Hughie Fury is scheduled to be one of the first headline acts at the Manchester Arena when it reopens following May’s terrorism attack and he wants to deliver a world heavyweight championship title for the city.
Fury faces New Zealander Joseph Parker on September 23 for the WBO belt at a venue which has remained closed since the suicide bombing which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
The arena is not planning to stage events again until early September and John Legend’s gig on the 16th of that month is the only act on the calendar before Fury and Parker’s fight seven days later.
For Manchester-born Fury, returning to the ring at that venue in his city will be a poignant occasion.
“It was absolutely devastating when I heard it on the news,” the 22-year-old told Press Association Sport.
“My mum came into my room and she started crying. My little sister is only 14 and she normally goes to all these concerts and we were so lucky she never went to that one.
“We were thinking if that was my little sister we wouldn’t know what to do. It was so devastating to see. There are no words for what those people are going through.
“It was tragic what happened. It was a devastating thing and my heart goes out to all the families out there.
“I’m going to put a show on for the fans and for Manchester and I’m going to dedicate this fight to Manchester. Believe me, I will be winning it.”
Fury had no reservations about being involved in one of the first events the arena will host upon its reopening and has been heartened by the community spirit his fellow Mancunians have shown following the attack.
“It’s showing people aren’t scared,” he added. “It was an amazing feeling to see so many people come out in Manchester after that happened. They filled the streets and it was incredible that so many people stuck together and were so strong.
“They’ve shown you can’t run scared, you’ve got to show these people. They did and I’m proud of Manchester for that.”
This will be Fury’s 21st professional bout, his first in well over a year due to illness and injury, and his maiden shot at a world championship belt against a fellow undefeated boxer.
He is also the underdog against Las Vegas-based Parker, whose team have angered their next opponent by using their time in England to meet Anthony Joshua and Tony Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I can see their team and him are looking past me already, underestimating me,” Fury added at a press conference which he attended with his cousin, Tyson, a former heavyweight world champion himself.
“They’re already going on meetings with Eddie Hearn and arranging fights. I would take me completely seriously because I am coming for that belt 100 per cent.
“And to Eddie Hearn, cockroach, because that’s what you are, you and your big stiff fighter (Joshua), I’m coming for you next. When I get that belt me and Tyson are unifying this full division together.”
This bout had originally been scheduled to take place in Parker’s homeland in May only for injury to rule Fury out.
Staging it in the challenger’s backyard may now be more favourable to him but Parker, 25, was determined to enhance his reputation in a country Joshua has helped make the epicentre of the heavyweight division.
“There are exciting fights happening here,” Parker said.
“Our team felt like we wanted to be a part of it. It was very important for us to come and fight here and hopefully put on a great performance so we can show the world what we’re made of.”