The last time he was in the ring, Hughie Fury (22-2) searched for performance and victory in Sofia that would have firmly established his presence amidst the elite, heavyweight-guerillas' of the division. However, the young British champion was plagued by a nasty cut above his left eye by round two - an injury sustained in camp that never was never given enough time to properly heal. Thereafter, Bulgaria's heavyweight darling asserted himself, dominating the rounds to claim the unanimous decision, despite being wobbled in the eighth.
Seven months since his last fight and Hughie Fury was bordering on two stone lighter than his fight with Kubrat Pulev. Tonight (May 25), at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, Fury was slim, lean and toned - sporting a muscle-ripped middle as he walked through formerly unbeaten Canadian Chris Norrad (17-1) in four minutes and 51 seconds, live on Channel 5.
Fury was sharp, awkward and lively in the opening round, hitting cleanly, frequently and punishingly, tagging his man early with a stiff jab, followed by a solid right cross that burst into Norrad's face with ferocity and power. The Canadian looked well out of shape in comparison to the home fighter as he lumbered about the ring like a moving punchbag.
By the second, Fury was softening up his man with thudding jabs and whamming shots to the body. It was inevitable - Norrad, after being dropped by a clobbering blow to the side of the head, took a punt by staying down until the ninth second of the referee's count. But, after the knockdown in the second, the man dressed in a white shirt and dicky-bow, Mark Lyson, had seen enough and the bout was put to bed. In fairness, the ref probably did Chris a favour - another two or three rounds with Hughie would have been brutal and punishing; a more than likely bruised-up and red-ruin faced Norrad would have had to be rescued.
Fury did his job tonight with ease and confidence. Another tune-up is possibly in order before he climbs the heavyweight ladder to challenge a higher calibre of opponent. A domestic showdown with Dubois, Joyce, Gorman, Price or Allen may be on the cards at some point down the line.
On the Hennessey Sports undercard, promoter Mick's son and namesake Michael Hennessey Jr (1-0) scored a 60-55 points win over former Baltic Boxing Union International light-middleweight champion Adam Grabiec (7-26), 35 from Poland, in his pro debut on the undercard.
The 19-year-old 6ft 1in middleweight from Sevenoaks is an amateur centurion who served a quality ring apprenticeship on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Super-featherweight Alex Dilmaghani (19-1) and middleweight Savannah Marshall (6-0) both won their respective bouts inside the distance and there were points wins for Marcel Braithwaite (8-1) and Connor Lynch (4-0).