who has the high chief name of Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa thanks to his Samoan heritage – with a rare opportunity to recharge the batteries and enjoy family time, as well as dealing with the status of being world champion.
Parker is the clear favourite, with the bookmakers convinced that he will retain his title belt in front of his home fans, and the best price available on the 25-year-old is around the 8/13 mark.
The heavyweight division is in rude health right now – with a superfight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko coming up soon – and Fury and Parker will both want to give themselves a chance of being considered among that pair in the elite ranks of the sport.
Parker has even floated the possibility of facing off against Tyson Fury in the future, with Hughie’s cousin on the comeback trail after a period out of the game as he battled mental health issues.
Although Parker is at home, Fury has a height and reach advantage that might just give the British boxer an advantage for this fight.
Fury is five centimetres taller than Parker and he also has a further 10 centimetres in reach, a difference he will need to make the most of in Auckland if he is to be able to win the bout.
Parker – who will earn $1.8 million from the fight compared to the $1.2 million that goes to Fury – will be familiar with the arena in which the fight takes place, however, as it is where he beat Andy Ruiz to take possession of his world title belt for the first time in his career.
It promises to be an intriguing encounter, with Fury’s recovery from that awful skin condition and questions over whether he has been clean adding some mystery to the occasion, but Parker is expected to have enough class to triumph.