Hughie Fury hopes to defy the odds after 17 months of inactivity and win a world heavyweight title from Joseph Parker for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.
The English boxer challenges New Zealand’s Parker on Saturday for his World Boxing Organisation belt in the first boxing event at the indoor area since a terror attack killed 22 people — many of them children — and injured dozens more following the end of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande on May 22.
Fury, who is from the northwest city of Manchester and the cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, wants to win the belt and dedicate victory to the victims of the attack.
“That night is going to be an important night and it means a lot to me,” Fury told reporters in a conference call.
“My heart goes out to the families and on September 23 I’m brining that belt back for them, bringing some pride and joy back to Manchester.
But Fury, who has a professional record of 20 wins and no losses with 10 knockouts, has been inactive since April 30 last year due to a skin disease — acne conglobata — which left him unable to train.
The 23-year-old then suffered a lower back injury which caused the fight against Parker to be postponed from taking place in New Zealand on May 6.
– ‘Poisoning my blood’ –
“I had a skin condition which was poisoning my blood and over the years it has got worse and worse,” Fury said.
“But I’ve had it sorted for a year now. I took medication for six months and it’s just gone now. I’ve been able to build up muscle and body weight.
“People don’t know what I can do because I’ve not been fully fit before like I am (now).”
Fury is trained by his father Peter, who guided Tyson Fury to a shock points win over Wladimir Klitschko in Germany for the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation and WBO world heavyweight titles in November 2015.
Parker (23-0, 18 KOs), is hoping a good win will create interest in bigger match-ups in the future against Fury’s rival British heavyweights Anthony Joshua, the IBF and WBA world champion, and Tony Bellew.
The 25-year-old recorded a unanimous decision over little-known Romanian Razvan Cojanu in his homeland in May, after winning the WBO title with a majority decision over American Andy Ruiz Jr, also on home soil, in December to become New Zealand’s first world heavyweight champion.
“The reason we took this fight is that it’s a mandatory (defence),” said Parker.
“I feel there are bigger fights out there but I can’t get to them if I look past Hughie Fury.”
He added: “England is now the home of heavyweight boxing and I need to be fighting there regularly.
“I do love fighting in New Zealand, but I guess if you want to be a bigger name you have to fight around the world.”