Thursday, June 13, 2024

Johnny Nelson: Tyson Fury will beat Oleksandr Usyk if he turns up at his best

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Former world cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson believes Tyson Fury at his best beats Oleksandr Usyk but is unsure what version of the British heavyweight will turn up on Saturday.

Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated clash in Riyadh will make either Fury or Usyk the first undisputed champion of the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis held the title back in 1999.

It was originally slated for February 17 but had to be pushed back three months after Fury sustained a cut to his right eye in sparring amid speculation the ‘Gypsy King’ had not enjoyed a productive training camp.

However, the two best in the blue-riband division will finally fight this weekend and all eyes will be watching to see if Fury can roll back the years to produce the type of devastating display which dethroned Deontay Wilder or if the 35-year-old will be as sluggish as he was in his narrow victory over boxing novice Francis Ngannou back in October.

“If he is the fighter he was when he had his last vintage performance against Wilder then Tyson Fury will beat Oleksandr Usyk, but that was 2020 and 2021,” long-time Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Nelson told the PA news agency.

“It was quite a while ago. So, now you’ve got to think to yourself ‘what has he got’?

“The fights in between, you look at the calibre of opponent, how he had to fight, how he got rid of them and how he won. Now he is up against an elite fighter.

“So, it’s a case of what Tyson Fury shows up?”

Nelson, who will be part of Sky Sports’ punditry team for the fight, believes the three-month delay will have worked in Fury’s favour.

But he did provide a potential warning for the WBC champion over his physical condition if the Briton was to come in “shockingly light” for the Kingdom Arena bout.

“It is better for Tyson now that he’s had a second crack at the whip and probably more detrimental to Usyk because Usyk had been in training camp, training hard. You can always undertrain but if you overtrain that is the worst because you have nothing left to give,” Nelson admitted.

“Usyk’s skill, boxing brain and calmness has got him the success he has had and his technique. Tyson’s skill, technique, his size and his understanding of mental welfare and physical welfare has got him here.

“I see images of Tyson looking really trim and he looks in great condition. I don’t know what he will weigh but if he comes in light and I mean shockingly light, it tells me he is going in there to box.

“And I don’t think he will out box Usyk. I think Usyk will out box him because Tyson has taken away some of his armoury. It is great that he is in great condition but I hope he hasn’t come in light because he will make it easier for Usyk.”

Nelson was speaking after it was revealed Prostate Cancer UK had teamed up with dream house prize draw OMAZE. The company will donate a minimum of £1million to help fund the first ever UK screening programme for prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Johnny Nelson (Prostate Cancer UK/Handout)

Prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men in the UK and one in four if you are black, has impacted Nelson’s own family.

“My Dad was diagnosed a few years now and they’ve tried to stay on top of it with treatment, but it is scary,” Nelson reflected.

“It is scary because it is something we as men choose to be so blind to and only because of whatever stigma is attached to it.

“We need to get it out and talk about it, get people to discuss it.”

Johnny Nelson is an Ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK and is promoting the Omaze Million Pound House Draw, Surrey – a new prize draw raising vital funds for lifesaving research. Enter now at https://omaze.co.uk/pages/enter-surrey

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