Kubrat Pulev defeats Hughie Fury – RESULTS
By Jeff Aranow: Kubrat Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) looked sharp in defeating former world title challenger Hughie Fury (21-2, 11 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in their IBF heavyweight title eliminator on Saturday night at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The scores were 117-111, 118-110, 115-113. Boxing News 24 had the 37-year-old Pulev winning the fight by a 10 rounds to 2 score [118-110]. Hughie’s best rounds of the fight was round 1 and 8. The remaining rounds were dominated by the more polished Pulev.
Like in his loss to Josesph Parker last year, Fury was upset about his loss, showing a look of anger and frustration after the scores were announced. However, there was no controversy surrounding the decision. It was a clear win for Pulev. You can say that the 115-113 score for Pulev was too close for the fight that took place tonight.
“If the cut hadn’t happened we would have seen a different outcome,” said Hughie’s trainer Peter Fury.
It was hard to justify Hughie winning more than two rounds, because he did so little after the 1st round. Hughie, 23, started off well in round 1 in just his jab to connect with some nice shots. However, after Hughie suffered a bad cut over his left eye in round two, he lost his composure and started winging wild right hands for the remainder of the fight. The looping right hands from Hughie rarely landed, as they were badly telegraphed and easy for Pulev to avoid. Hughie had suffered a bad cut on the same left eye two years ago in his fight against journeyman Fred Kassi. The Bulgarian Pulev took advantage of the scar tissue on Hughie’s left eye by tagging him with a hard jab in the 2nd round that opened it. It’s not surprising that Pulev was able to open the cut, due to the fact that he’s got one of the best jabs in the heavyweight division.
“It wasn’t my night – the cut I suffered a few weeks ago opened up and it affected my performance. Despite that, I gave it my all, went the full twelve rounds and ran him close,” Hughie said.
In round 8, Hughie finally caught Pulev with a big looping right hand that hurt him. Pulev recovered quickly and took the fight to the tired Hughie in the second half of the fight.
The victory for Pulev makes him the IBF mandatory for IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Pulev is no stranger to being a mandatory for AJ, as he was his WBA mandatory in 2017 and was scheduled to fight him last October. An arm injury that Pulev suffered 10 days before the Joshua fight led to him pulling out of the match. Pulev was replaced by Carlos Takam, who was subsequently stopped in the 10th round on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. With any luck, Pulev will make it to the ring to face Joshua for his IBF mandated title shot, but that fight likely won’t take place until 2020. Joshua is fighting on April 13, and it’s expected to be against Dillian Whyte. The second fight for Joshua in 2019 will either be Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller or WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
For Hughie, this is the second loss for him in his last three fights, and it’s clear that he doesn’t belong at the world level. Last year, Hughie lost to former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker by a 12 round majority decision. Hughie showed no improvement tonight from the way he fought in that fight. Hughie’s last fight was against former British heavyweight champion Sam Sexton last May. Hughie knocked Sexton out with a looping right hand. This is the same punch that he was throwing all night long in trying to KO Pulev. That kind of wild punch worked on domestic level fighter Sexton, but it’s not going to work against a professional world class guy like Pulev. Now that Hughie has lost again, he and his trainer Peter Fury need to think hard about going back down to the British level and staying there for more than just one fight. Fury needs to stay at the British level for three or four years so that he can work on his game before he goes back to fighting world class opposition. Tonight’s performance by Hughie showed that he’s not ready for quality fighters.