There is to be no world title fairy tale for Hughie Fury who was defused and outpointed by savvy veteran Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria last night.
The UK fight fans tuning in on Channel 5 to see if their man could make it second time lucky on the big stage were left disappointed as the Bolton boxer failed to execute in the IBF heavyweight world title eliminator.
At the end of the contest the three judges at ringside scored the bout 115-113, 117-111, and 118-11 — all in favour of Kubrat Pulev.
Fury started positively in the opener but was on the back foot in a messy round two that was beset by holding and clinching as both men battled for the centre ring. Those clinches soon revealed a nasty cut across Fury’s left eye, and the referee immediately summoned the doctor.
Hughie’s corner told him to go out and have a go in round three. Responding with wild swings to head and body, a more aggressive version of the away man was exactly what the situation required. It was short-lived, however, as a classic Pulev left-right combination pushed Fury further into crisis mode as round four began. The Bulgarian, as expected, was basic but effective in his approach.
Pulev landed a solid left hook at the end of round seven; his jab was landing more frequently, followed by a hooked arm around the neck. Even though Hughie responded, he was falling behind. A big rally in the middle of the eighth from the visitor was right on cue. Hughie suddenly had some much-needed encouragement. At this time, Pulev was handed breathers from referee Earl Brown for various indiscretions.
Digging deep and desperate to turn the bout around, Hughie was trying to win by knockout in the 11th, but it was becoming a dire situation for him. Pulev’s powerful jab was bossing the fight and Tyson’s cousin was becoming dispirited. Pulev was smart in his moves; slicing open the Fury cut with the inside of the glove as the pair were pulled out of clinches.
There was no “Shades of Ali” from Fury on a night that showed that he is not yet able to mix at world level.
Pulev moves on towards a possible future bout with Anthony Joshua. Not many fans will be queuing up for that one, however.