Though he sees the improvements in his son on a daily basis, coach Peter Fury is well aware of the significance of the test that awaits Hughie Lewis Fury on February 21 in Monte Carlo.
The 20-year-old heavyweight tackles Ukrainian puncher Andriy Rudenko over ten rounds – a fight televised by Channel 5 – and Peter is backing his son to rise to the occasion and steal the show.
“Rudenko is a good test for him,” he said. “By no means is this an easy fight. If Hughie had a bit of a weak chin or some major flaws, Rudenko wouldn’t be the kid we’d pick for this fight. We’d steer clear of him completely.
“You’ve got to be wary of Rudenko because he’s quite good at cutting the ring off. You’re not going to just keep him at bay with your jab. He’ll walk through your shots to land his own. He’s very, very tough and durable.
“Also, let’s not forget we had him over for sparring before Tyson’s (Fury) fight with Dereck Chisora last year. Tyson landed some heavy shots on Rudenko, but the harder he hit him, the more Rudenko fought back. He’s not one to slow down or reduce his work-rate. He’s relentless.”
Hughie Lewis, 14-0 (8 KOs), has been out of the ring since May, due to illness, but is back and ready to make up for lost time. It’s why there was an emphasis placed on returning in a ten-rounder. It’s why they wanted an opponent as dangerous as Rudenko, 24-1 (16 KOs).
“I’m not expecting a stoppage in this one,” said Peter. “Rudenko’s too tough for that. He’s as tough as leather boots. And he also gets close and lets shots of his own go with bad intentions. If you stand with him and let him do that, he can do some serious damage. He’s a formidable fighter. He’s in shape and he can do rounds.
“I’m of the belief, though, that Hughie is just a better man all-round in terms of skill-set. His sheer boxing ability will see him through. He’s got a nice, relaxed style and Rudenko will have serious problems dealing with that.
“Hughie isn’t your conventional heavyweight boxer. He’s not just a slugger or an in-and-out boxer. He can do a bit of everything. I think Rudenko will just get blinded with science, to be honest. Hughie is a fantastic boxer when he wants to be and Rudenko will find it very hard to set his feet and let his bombs go.
“Rudenko knows he has to force the fight and land the big one. He’s never going to sit back and outbox somebody who is 6’6 with skills. He’s got to get in there and try and walk Hughie down.
“He’ll look at the fact that Hughie is only 20, has never really fought anybody of real note, and that this is the first big step up for him. He might take confidence from all that. He’ll say to himself, ‘Can Fury handle it on the big stage? What’s he like after six rounds.’ I guess we’ll find out on February 21. It’s got all the hallmarks of a great fight.”
*** Fury vs. Rudenko is part of the ‘Thunderbolt in Monaco’ show on February 21 (Channel 5). Headlining the event will be the WBA Super world middleweight title fight between the fearsome Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Britain’s Martin Murray ***