Keen to make up for lost time, a rejuvenated Hughie Lewis Fury faces Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko on February 21 in Monte Carlo and believes victory will set him up for a big 2015.
The talented 20-year-old has been out of the ring since May, due to illness, but is now back to showing his best form in the gym and eager to start climbing the world heavyweight rankings.
“I want the chance to show people what I’m capable of doing, and the only way I can do that is by fighting good opponents,” he said. “Nobody cares if you look good beating up a journeyman over four or six rounds.
“There’s no need for warm-ups if I’m training with quality heavyweights on a regular basis. There’s no point having a full camp for a six-rounder.”
Rudenko is anything but a journeyman. The 31-year-old is ambitious, dangerous and has won 24 of 25 professional fights. He has 16 knockouts to his name and is known for his heavy hands and toughness. Hughie knows all about him.
“I’ve done a few rounds of sparring with Rudenko in the past, and I’ve watched a few videos of him since the fight was made,” he said. “He’s definitely a step-up in class for me and is no knock over. He went the distance with Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne in a close fight some people felt he won.
“He’s just very strong and tough. He comes forward and tries to force the pace. He’s obviously durable because ‘Big Daddy’ Browne, who is a big puncher, hit him with everything and never got him out of there. It will be a good test for me.”
Fury has yet to go beyond eight rounds as a pro but now prepares to fight Rudenko over the ten round distance. Rather than a cause for concern, though, the unbeaten youngster is relishing the opportunity to properly showcase his array of skills.
“We’re training for twelve rounds,” said Fury, 14-0 (8 KOs). “This fight may or may not go the distance, but I’m fully prepared if it does. We’re not training for an early night; we’re training to go the full distance at a good pace. Even if they change it to a twelve rounder on the night, I’ll be ready for two extra rounds.
“Rudenko’s got age and experience on his side, but I’m younger and fresher, and I’m on the way up. I’ll show him and everyone else what I’m made of on the 21st.”