Hunter and the hunted

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - Septem­ber 17, 2017

BE warned Hughie Fury, run but you can’t hide com­ing hunt­ing for you.

I’m pumped for my Bri­tish de­but and I be­lieve I have the men­tal and phys­i­cal game to take care of this chal­lenge for my WBO world heavy­weight belt.

Hughie has had a fair bit to say about his new-found health and sup­posed power gains. Ap­par­ently he’s a dif­fer­ent per­son and will be a dif­fer­ent boxer to when he last fought way back in April of last year.

We’ll see about that in the heat of bat­tle. I’m pretty sure that no mat­ter how much he tries to change it up, he will re­vert to back to what he is used to when times get tough and he gets tired. And be­lieve me, hav­ing looked over his pre­vi­ous fights, I’m go­ing to be putting plenty of pres­sure on him.

I don’t think he backs him­self with the power he has. Maybe he has worked on it, but I back my­self – I know my weapons and it’s time to go hunt­ing with them.

It’s Hughie’s birth­day on the eve of the fight and I plan to give him a be­lated present he won’t for­get. I’m sure he’s got an idea of what’s com­ing . . . it’s leather-wrapped and it stings.

Don’t get me wrong, I re­spect Hughie as I re­spect ev­ery op­po­nent. But I’ve never felt bet­ter.

It was in­ter­est­ing to hear Hughie sug­gest he’d faced su­pe­rior op­po­si­tion to me. That’s not true and I know I have come through some very tough tests that will serve me well in this fight and my de­sire to make a mark on the Bri­tish heavy­weight scene.

But once the bell rings you can’t look at past op­po­si­tion, only what’s in front of you. As the world cham­pion you have to treat your op­po­nent like he’s the best in the world. So Hughie, I have no prob­lems if you want to go to war, I’m ready to go to war. If it goes one round or 12 rounds, I’m ready for what­ever.

It’s no se­cret there’s been a fair bit of feel­ing around this clash since the mo­ment it was first or­dered way back in Jan­uary. The ap­point­ment of a Bri­tish ref­eree is the lat­est con­tro­versy but if things you and can I’m go to plan, I’ll take the ref­eree out of the equa­tion by putting Hughie away.

Still, I ex­pect the ex­tra edge to this pro­mo­tion might even sharpen a bit more this week as we ap­proach the fight in Manch­ester (around 9am next Sun­day NZT).

I’m also ex­pect­ing plenty of noise on fight night. Hughie’s an Ir­ish Trav­eller and I know they are very sup­port­ive of each other. Hughie’s also a Manch­ester lo­cal and I’m in his back-yard. I’ve been around the world a lot as an am­a­teur and fought over­seas as a pro­fes­sional but this will be a new ex­pe­ri­ence in terms of be­ing the head­line act in some­one else’s ‘‘home’’.

I see it as a role re­ver­sal where ev­ery­one is cheer­ing for him and not me. I have to use the crowd as ex­tra drive and mo­ti­va­tion to go out there and smash him in front of his home crew and home crowd.

I’m sure cousin Tyson Fury will be there and his larger than life I plan to give him a be­lated present he won’t for­get. per­sona will have the crowd pumped. They call Tyson the Gypsy King. That makes Hughie the Gypsy Prince, but I’m go­ing to make sure he won’t be as­cend­ing to the WBO throne where his men­tor once sat.

I’m pretty con­fi­dent there will also be a fair bit of Kiwi sup­port in the crowd, there are plenty of New Zealan­ders over here.

My par­ents, brother and a few close friends ar­rive in London this week­end and it will be great to see them. We head north on Wed­nes­day for the fi­nal count­down.

It feels like this fight has taken up pretty much the whole year for one rea­son or another. It’s been frus­trat­ing but there has been a sil­ver lin­ing to my rel­a­tive in­ac­tiv­ity. Usu­ally I would have had three or four fights by now but the de­lay has al­lowed me time to get over some in­jury nig­gles that my pre­vi­ous busy sched­ule never al­lowed. So I feel like it’s a bless­ing in dis­guise.

Watch out Hughie, you now have some­one in front of you who’s at 100 per cent.

When the first fight was sched­uled for May, I wasn’t at my peak. But now you’re go­ing to get the full noise, the full beat­ing.

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