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Hughie Fury falls short as Joseph Parker retains WBO heavyweight title on points

Fury, the cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson, suffered his first professional defeat.

BOXING 24/09/17 16:11
Hughie Fury falls short as Joseph Parker retains WBO heavyweight title on points

Hughie Fury came up short in his brave bid to wrest the WBO heavyweight title from champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday night.

Fury, the cousin of former world champion Tyson who was at ringside, dropped a majority points decision with two judges favouring the New Zealander 118-110 while the third scored the contest a 114-114 draw.

The scoring reflected the wildly split opinions at ringside with Parker’s ponderous front-foot action contrasting with Fury’s bid to claim the title on the back foot.

Ultimately despite an encouraging start Fury was not quite busy enough to win the title after a bout which will hardly have Anthony Joshua losing any sleep.

Even by the standards of WBO heavyweight title history, Fury’s path to a title shot could have been considered particularly improbable. It did not quite match the story of Tim Tomashek, who was famously plucked out of the crowd to challenge Tommy Morrison for the title in 1993.

But having been out of the ring for 17 months while he battled a debilitating skin condition, Fury could hardly have been considered an obvious contender. It was his cousin Tyson’s decision to relinquish the WBO belt on medical grounds last year which would lead to Hughie’s unlikely chance.

Joseph Parker holds aloft his WBO heavyweight crown (Nick Potts/PA)
Joseph Parker holds aloft his WBO heavyweight crown (Nick Potts/PA)

Parker picked up the vacant title with a low-key win over Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland last December and having successfully defended against Razvan Cojanu, decided he wanted to make a breakthrough in Europe.

Fury had the name and the unbeaten record – despite his previous 20 vanquished opponents totalling 240 defeats between them – to make the front of the queue. Parker started out as the aggressor, landing a couple of early left hands, while Fury was content to ease through the early stages on the back foot, seeking out an opening.

It came early in the fourth, when Fury landed a cracking short right uppercut, but it was not enough to trouble the tough champion, who fired back with a swinging left while an accidental head clash bloodied Fury’s nose.

Tyson Fury, Hughie's cousin, makes his disgust with the decision known (Nick Potts/PA)
Tyson Fury, Hughie’s cousin, makes his disgust with the decision known (Nick Potts/PA)

Fury had found his range by the half-way stage, jolting Parker with a right-hand off the front foot, while a cracking right hand from Parker was the best work in the eighth.

Fury however was completely unfazed by Parker’s sporadic assaults, shrugging off another right in the ninth, and eluding most of the champion’s telegraphed attacks with some style.

But Parker continued to land the most eye-catching efforts and despite the Fury camp’s vehement complaints to the contrary, it was hard to argue with the New Zealander retaining his title after a largely forgettable contest.

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