FORMER world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is easing his way back into contention – really easing his way back into contention –  but his cousin, Hughie Fury, could soon find himself on the verge of competing for his second world title.

The 23-year-old, last seen knocking out Sam Sexton in five rounds, is sniffing around the IBF version of the world heavyweight crown, currently held by Anthony Joshua, and might end up boxing Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev in an eliminator before the year is out.

Here’s how: Fury, ranked fifth with the organisation, is seemingly on his way to the top of the pile by default following Dillian Whyte’s decision to withdraw from an ordered eliminator with Pulev, and rumours of Jarrell Miller doing the same. Suddenly, the queue has shortened and Fury, the next available contender, has emerged as the man most likely.

Admittedly, Fury looked better than ever in May, stopping Sexton with some well-picked counter-punches, but nobody could have expected a British title win to elevate him beyond Carlos Takam (six) and Joseph Parker (seven), his sole conqueror as a pro, in the latest IBF ratings.

Then again, this is boxing. Expect the expected.

Now, with the path becoming clearer, and other contenders favouring routes presented by rival sanctioning bodies, it’s conceivable Fury will be the next heavyweight to get the opportunity to turn down a trip to Sofia, Bulgaria and fight Kubrat Pulev.

Kubrat Pulev

Fear not. Regis Prograis won’t be looking past his next opponent, Juan Jose Velasco, and fantasising about a place in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super-lightweight tournament. To do such a thing would be ill-advised, careless and potentially dangerous. Take his eye off the ball, if even for a split-second, and his plan could very well blow up in smoke.

But that doesn’t mean we, the fans, those eager to see Prograis mix it with the super-lightweight elite, can’t imagine him competing in a field already comprising the likes of Josh Taylor, Anthony Yigit, Ivan Baranchyk, Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanovsky. What’s more, today it was confirmed Prograis will indeed take his place in the 140-pound tournament later this summer – if, and only if, he manages to come through Velasco next Saturday (July 14).

Rejoice, fight fans.

WBC interim champion Prograis, 21-0 (18), rose to prominence in March with a stunning second round knockout of Julius Indongo, and is an exciting, all-action type, with power in both hands. He should see off Velasco, 20-0 (12), with little difficulty, but would of course be a fool to take this final hurdle for granted.