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Fury's fury as he comes up short against Parker

Photo: PA

Hughie Fury came up short in his brave bid to wrest the WBO heavyweight title from champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday night.

Fury, the cousin of former world champion Tyson who was at ringside, dropped a majority points decision with two judges favouring the New Zealander 118-110 while the third scored the contest a 114-114 draw.

The scoring reflected the wildly split opinions at ringside with Parker's ponderous front-foot action contrasting with Fury's bid to claim the title on the back foot.

Ultimately despite an encouraging start Fury was not quite busy enough to win the title after a bout which will hardly have Anthony Joshua losing any sleep.

Even by the standards of WBO heavyweight title history, Fury's path to a title shot could have been considered particularly improbable.

It did not quite match the story of Tim Tomashek, who was famously plucked out of the crowd to challenge Tommy Morrison for the title in 1993.

But having been out of the ring for 17 months while he battled a debilitating skin condition, Fury could hardly have been considered an obvious contender.

It was his cousin Tyson's decision to relinquish the WBO belt on medical grounds last year which would lead to Hughie's unlikely chance.

Parker picked up the vacant title with a low-key win over Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland last December and having successfully defended against Razvan Cojanu, decided he wanted to make a breakthrough in Europe.

Fury had the name and the unbeaten record - despite his previous 20 vanquished opponents totalling 240 defeats between them - to make the front of the queue.

Parker started out as the aggressor, landing a couple of early left hands, while Fury was content to ease through the early stages on the back foot, seeking out an opening.

It came early in the fourth, when Fury landed a cracking short right uppercut, but it was not enough to trouble the tough champion, who fired back with a swinging left while an accidental head clash bloodied Fury's nose.

Fury had found his range by the half-way stage, jolting Parker with a right-hand off the front foot, while a cracking right hand from Parker was the best work in the eighth.

Fury however was completely unfazed by Parker's sporadic assaults, shrugging off another right in the ninth, and eluding most of the champion's telegraphed attacks with some style.

But Parker continued to land the most eye-catching efforts and despite the Fury camp's vehement complaints to the contrary, it was hard to argue with the New Zealander retaining his title after a largely forgettable contest.

Fury's promoter Mick Hennessy was crestfallen with the decision and compared his charge's display to that of Muhammad Ali.

He told BBC Radio 5 live:

I thought he skated it, it was an absolute masterclass, shades of Ali. It was beautiful boxing in the heavyweight division.

Parker wasn't even in the fight, any punches he was throwing were either missing or hitting elbows or hitting gloves, it was very rare he got through with a clean shot. Hughie absolutely skated that fight.

That is probably one of, if not the worst, decisions I've ever seen in my life, it was disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

– Mick Hennessy

Peter Fury, Hughie's father and trainer, was more measured in the aftermath, saying:

I thought he did win it but I wanted him to do more, I wanted him to use the right hand, I wanted him to be more confident and let his shots go.

I still had him the clear winner because Joseph missed a hell of a lot. He's not had a good decision but there you are, this is boxing.

– Peter Fury, Hughie's father