Hughie Fury next up for Kubrat Pulev in IBF eliminator
By Allan Fox: #5 IBF Hughie Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) is next up to potentially face #1 IBF Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator after #3 IBF Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) declined to take the fight against the Bulgarian. The 23-year-old Fury is the next available contender in the IBF’s top 15 ranking.
This is Fury’s chance to show that he belongs at the top of the division. If Hughie takes this fight and wins, he’ll be taken seriously by boxing fans. A lot of the fans view Hughie as someone who is popular because he’s related to former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Hughie still hasn’t said whether he’ll take the fight or not with Pulev. Given Hughie’s low ranking by the WBA, WBC and WBO, his only shot at becoming a mandatory to heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is to face Pulev in an IBF tile eliminator. If Hughie beats Pulev, he could challenge Joshua by 2019 as the IBF mandatory. There’s more money for Hughie as the IBF mandatory than if he’s given a title shot against Joshua as a voluntary challenger.
Epic Sports won the purse bid to stage Pulev’s next fight, and they want to have it take place in Bulgaria. Miller and his management didn’t want any part in going to Bulgaria to tangle with Pulev. Miller was interested in fighting Pulev, but only if it took place in the U.S. Hughie is the next up for the fight, and it’ll give him a quick avenue to another title shot after he was beaten last year by former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker by a 12 round majority decision. The 6’6” Hughie made a tactical error by electing to stay on the move for the full 12 rounds instead of looking to use his offensive skills to win. The judges preferred Parker’s aggression to Hughie’s defensive focus to the fight.
“We were trying for the fight to happen in the United States, or at the very least some kind of neutral territory, and we just couldn’t make that deal,” Miller’s promoter Dmitry Salita exclusively said to skysports.com. “We’ll explore other options, but I think we’ll have something significant to announce soon.”
It would be a real show of courage on Hughie’s part to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev. Whyte and Miller wanted no part of fighting Pulev in his home country. If Hughie is willing to be courageous and face Pulev in front of his own Bulgarian boxing fans, it’ll increase his status in the boxing world, especially if he wins.