Last night was a great one for boxing fans. One of the fun fights that took place on Saturday evening was the IBF title eliminator between Hughie Fury and Kubrat Pulev. Hughie was stoic and serious en route to the ring, Pulev is a big test. That clearly was not lost on the British champion.

The walkouts included two contrasting pan pipe anthems. That was a nice dramatic touch, very atmospheric. For Hughie, it was the Braveheart soundtrack, the sounds of the hills. Pulev’s walkout had a different flavor, the eastern inflections of his heritage.

Pulev looked formidable as he proceeded to the ring; Hughie has the polar opposite image to the severe looking Bulgarian. It may be a cliche, but this is very Rocky IV. Round one began with Fury working the jab to set up the right hand. Pulev worked a similar stance to his former foe, Klitschko. The first stanza began to heat up, just in time for the bell.

A tense moment occurred in the beginning of round 2, a turning point of the fight. An old cut above Hughie’s right eye reopened. His eye was a pink mess and the moment intensified with shots of an animated crowd and concerned corner-men.

In response to the threat of doctor’s stoppage, Hughie came out for round three like a twice kicked cat. Pulev started to capitalize on Fury’s desperation in round four but Hughie returned with vigour. The curtain call shot of Hughie’s British title win began to show. However, it did not have enough power on it to put a dent in the Bulgarian.

Pulev began to find his mark in round 5 and smiled through a barrage in round eight. He had Hughie badly hurt in the ninth and a case could be made for the fight to be stopped. Pulev drew the ire of fans when he withdrew from the Anthony Joshua fight but proved to be no pushover in this bout.

Perhaps Hughie Fury was not ready for the world stage after-all but it was a gutsy performance. Fury took his lashings, paid his dues. Braveheart indeed.