News March 2018

British Champion Sam Sexton talks Hughie Fury clash & gives HW predictions


By Michael J Jones

THE BRITISH heavyweight scene is absolutely buzzing at the moment and is set to seriously catch fire in the next two months as a series of explosive clashes take place on UK soil. Dillian Whyte vs Lucas Browne is coming later this evening while one week after is the big unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. On the latter bill, former British champion David Price looks to cause an upset against Russian puncher Alexander Povetkin while into May we have the belated rematch between Tony Bellew and David “Hayemaker” Haye.

Just after the last said contest is another intriguing title fight when reigning British heavyweight champion Sam Sexton faces once-beaten Hughie Fury in a dangerous first defence of the title he lifted last October. Facing the younger, bigger Gary Cornish on away turf in Edinburgh, Sexton overcame a few rocky moments to pound out a deserved unanimous decision to finally become domestic champion at his third attempt.

Now 24-3 (9) it appears for the first time in years, Sexton is out of the fistic wilderness as the British champion after a solid victory on the road. Many have him as a hefty underdog against the 20-1 (10) Fury but Sexton has experience on his side and is already talking a very good and confident fight which is set to be shown live and exclusive on May 12th on Ch5.

“I welcomed the Hughie Fury fight as it was probably the biggest fight out there for me to take” the 33 year old British champion tells Livefight. “There was plenty of domestic options but many were unappealing to me. Hughie Fury is respected, highly ranked and, as this fight is on TV, there will be plenty of viewers tuning in.”

The intriguing contest, promoted by Hennessey Sports, sees the 23 year old Fury try to bounce back from a disappointing challenge to WBO champion Joseph Parker last September. Fury tried to box Parker at range but the aggressive champion kept the pressure on all night as styles clashed horribly at times.

Parker won the Manchester clash 118-110 on two cards while the third judge scored a draw making it a majority decision. Fury made big waves when he turned pro, fighting regularly and impressing but in the last two years hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise and will be desperate to beat Sexton on May 12th.

“Hughie Fury is a good fighter and I respect him” comments Sexton. “He’s very awkward and uses his height and reach to good effect. He’s 23-years-old so he’s going to be around for a while and is only going to improve.”

“He had a bad night against Parker, it was a negative fight and Parker basically chased him down. His team will be wanting to make an example of me and beat me but I also think they are all seriously under-estimating what I bring to the table.”

Fury will be the younger, fresher and bigger man on the night but the same could also be said about Scot Gary Cornish who Sexton beat last year. Although it wasn’t his finest performance it’s worth noting the Norwich man was trying to shrug off fifteen months inactivity the night he stepped into the ring for Cornish.

“One cliché I hate in boxing is ‘you’re only as good as your last fight’. I hate that saying, its total crap and I don’t understand why people say it all of the time. My last fight I wasn’t at my best, I had over a year out before the fight. I watched it back and my timing, distance and everything was off. I feel if I’d have fought a warm-up before that I could well have stopped Gary Cornish that night but a win is a win. I’m expecting to be way better in every department for this next fight.”

After turning pro in 2005, Sexton won heavyweight Prizefighter in 2008 and went on to dazzle when winning the Southern Area and Commonwealth titles. His good run was halted by Dereck Chisora who repeated an earlier victory over Sexton in the Norwich puncher’s first try at the British title.

Two years later Liverpool’s big-punching David Price stopped Sam in four rounds in his second try at the title. Isolated from his heavyweight rivals by politics and disappointment, Sexton reeled off eight consecutive victories on small hall shows but had to wait five long years for his next title chance.

“I was very close to retiring if I’m honest” reveals the 6’2” British ruler. “There were even people in my hometown who thought I was retired and I did think for a while it just wasn’t meant to be. You box on small shows and you start to think that’s your level but, since becoming champion, I feel like I’m training like a champion and I’m going to be the best I’ve ever been for Hughie Fury.”

“I know they see me as little more than a stepping stone but I really am very confident of beating Hughie Fury.”

“Fury actually turned pro on one of my undercards in Norwich. I never met him then but people I know did speak with him and they all said he’s a genuine nice bloke and as far as I’m concerned there doesn’t have to be any trash-talking for this fight…though that might change nearer the fight!”

While Fury, younger cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson, was hesitant and negative against Parker, talk in camp suggests Hughie will be more front-footed and aggressive against the smaller Sexton come May 12th in Bolton.

“I’ve heard he may be trying to be more aggressive but I’m not paying much attention to that really. I can’t see him radically changing his style and I’ll just see what he does on the night and take it from there. I’ve had problems and distractions all through my career and now I haven’t got the same things going on I can just train hard and look forward to the fight.”

While the British champion looks towards his own heavyweight clash, Livefight asks for his predictions for the other big fights occurring over the next couple of months starting with this weekend’s slugfest between Dillian Whyte and Aussie puncher Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne.

“I think Dillian Whyte has the advantage as he’s younger, been more active and is fighting at home (at the O2 Arena). I don’t think it’ll go early either way but I think probably Whyte will nick a decision.”

“David Price against Alexander Povetkin (on the Joshua undercard), is an interesting one. Many are writing David off and, on paper, you have to fancy Povetkin who I do rate as he’s a vicious fighter. Price has some serious power though and he could just go for broke as he’ll know it’s sink or swim for his career now and it’s all on the line. It’s not an easy pick but I still lean towards Povetkin.”

Main event on March 31st is the mouth-watering heavyweight clash between IBF, IBO and WBA Super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and WBO rival Joseph Parker. While many are warming to a Parker upset as the fight draws nearer, Sexton is clear as to who will prevail in Cardiff.

“I know Parker has a good chin but I can’t look past Joshua winning the fight. It will be competitive, but I think Joshua will get to Parker after midway and stop him at some point.”

As a heavyweight outcast between 2012 and 2016, Sexton was virtually ignored by all of his rivals as he struggled to land a meaningful fight, but now as a British champion, many have changed their tune about a potential match against Sexton. Two men making some noise on UK shores are former amateur stars Joe Joyce and 20 year old power-puncher Daniel Dubois. Joyce has just scored his third straight KO while Dubois is currently 7-0 (7).

“I’ve seen both fight and they are looking pretty good but, for me, the jury will be out until they are matched against someone who fancies the job and will try to win. It was the same with Joshua when he turned pro. He stepped up and proved to be the goods and it will be the same when Dubois and Joyce step up.”

“I think some of the comments that come out are more from the promoters than the fighters (Joyce is promoted by David Haye), but we’ll see how they get on when the pressure is on. I watched Joyce fight his debut against Ian Lewison and he looked OK but I think Lewison made it easy for him a bit.”

Final thoughts on his fight with Hughie Fury?

“I’m 33 now and this is my time. I have finally become the British champion and I plan on keeping my belt come May 12th. I can’t afford any more slip ups I have to do all I can now starting by beating Hughie Fury on May 12th. I’m training harder than ever and I’ll be stronger, fitter and more focused than ever for Hughie Fury.”

Newsletters Signup