By Scott Gilfoid: Former heavyweight world title challenger Hughie Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) scored a rare knockout victory in stopping the burly British heavyweight champion Sam Sexton (24-4, 9 KOs) in the 5th round on Saturday night to win the British strap at the Bolton Whites Hotel in Bolton.
Hughie, 23, knocked Sexton down twice in the fight in dropping him in rounds 4 and 5. Referee Terry O’Connor halted the contest after Hughie knocked Sexton down with a right hand in the 5th. The badly hurt Sexton, 33, got back to his feet, but O’Connor stopped it anyway. It was a good stoppage. Sexton was hurt, and he was going to keep getting knocked own if the contest had been allowed to continue. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:03 of round 5. ‘
In the 4th round, Hughie hurt Sexton with a sharp right hand while he was coming forward. The shot caused Sexton to stagger backwards and bend forward. Hughie then followed with a wild windmill right hand that missed by a mile as Sexton dodged it by falling back against the ropes. Hughie followed up with a short right hand to head of Sexton that put him down on the canvas. This was at the end of the round. Hughie wasn’t able to try and finish Sexton off.
Hughie came out strong in the 5th, hammering the flat-footed Sexton with clubbing right hands repeatedly. Sexton kept coming forward and he was able to back Hughie against the ropes. However, Hughie timed Sexton perfectly and nailed him with a right hand that put him down. The fight was then halted.
In round 1, Hughie looked like he using his best Muhammad Ali imitation in circling the ring, throwing slow jabs and right hands. There weren’t too many clean shots that landed in the round unfortunately. Hughie was missing with his right, and doing little more than jabbing with his left. Sexton was slow-moving, unable to cut off the ring quickly enough to land his shots. Whenever Sexton did get close enough to land, Hughie would tie him in a clinch to keep him from getting his shots off. Hughie was also holding his left arm far out in front of him as a yardstick that he used to keep Sexton from getting close to him. Hughie would throw weak, rapid fire feints with his left, but that wasn’t the intention. It looked like the idea was for Hughie to keep his left far out in front of him so he could use it to push Sexton away to keep him from getting close. This is an illegal tactic that the referees are supposed to stop, but Hughie was able to get away with it the entire fight. Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was known for his habit of sticking his left arm far out in front of him to keep his opponents from getting close. But his case, Wladimir would use his left to throw meaningful punches. Hughie wasn’t landing much with his left, because he has a weak jab. Hughie’s bread and butter punch tonight was his right hand.
In round 3, Sexton seemed to be getting frustrated with Hughie’s constant movement and his tying up on the inside. Early in the round, Sexton hit Hughie with 7 hard body shots when he tied him up in a clinch. The referee Terry O’Connor then stepped in and gave a warning for some reason. It’s unclear what he was warning about, because Hughie was the one doing the holding. Sexton was allowed to throw punches while he was being held. O’Connor should have been giving Hughie a warning for his holding. Sexton landed a few nice left hands and one big right during the round. Hughie took the punches well, as Sexton is not a big puncher by any means.
In the 4th, Sexton started off well in landing a tasty looking left to the head of Hughie. Moments later, Sexton connected with a right hand right on the button. The shot seemed to make Hughie mad, as he started throwing right hands back that caught Sexton. Hughie teed off on Sexton for the remainder of the round, hitting him with right hands one after another. Near the end of the round, Hughie caught Sexton with a right hand that sent him staggering back. Sexton was unable to defend himself to the follow up right hand that dropped him.
Fury is expected to vacate his newly won British heavyweight title straightaway, as Joe Joyce (4-0, 4 KOs) has already made it known that he wants to fight the winner of this fight. Fury’s father/trainer Peter Fury says they’re not interested in fighting the unbeaten 6’6” Joyce. They’re going after the long range goal of fighting for a world title against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. It might not take that long for Hughie to get a title shot if he’s willing to fight for the belt as a voluntary challenger. Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing were interested in fighting Hughie last year, but a deal couldn’t be made.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad performance from Hughie. He did what he was expected to do against a domestic level heavyweight. Hughie should have been passed this level of opposition, because his pervious fight had been against former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker last September. Hughie lost that fight by a 12 round majority decision, but he and his trainer/father Peter Fury claimed that they should have been given the victory. Peter has even been calling Hughie the “uncrowned champion,” which is laughable given how little he did on offense on the fight. What we saw from Hughie tonight was nothing that would worry IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua or WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Those two would be far too powerful for Hughie, who didn’t show a great deal of punching power despite getting the knockout victory. Hughie looks like a bottom 20 level heavyweight. Just from what I saw tonight of Hughie, I rate him well below Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Adam Kownacki, Luis Ortiz, Tony Bellew, Kubrat Pulev, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Dominic Breazeale, Joseph Parker, Zhilei Zhang, Jarrell Miller, Bryant Jennings, Charles Martin, Dereck Chisora, Tyson Fury, Johnn Duhaupas, Carlos Takam, Oscar Rivas and Bermane Siverne. I would favor even David Haye to beat Hughie.
If Hughie keeps beating over-matched opposition like Sexton, he’ll get his title shot against Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder, but he’s not going to do well. I can’t see him even being competitive with either of them. Hughie’s entire game is based on movement, eluding punches, and tying up his opponents. Hughie lets his hands go against slow, limited fighters like Sexton, but he fights scared when he faces good opposition. Against Parker, Hughie looked like he was being hunted. He looked terrified the entire fight. Hughie will never beat the good heavyweights with his mindset and his total lack of punching power. He belongs on the domestic scene rather than at world class. Believe me, if Hughie decided to defend his British heavyweight title against all comers, he would be knocked out in his next fight against Joe Joyce. Hughie is not on the same level as Joyce or Dubois. Those guys are much better than him. Nathan Gorman would beat him as well and possibly David Allen.