Peter Fury, trainer and father of Hughie Fury, responds to critics of his next fight, against Sam Peter, writes Danny Flexen
Peter Fury doesn’t do bulls***. You may not always agree with him, you might even vehemently oppose his opinion on something (albeit without ever expressing that vehemence directly), but you can virtually guarantee what he tells you will be honest and unvarnished. So when he explains why faded former WBC champion Samuel Peter is an acceptable opponent for his son and pupil Hughie Fury at less than three weeks’ notice, you should certainly read and digest his rationale before forming a definitive opinion.
It was announced yesterday that not only would the upcoming Saudi Arabia show headlined by Amir Khan vs Neeraj Goyat appear live on Channel 5 – Hughie’s broadcast home – but that the 24-year-old heavyweight had been added to the Jeddah bill, opposing the “Nigerian Nightmare”. Following hot on the heels of Fury’s facile stoppage of overmatched Canadian Chris Norrad a month ago – excused to an extent by the winner’s extended absence beforehand – some fans were quick to vent on social media at what they feel will be another easy night’s work. Peter Fury is keen to offer some welcome context.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he told us. “I’ve seen replies on social media saying, ‘Why not a better opponent?’ This is short notice and Sam Peter was the only one who came forward that we could get; we tried other, very credible opponents, including Travis Kauffman, but he still has a rotator cuff injury from the Luis Ortiz fight [in December] and was out for five months out so couldn’t take it. We also tried Eric Molina, but it was too short notice for him as well. It’s alright people complaining but it is short notice and fair play to Sam Peter for stepping up. We’re not just picking fights Hughie could win but the better fights are not easy to make. Peter is a former world champion and we are happy with him at short notice. We know he’s a big puncher, but it’s a fight we expect Hughie to come through.”
Peter has won two of three fights since returning in Mexico earlier this year from two years out. His WBC title reign ended over a decade ago and he is undoubtedly not the force of old. At 38, perhaps he is simply old. That said, this appearance, again on terrestrial TV in the UK, is part of a wider strategy to enhance Hughie’s profile and continue a style evolution that has already seen him become more aggressive in the ring.
“He’s really started to mature and turn the corner,” Peter pointed out. “We are looking to put him in good fights, we’re not looking to keep him busy in gimme fights, it’s about letting him earn his position the right way. Hughie is just waiting on standby, we’re always in the gym, waiting for an opportunity like Andy Ruiz got. As soon as it comes, we’ll grab it with both hands. Until then, we want to keep Hughie busy and he should be back out after this in August or September.
“He’s got to be crowd-pleasing, it’s an entertainment sport, you’ve got to throw punches, got to be on the front foot a bit more and vary his work more. It is always ‘defence first’, but he’s got some of the best defensive mechanics in world boxing, a radar second to none, so now we need to put the offence on the back of that. Being such a young fighter, you can mould them and he’s taking a lot on board, holding the pocket more. He’s also in super condition, thanks to Kerry Kayes now, so he ticks all the boxes.”