Hughie Fury got back on the comeback trail on Saturday night by outpointing Kostiantyn Dovbyschenko over six rounds in Rotherham. 

The former world heavyweight title challenger hadn’t boxed since stopping Christian Hammer back in October 2021 and although the result will cause little more than a ripple in world boxing waters, it will mean the world to the 29-year-old. 

Fury, 27-3 (15 KOs), has been plagued by health issues throughout his career. He boxed his way to a shot at then WBO champion, Joseph Parker, despite dealing with a skin condition called acne conglobata which lowered his immune system and sapped his energy levels. He was then struck down by a debilitating bout of long COVID.

He had been scheduled to return to action against Michael Hunter back in October 2022 but the effects of the virus left him unable to train and threw his entire career into doubt. That battle continued throughout last year.

Fury wasn’t perfect against Dovbschenko but after coming through such a demoralising period of his life, his father and trainer, Peter, was pleased with what he saw.

“I was happy to see him back out there but I was happy with the performance after three years out. I got exactly what I was after. We had a guy who was always in the fight. He had to think for three minutes of every round and the guy [Dovbyschenko] was trying. He had to take punches, block up and he tried a bit of everything,” Peter Fury told Boxing Now.

“He was accurate and he was letting his shots go nicely. Under the circumstances he did very well. He had a lot to deal with getting in there. He’s still a young man and he’s a heavyweight with a lot of ambition. Sometimes you can want things so bad that you put unnecessary pressure on.”

Fury isn’t the type of trainer to rush his fighters and although the heavyweight division is currently more vibrant than it has been for years, he isn’t going to start touting Hughie’s name about for a big fight just yet.

Fury is well aware that they are just at the start of the rebuilding process and feels that the six rounds with Dovbyschenko provide them with the ideal platform to build on. Hughie will box again in Cardiff on May 11 on the undercard of the world welterweight title fight between Jessica McCaskill and Lauren Price and Fury is hoping that he can carry the momentum he built up during this training camp into his next fight.

“In the corner – I think after the second round – he said, ‘My legs feel like lead.’ That’s just nervous energy. That’s three years being out. I said, ‘Welcome back.’

“Next time, we’ll have no nervous energy. He’s boxing in three weeks. He’ll reflect on what he’s done and then he’ll be able to do things a lot better. He’s got nothing to learn but it’s the three years out,” Fury said.

“I tell things as they are. People know who he’s been sparring. It’s only been the last three weeks he started to turn the corner in sparring because he couldn’t get his shots off. When he first started back sparring he was pretty terrible to be honest. He’s been that long out. He’s had three weeks of good sparring with Soloman Dacres. You can see that inactivity is Kryptonite, especially for heavyweight.”

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