HUGHIE FURY almost gave up the sport. Although he saw his cousin Tyson Fury become the heavyweight champion of the world he was struggling with his own ill health. By the time he fought Fred Kassi in April 2016, he was ready to quit boxing.

“That was a downtime in my life, I thought me and boxing was over, I thought I couldn’t achieve anything, I thought I couldn’t beat anyone. That fight I couldn’t put my hands up. I said to my dad, my legs are like lead and my arms, I can’t get nothing off. I had another ten rounds to go. Mentally just to keep in that fight was crazy.  After the fight I was in tears, even though I won, it was heartbreaking. I thought everything I put my whole life into since I was a kid was going to be over. My dad never gave up on me, he took me in for an appointment in Harley Street, he looked at my body and said I had a rare kind of acne that was basically poisoning my blood. I had it since I was 14 and over the years it just got worse and worse. I had been in fights where I felt all dizzy and after was spewing my guts up. There was always wrong and the training camps were the worst time of my life, instead of progressing I was always going backwards. It was torture but thank god that is all behind me,” Hughie said. “I look back on fights and I have blood squirting out of my back. Even if I went sparring, all my T-shirts would be covered with blood. It was a horrible thing to have.

“I was on the medication for eight months and that was awful, it made me depressed, it made me sleep for three, four days at a time. I couldn’t even have a normal life. I was so down when was taking the medication. Thank god that’s behind me now.”

But he came back from it and now fights Joseph Parker for the WBO heavyweight title in Manchester today (Saturday September 23). “I always felt that was going to hold me down because there was a point where I couldn’t pick up a 10 kilo weight.  I couldn’t do two rounds sparring. My dad is an honest man and said, ‘You can’t become world champion like that’. He was right because how am I supposed to beat great fighters if I can’t spar two rounds. But I have got a great team who never gave up on me,” he said.

After his current training camp Fury is confident of victory. “This has been absolutely horrible, a blood, sweat and tears of a camp. I’ve had about eight different sparring partners, one in, one out each round to doing 12-15 rounds three times a week, so it has been absolutely gruelling. I’m the best prepared I have ever been in my life,” he said. “I believe no one has ever trained like me for a fight. The easy work is the fight.

“I don’t believe in ring rust. I’m focussed and I’ve had the best of sparring, you won’t see any ring rust.”

Joseph Parker - Hughie Fury

He believes he’ll join Anthony Joshua as Britain’s second heavyweight world champion. “Absolutely and it’s great for British boxing. That would be a fight they would look to make and we would look to make as well,” Hughie said.

“I believe it’s an easy fight as well because the styles we have are kryptonite for him. These are  the fights I want after this but I am not looking past Joseph Parker. But I want to unify the division, I believe I can. These are the fights I want, one bout at a time.”