Hello and welcome back to another edition of Bad Left Hook Scouting Report. Today we will be comparing heavyweight cousins Hughie and Tyson Fury. But before we proceed, there's a clarification I want to make. After initially submitting my draft of this article, I was corrected by the rest of the Bad Left Hook staff regarding the spelling of the name 'Fury'. I spelled it 'Furry', whereas everybody else on the team insists it's 'Fury'. But here's the thing, it can't be 'Fury'. Here are the corresponding definitions:
- any of the avenging deities in Greek mythology who torment criminals and inflict plagues
- one who resembles an avenging spirit; especially : a spiteful woman
- generally furries are people who have a fascination with anthropomorphic animals.
- (...) dressing as an animal [as] a chance to express another part of yourself or to explore a side of your personality that you might not feel comfortable with in your everyday life
Now I looked up quite a bit of footage from the two cousins, and honestly, they are jovial, funny folks, they are entertainers, they laugh and sing in the ring, talk to their corners mid-round, they are the very opposite of 'tormenters' or 'plagues'. As far as dressing up as anthropomorphic animals though... ahem, the evidence speaks for itself.
So on the basis of this proof, I think I can feel justified in henceforth keeping my spelling.
But first, a quick recap of the boxers we've covered so far in this series:
- Heavyweight Anthony Joshua, touted as the next great heavyweight of his generation.
- Light heavyweight Russian youngster Dmitry Bivol.
- Minimumweight titleholder Kosei Tanaka.
- Former 2012 US Olympian Jose Carlos Ramirez, fighting at jr. welterweight.
- Power punching American super-featherweight Saul Rodriguez.
- Former 2012 US Olympian Joseph 'JoJo' Diaz Jr., fighting at featherweight.
- Argentinian buzzsaw light middleweight Brian Castano.
- British giant super-middleweight Callum Smith.
- Olympic medalist and hopeful cruiserweight title challenger Evander Holyfield.
- Cossack otaman and rising cruiserweight contender Oleksandr Usyk.
- Floyd Mayweather's favourite young fighter: welterweight
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- Fan favourite Chechen hammer Artur Beterbiev.
- Young and developing American light middleweight Erickson Lubin.
- Kiwi heavyweight banger Joseph Parker.
- Former Mexican amateur star Oscar Valdez, fighting at featherweight.
- Lithuanian dental therapist Egidijus Kavaliauskas, fixing people's jaws at welterweight.
- Philly fighter and soon-to-be jr. middleweight title challenger Julian Williams.
- Japanese light flyweight champion Kenshiro.
The focus of today's episode is on heavyweight prospect Hughie Furry. Hughie is one of the younger up-and-coming fighters in the heavyweight division. He was Britain's first ever super heavyweight Youth World Amateur Boxing Champion in Armenia in 2012 and turned pro afterwards in 2013, at only 18 years of age. He is now 21 and has had 19 professional bouts.
By comparison, when he was 21, his cousin Tyson Furry was slightly less advanced in his pro career, as he was fighting John McDermott for the English heavyweight title in his 8th pro bout. By 2011 he was fighting Derrick Chisora for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in his 15th bout.
Below are some fights from that period of Tyson Furry's career and for comparison, several recent bouts of Hughie Furry's
Here is the aforementioned English heavyweight title bout between Tyson Furry and John McDermott, a very good and very competitive bout.
Here is another fight of Tyson's against undefeated (but untested) American Rich Power.
And here is Tyson Furry's coming out party, the clear victory over Dereck Chisora who was supposed to fight Wladimir Klitschko instead of Furry, but the bout had just been cancelled because of an injury.
Here is Hughie Furry fighting American journeyman Matthew Greer in his 13th pro bout.
Here is Hughie Furry fighting Eastern European - area contender Andriy Rudenko, coming off his first career loss, a competitive bout against Lucas Browne.
And here is Hughie Furry fighting South American trialhorse George Arias in his 16th pro bout.
Here are a few things I wrote down about each fighter based on how they looked at that particular time in their career (which for Hughie is basically now):
1) Improvement. Over the course of the 3 fights linked above (a span of about 2 years), Tyson Furry improved more than any other fighter we've covered in our Scouting Reports. And of course in retrospect we now know that improvement continued steadily for many more years after that (and is arguably still ongoing). I know it sounds too generic, but his ability to actually punch an opponent saw the biggest improvement. Pretty useful in boxing, methinks...
2) Aggression and work rate. As a prospect, Furry was more than happy to engage and get into exchanges. He maintained a constant level of activity, whether that activity was punching, jabbing, moving or grabbing, he didn't leave much time to rest for his opponent.
3) Size and strength. Most fighters who are larger than average for their weight class use their reach advantage to fight at a distance. Tyson Furry uses his extra weight to wrestle and tire opponents out. This is obiously a unique advantage for a heavyweight, who can be not only taller but also much heavier and stronger than his opponents.
4) Full contact. Grabbing, holding, pinning opponents with his front arm, kidney punching, pushing their head down, Tysn Furry is a whirlwind of wrestling moves and never wastes an angle or an opportunity to hurt an opponent. If he can punch 'em straight, great. If they're at an angle where he can't get a clean punch off, then all bets are off and no combat move or area of attack is offlimits. I'm sure he would gladly bite an opponent's crotch if the opportunity presented itself.
5) Utter lack of defense. Probably the worst defense we've seen in our scouting series. There is not a single defensive technique other than grabbing and wrestling that the young Tyson Furry had.
6) Wild. As a boxer, the young Tyson Furry was all over the place. An utter lack of tightness, lanky and uncoordinated, hands flailing, Furry was a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubeman unleashed in the boxing ring.
7) Punch technique. Yeah, in the same vein as above, technique really wasn't Furry's thing back in 2009-2011. Don't get me wrong, he could punch hard and he could punch from all angles, but his power could have been so much better had he put his body into his punches.
8) Punch accuracy. This was mitigated by his very active style, but soooo many of his punches glanced wide, bounced off the target, or missed it completely. If only there was a video or a gif out there that I could show you to illustrate just how badly Furry's punches could bounce off-target and end up firing in the most surprising directions. If only someone in the comments section could help us with such a piece of boxing history...
1) Feet. Hughie is a non-stop mover, impressively so for a heavyweight. His feet are fast but at the same time creative, tight, unpredictable, energetic, he moves in all directions and all angles (including sideways), he changes directions and he maintains a high energy level throughout the bout.
2) Jab. He has a very long, very active jab which he uses to pester his opponents at all times. It's best used as a defensive weapon, keeping opponents at bay and setting up his movements. Other fighters attack / hit behind the jab. Like a stick-and-move specialist, he moves behind the jab.
3) Staying out of opponents' optimum range. He uses his movement and his jab to keep opponents at a distance and at an angle where they aren't comfortable attacking from. And when they try to close the distance, he immediately steps to grab and smother their punching. In stark contrast to Kosei Tanaka who we've covered before, Hughie is a master at never being in the optimum range of his opponents' punches.\
4) Body Punching. He goes to the body often and he seems to be more comfortable putting power into body shots than into head-shots.
5) Upper body movement. He uses this mostly to intercept and anticipate opponent's moves. He is never caught completely stationary. When his opponent moves his feet, he either moves his feet along with him, moves his upper body to meet / dodge him or moves both.
6) Punch technique. Much like Tyson Furry, he doesn't put his whole body weight behind punches. His right hands are especially cringe-worthy, almost like watching a bar fight. They are looping, wide punches who waste energy by fully extending way before the moment of impact. He basically uses his arms like clobbering tools.
7) Lack of assertiveness. Hughie doesn't seem to have a solid plan for hurting an opponent, overwhelming him and getting him out of there. His main goal seems to be simply to rack up points while staying out of harm's way. I would even go as far as to call his style amateurish, not that it's a phenomenally bad thing.
8) Power. His left hand seems to have little power and his right hand wastes power with incorrect technique. He isn't featherfisted but really, he's probably below average for a heavyweight.
9) Chin not tucked. Especially when throwing the right hand, his chin is way up high, not protected by his guard or his shoulder. He is open for counters but he gets away with it because of his height / reach and his unpredictable angles and timing of attack.
10) Fighting on the front foot. He seems to be at his best against opponents clumsily walking into his traps and into his range. I haven't seen much evidence about what he might do against an opponent that refuses to engage or fall into traps, an opponent he has to attack and break down.
I think that at 21 years old, Hughie Furry looks much better than Tyson Furry looked at 23 (in 2011 when he fought Chisora for the first time). His game-plan is clearer, his movement, his jab and his body-punching are better. At the same time, he doesn't seem to have Tyson Furry's power, his strength or his ability to use roughhouse tactics to dominate an opponent. Distance control is something that is clearly a major part of the arsenal of the Furry fighting family, as is stamina and awkwardness in the ring (although the two have different types of awkwardness). Hughie also seems to have inherited some of Tyson's flaws, mainly poor defense and poor technique on power punches.
Now, even though I said (and maintain) that Hughie Furry looks better than Tyson used to look as a prospect, it's worth noting that Tyson was improving at a more accelerated pace, something that continued for a long while after the bouts we've covered. If I knew for a fact that Hughie will continue to improve at a comparable rate to Tyson, I would have no problem declaring him to have a higher ceiling than Tyson. But as it stands right now, Hughie still needs to prove in the ring that he could follow in Tyson's steps. Many prospects looked good early on, only to abruptly stall their momentum and their development once they reached the world level.
What I like about Hughie, though, is that his stick-and-move style is so unusual for a modern heavyweight (especially one his size) that I think he can stump a lot of heavyweights in the world top-20 right now with it. Especially since a lot of the top fighters on the heavyweight radar right now are really young. I would have no problem picking Hughie Furry over Joseph Parker right now, and would give him a decent shot against Anthony Joshua. At the same time, I think he will have to make improvements in his technique, his combination punching and his physical training if he hopes to hang with the more experienced foxes like Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin, or even someone like Bryant Jennings or Malik Scott, not to mention the aforementioned Parker or Joshua in about one or two years from now.