Many were surprised when heavyweight Hughie Fury (cousin of Tyson) signed a multi fight deal with Matchroom Boxing last week mainly due to the boxing/boxing stable politics of recent times. And pretty much everyone was surprised when it was announced that Fury wouldn’t bother with a warm up fight and instead jump into a war with Alexander Povetkin on the undercard of Lomachenko/Campbell on August 31st at The 02.
Though when looking back at Fury’s career so far it shouldn’t be too much shock that he has taken on this hefty challenge so early in his Matchroom Boxing deal. At the age of just twenty four Fury has already faced (and tested) former world champ Joseph Parker as well as taking on Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in his own back yard, something that no other top heavyweight of current times has fancied doing. Despite losing both of these step ups, it’s admirable that Fury was willing to take on such testing fights at all. And once again he will be throwing caution to the wind by stepping into the ring with a man who too long ago was arguably one of the top three heavyweights on the planet.
As despite his defeat to Anthony Joshua back in September 2018, Alexander Potevkin remains one of the most feared men in the division, even at the age of thirty nine. He rocked Joshua early in their fight and exposed weaknesses that Andy Ruiz Jr would later go on to mercilessly rip through. So it’s a bold step for Hughie Fury to take on Povetkin when many would have expected him to take on a far lesser opponent in his next fight. Instead though he is rolling the dice once again and if Fury lands a six, or indeed a perfect shot he will instantly propel himself into the limelight and into the upper ranks of what is now a truly stacked division.
A division that again found in the spotlight for the wrong reasons recently after an alleged positive test of Dillian Whyte’s pre-fight drug test with the UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) for his recent points victory over Oscar Rivas. Reports from the likes of long time boxing analyst and writer Thomas Hauser claimed that Whyte had failed the test but was cleared to fight in any case. Since then more details have emerged, including the fact that Whyte was indeed cleared to fight on the day of the fight by an hearing arranged by the British Board of Boxing. Alongside this is the disturbing fact that, due to legal reasons, Oscar Rivas and his team were not notified of any of this and were oblivious to Whyte’s issues going into the fight.
Details of Whyte’s pre-fight hearing remain misty though perhaps the fact that Whyte was cleared to fight by an independently put together board of experts should count for something significant in his favour. Along with the fact that he passed his two, voluntary and independently paid for, VADA (Voluntary Anti Doping Association) tests just days before the bout. Something that few fighters outside the elite level bother to put themselves through (including basically none on the other side of the pond where two fighters recently tragically lost their lives due to injuries sustained in the ring.)
In a brief and official statement, Whyte has since come out to rubbish the reports stating he won the fight ‘fair and square’ yet said he couldn’t comment further due to legal reasons, so clearly more facts will emerge as time as goes on. However Whyte, if he is indeed completely innocent, will be eager to clear his name quickly as having already failed a test early in his career is already being branded by some casual fans as a cheat due the murkiness around the whole affair. The WBC, who in all honesty don’t seem to particularly have Whyte’s best interests at heart, have already inexplicably provisionally suspended his interim world champion and mandatory challenger status. Despite the fact that Whyte passed his VADA tests which the WBC use as their performance enhancing drugs or PED testing agency for all fighters.
Whether you think the WBC’s continued rough treatment of Whyte is unjust or not, the Brixton based fighter has much more pressing matters to attend to than mandatory statuses and the like. In a culture that seems to take social media articles or interviews as actual fact, Whyte will unfortunately be viewed by many as guilty until proven innocent not the other way around. Dreams of fights in for the WBC belt versus the likes of Wilder and Fury are now unfortunately off way in the distance. Instead in the forefront of Dillian Whyte’s future is the process of clearing his name with UKAD, which Tyson Fury will tell him might take a lot longer than he wishes it to.
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