Despite extending his unbeaten record to twenty wins and securing the WBO international title in the process, Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KO) exited the Copper Box deflated as an accidental head clash in the seventh round saw him score a technical decision victory over Cameroonian Fred Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KO).
Fury, 6ft 4ins, utilised his height and reach effectively in the opening rounds. With the visitor showing unwillingness to exchange on the backfoot, Fury comfortably sat behind the jab and landed straight, jolting right hands.
Similarly to his cousin Tyson, the 21-year old implemented a style where the opponent finds difficulty in scoring clean shots. Bobbing and weaving in and out of range, Fury showed punch variety on the inside with uppercuts when Kassi attempted to close the distance and land close. Subsequently, Fury did however lack pinpoint timing to successfully counter Kassi on every occasion he unleashed his own firepower.
Fury's dominance continued past the fourth stanza, with the tall and rangy heavyweight controlling the centre of the ring behind his quick, solid jab. Furthermore, Fury impressively combated Kassi's frequent efforts to obtain success on the inside - sharp reflexes and constant head movement adding to the visitor's frustration.
Towards the end of the fifth, an accidental clash of heads cut Fury's eyelid open and send blood trickling down his left cheek. Kassi immediately upped the ante and piled the pressure on Fury; landing several right hands in the latter part of the rounds, often followed up by right and left hook combinations, despite not all landing.
In defiance of his early fight dominance, Fury's night ended on a sour note albeit with a twentieth straight victory. Even the corner's best attempts to control the bleeding, the ringside doctor declared Fury's cut too severe to continue.
Therefore, as the fight progressed past four rounds, the outcome was determined by the scorecards leading up until the time of the stoppage.
All three judges scored Hughie Fury the winner 69-66, 70-64, 69-65 over Fred Kassi by technical decision in the seventh round.
Maturity showed against higher level of oppositionThe 21-year old was understandably frustrated with the nature of his victory, but it shouldn't be forgotten that Kassi, to most experts and fans, beat Chris Arreola and Dominic Breazeale, despite suffering defeats on the cards.
He is regarded as an awkward customer, and at this stage for a 21-year old, Fury showcased immense maturity behind the jab and stuck to the gameplan rehearsed pre-fight.
The now IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua debuted at 24 years old, three years old than Fury who is facing respectable opposition in Fred Kassi. He is finely groomed under father and trainer Peter Fury, and the discipline and composure is always apparent in the ring.
Following the fight, Fury required stitches inside and outside of his left eye.
The near future of Hughie Fury's careerHe may be sidelined for a short number of months, or perhaps for the majority of the year. Doctors will most likely declare him unfit to participate in sparring sessions, which ruins training camps and ultimately, ruled him out of action on the Tyson Fury vs Wladimir Klitschko undercard, plus another Frank Warren card he was lined up to fight on in the upcoming months.
Fury, who expressed his desire to fight frequently against a higher level of opposition, leaves the Copper Box extremely deflated, but boxing is one of the most unpredictable sports on the planet for a reason. Had he been in his mid to late thirties, the substantial amount of time Fury could be sidelined for would have been concerning, but his 'baby' age at 21 years old bails him from stagnation or deterioration.
Either way, Hughie Fury will be back in time with a future world championship opportunity a realistic and likely materialisation in the coming years.