By Chris Williamson
Hughie Fury warmed up for a scheduled WBO heavyweight title challenge in September with a useful six round exhibition contest against Devon based Pole Kamil Sokolowski (4-10-2) here at London's Copper Box Arena.
Promoter Frank Warren explained that the WBO wouldn't allow a competitive contest for Fury ahead of the mandatory challenge to Joseph Parker, a match postponed from May 6th in New Zealand due to a claimed back injury suffered by Fury.
Hughie, younger cousin of linear world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, last boxed here at the Copper Box with a ten round decision against Fred Kassi back in April 2016, so this proved a useful exercise in shedding ring rust.
Fury (20-0) looked heavier than against Kassi albeit in good shape and looked comfortable switch hitting and doubling up the jab from both stances. The skin problem which has caused Fury so many problems appears much improved and father and trainer Peter seemed satisfied with the rust shedding exercise.
It was a good natured workout with the two embracing after each round and surely no coincidence that the Pole is a similar height and build to the champion Parker. Parker was scheduled to attend but wasn’t visible at the afternoon workout. As an exhibition bout the fight was not scored.
Earlier on the off-television part of the card, Kent’s wildly popular Sean Phillips debuted at super middleweight with an unexpectedly thrilling draw with Wiltshire based German Anthony Fox. The referee controversially scored a knockdown against the debutant in the first when the two appeared tangled up. Phillips has a neat orthodox style rallied back in the remaining three rounds to bloody and batter a game Fo with accurate jabs and right hands. Fox hasn't won since his debut last year, drops to 1-9-3 and although he’s very courageous his moniker of "the matador" might be a contender for least appropriate of all time. The referee scored it 39-39.
JD Smith made his debut in a winning effort against Devon based Spaniard Christian Hoskin Gomez (now 5-24-4) at middleweight. The referee scored it 39-38.
Sanjeev Sahota moved to 8-0 with a routine win over Croatian journeyman Luka Leskovic (now 5-18-1). Hornchurch’s Sahota has gone life and death at this level recently but Leskovic offered very little and largely came to survive. Sahota’s body attack hurt the Croat who was holding and spoiling in the fourth and final round. The referee scored 40-36.