Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fury vs Usyk – who wins? Expert predictions ahead of undisputed heavyweight world title clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk

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Experts, fighters and pundits have their say ahead of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Fury and Usyk will meet in a winner-takes-all clash in a bid to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999, with coverage under way from 4pm on Saturday before main event ring walks from 11pm, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Carl Frampton (Former two-weight world champion)

“I fancy Fury. My mind hasn’t really swayed from start to finish, which is strange in a fight of this magnitude. I’ve been saying Fury from the start.

“I think Fury is in the zone now. He’s serious. He’s ready to fight.

“Both guys seems to be very, very confident. Both I think know it’s going to be a difficult fight. Massive. Massive, massive fight.”

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Fury refuses to face-off with Usyk ahead of their huge undisputed heavyweight title clash

Jai Opetaia (Unbeaten former IBF champion)

“I feel like this fight we’re going to see a version of Fury that we haven’t seen for a long time. A hungry Fury. A Fury that can be beat if he doesn’t perform well, and he knows that.

“So I feel like he’s going to be preparing the best he’s prepared in a long time to win this fight. He was confident he was going to win those last couple of fights.

“He knew his boxing IQ was better than a lot of those fighters that he’s been fighting. He relied on that. This one, he can’t rely on that natural ability, he needs to put in the hard work as well, and I feel like we’re going to see that.

“He proves himself time and time again, people keep underestimating him and he keeps proving them all wrong.

“So I’m very excited to watch this fight.”

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Legendary promotor Bob Arum makes his prediction on Fury vs Usyk and reflects on some of the most memorable moments in his career

Claressa Shields (Three-division women’s world champion)

“Usyk has to be one of the best heavyweights that I’ve seen, he beat Anthony Joshua twice. Tyson Fury is a man to be reckoned with. He beat Deontay Wilder three times, and is very gritty, very tall, very big, very skilled.

“It’s going to be very, very close, and it’s gonna come down to conditioning, focus and who can avoid the shots better. AJ was able to hurt Usyk but I wonder if Tyson will be able to hurt Usyk.

“I think that Tyson Fury has a different mentality than AJ and he’s going to come and lay that big body on Usyk and Usyk will have to use his skills he has coming from cruiserweight to see how he’ll deal with that.

“I think it’s going to be a hell of a fight. It’s the undisputed championship in the heavyweight division. We haven’t had one in 20-plus years.

“I look forward to seeing it and I think that it’s going to be a split decision for either guy. I don’t think nobody’s going to get knocked out or hurt or anything.

“I love Tyson Fury and he knows that, but I think Usyk will come out on top in a split decision, especially if it goes all the way because Usyk does know how to win the rounds.”

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Fury and Usyk deliver their final messages to one another

Agit Kabayel (Unbeaten former European heavyweight champion)

“[Fury’s] mentality is better. He is focused. He will win the fight. He will beat Usyk. He has good focus.

“He has long arms, he is tall, he is intelligent. He has everything. He works with the brain.

“This fight’s very close. He is really good at boxing, Oleksandr Usyk, but in my heart I think Fury wins the fight, on points. I hate predictions but I will say this.”

Joe Cordina (IBF super-featherweight world champion)

“Fury, eight to 12, stoppage. He’ll struggle with the footwork of Usyk for the first half, and then he’ll just think, ‘I’ve got to get on it now’, and the weight – the size – will all come into play, and if you’ve seen what [Daniel] Dubois did, body shot-wise to Usyk… Yeah it was on the belt, but, like someone said before, Floyd Mayweather did that for years and years, hit on the belt. What’s the difference?”

Lauren Price (WBA welterweight world champion)

“Fury obviously he’s massive and a great champion, but I can’t go against Usyk. He’s phenomenal, his ring IQ, everything really. Usyk by decision.”

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Usyk was tight-lipped on what his approach for Fury would be, but did reveal he has a great plan!

Andy Clarke (Sky Sports Boxing expert)

“It’s different to undisputed heavyweight contests of the past. For the reason that in heavyweight boxing, you do often get early finishes and the knockout can really come in one of two ways.

“Generally speaking, when you break it down, either you get hit with one you don’t really see, you’re not really braced for and it can be a single shot. And if that happens, anyone can go. Everybody tells you that, everyone agrees on that.

“Or you get more of a fatigue knockout where it’s deep in a fight, energy levels are low and one fighter catches the other and neither has really got anything left and that one clean shot is enough.

“With these two, I just do not see that first kind of knockout. I think they’re too alert and too aware to get caught with something that big that early that they don’t see. A late stoppage is not out of the question, but we may well be looking at a full-distance, quite technical fight and one that will come down to really fine margins.”

Malik Scott (Deontay Wilder’s trainer)

“In terms of winner, I would go with Usyk but, at the same time, Fury is big and knows how to use his size.

“Fury is in better shape than I thought he would be. He’s not slow, he has good punching power and a good boxing mind. It’s a good fight on paper. But we’ll see what happens.

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Usyk’s camp jokingly say Fury could be in an underwear advert and believe he is too skinny

Eddie Hearn (Anthony Joshua promoter)

“What Usyk does so well is adapts, you have to have multiple game plans against Oleksandr Usyk because he can change it up at any time. He can box off the back foot, he can box in a ring within the ring, he can put pressure on you, he can be a volume puncher, he can move, he’s got everything.

“I’ve always got it wrong when I’ve picked what Tyson Fury is going to do. In the second fight against Deontay Wilder he said he would go on the front foot and walk him down, that was madness, he did it and it was beautiful tactics.

“I think in this fight with the weight he’s going to try and box and move a bit like he did with Klitschko. By doing that he’s going to let Usyk walk him down, throw those volume punches and win rounds, you can’t just win rounds by flinging out the jab and holding and pot-shotting.

“Fury might have to change his game plan during the fight. Two great tacticians, two great ring IQs in there, but really difficult to overcome Usyk mentally.

“In there on the night, I remember Tony Bellew saying that he just exhausts you with his pressure and his feet, the way you’re always thinking ‘what’s he going to do next?’.”

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Usyk was floored by a punch from Daniel Dubois that was controversially ruled as a low blow during the Ukrainian’s hotly-disputed points win over the British heavyweight

Mairis Briedis (Former IBF champion)

“Tyson Fury is an extraordinary fighter. It won’t be an easy fight. I think it will be very tense.

“I think Usyk is a very hard worker and he’s prepared very hard for this fight. Like the first time against Joshua he prepared for eight months.

“My prediction is bending 70 per cent to Usyk.”

Fabio Wardley (British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion)

“I think both of them are coming off questionable performances previously, which have raised a lot of doubts on either side. So who’s the favourite? Really? I don’t know.

“I think in terms of favourite, I think in terms of people that I’ve spoken to, within the industry, I think a lot of people are edging towards Usyk. More so mentality based, I think he’s more focused on the task at hand, focused on the job and is more dedicated towards the task at hand.”

Mahmoud Charr (Heavyweight contender)

“Fury is big. He’s fast, he can move. Usyk is small, strong and will try to catch at mid-range. Fury has to fight him from distance. Long, jab out. Make him tired. Put his weight on him and then round seven, eight try to catch a mistake from Usyk and knock him out. I think rounds eight, nine, 10, this is Fury’s show. Maybe, but he has to catch him from one mistake.

“So for me this fight is 50/50.”

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Back in 2011 Fury was floored with a big right hand by Neven Pajkic and showed his incredible recovery skills for the first time

Amir Khan (Former world champion)

“It’s a massive fight for boxing and for the heavyweight division. I just lean more towards Tyson in this fight. As we get closer to the fight I feel like Tyson might be a little bit too thin.

“We know Fury can fight on his back foot but we just don’t know what to expect. The fighters that they’ve beaten to come to this level and have this fight is amazing, so let’s see.

“I’m going to stick with Fury to win the fight. But there could be a few scares in the fight.”

Big Mo (Boxxer Ring Announcer)

“Usually I give the size factor a lot of weight. I had the same argument with Fury versus Deontay Wilder because Fury was 50/60lbs heavier than Wilder, very similar to this. But I’ve learned not to back against Usyk. I did the first time against AJ, so I’ve learned not to bet against him.

“Usyk is one of the best in the world, if not the best. It’s going to be a close fight.”

It’s one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight championship on Saturday May 18, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book the fight now.

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