LONDON: Hughie Fury, cousin of troubled former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, is dedicating his September 23 world title bout with WBO titleholder Joseph Parker to his home city of Manchester.
The 22-year-old, whose last combat was victory over Fred Kassi in April 2016 taking his record to 20 wins with 10 inside the distance, will fight Parker at the Manchester Arena making it a doubly emotionally-charged night.
His bout will be only the second live event at the venue Multi-Grammy winning American musician John Legend has a concert there on September 16 where a suicide bomber blew himself up on May 22 after the end of an Ariana Grande concert resulting in 22 dead and scores injured.
Fury who like Tyson faces a hearing with UK-Anti Doping over allegations they tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 2015 said his family had been marked by the appalling event.
“It was absolutely devastating when I heard it on the news,” he told Press Association Sport on Tuesday.
“My mum came into my room and she started crying. My little sister is only 14 and she normally goes to all these concerts and we were so lucky she never went to that one.
“We were thinking if that was my little sister we wouldn’t know what to do. It was so devastating to see. There are no words for what those people are going through.
“It was tragic what happened. It was a devastating thing and my heart goes out to all the families out there.
“I’m going to put a show on for the fans and for Manchester and I’m going to dedicate this fight to Manchester. Believe me, I will be winning it.”
Fury, who had been due to fight Parker on May 6 in New Zealand but had to pull out of the title challenge because of a back injury, said the spirit and unity shown by the Manchester population after the attack had touched a nerve.
“It’s showing people aren’t scared,” he said.
“It was an amazing feeling to see so many people come out in Manchester after that happened. They filled the streets and it was incredible that so many people stuck together and were so strong.
“They’ve shown you can’t run scared, you’ve got to show these people. They did and I’m proud of Manchester for that.”
Fury has a tough task on his hands as the USA-based Parker has an unblemished record of 23 wins in 23 bouts with 18 knock-outs.