‘No Matter What, On Fight Night Fury Will Get The Job Done’

Boxing Scene

Riyadh – Tyson Fury is “levels ahead” of everyone Jordan Thompson has ever sparred – Oleksandr Usyk included.

The WBC heavyweight champion on Saturday fights his leading rival for the undisputed title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and does so aware that it could prove his defining night.

When he makes his way to the ring Thompson – who sparred Usyk before the finest victory of his career as a cruiserweight, over Russia’s Murat Gassiev in 2018, and Fury before his two victories over Deontay Wilder in 2020 and 2021 – will be watching with a particularly keen eye.

On the undercard at the Kingdom Arena, his former opponent Jai Opetaia defends his IBF cruiserweight title against Mairis Briedis.

However Thompson, who developed a close bond with his fellow Briton Fury, will be following what is likely to be the most significant fight of 2024 with the belief that the “very, very adaptable” 35 year old will find a way to win.

“Fury can get you to do what he wants you to do,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty special. It’s pretty special. There’s a method to everything, and he’s very, very adaptable. He’ll adapt to what’s in front of him – we’ve seen that in his fights. The flip-reverse of what he did to Wilder in the second and third fights. Very adaptable. Usyk, we’ve always seen he’s a phenomenal, phenomenal tactician and technical boxer, but with Fury, whatever’s put in front of him he’ll adapt to it, and he’ll come up with something to get the win. He’s levels ahead of everyone I’ve been in the ring with, for sure.

“He’s just that guy. He’s that guy. Fury’s that guy where, no matter what, on fight night he’ll get the job done. He’ll turn up on fight night and get the job done, no matter what. No matter what he’s going through; how he feels; he’ll get the job done. He’s 6ft 9ins; 20-odd stone; to move the way he does; his reactions; his hand speed at that size; his foot speed at that size… It’s second to none, and that’s why a lot of people speak about him and Usyk. They’ve got a lot of similarities in terms of the ring IQ; they’re smart; very relaxed; very composed; their footwork; the hit-and-not-get-hit. So it comes down to a good big’un always beats a good little’un.”

Usyk, at 37, is two years Fury’s senior, and yet it is Fury – partly on account of two of his three fights with the heavy-handed Wilder proving so punishing – who appears in decline. 

“Vegas was the first camp for the second Wilder fight, then we sparred one little camp, when he was supposed to be fighting [Agit] Kabayel, and then there was the third fight with Wilder – we sparred him in Morecambe as well,” Thompson continued. “We spent a lot of time – we were up there about four, five weeks. Then we were in Vegas for about six weeks. Then two weeks in Morecambe the other time for Kabayel. Hundreds of rounds with Tyson. Plenty of time when he was with ‘Sugar’ as well – a lot of advice from Sugahill [Steward, Fury’s trainer]. Then Andy Lee came along as well. I met [Fury’s assistant trainer] Andy Lee in Vegas – it’s a special team. He’s got a hell of a family as well – his brothers are special people. They’re real good people. Fighting family; fighting men. Good guys.

“He went over and above. He even give us a car, so we had a car in Vegas, and he put us up in a real nice spot in Vegas. When we were in Morecambe he give us his own car to drive around in – not the Ferrari, unfortunately. He was always checking in; making sure we had enough money and that for food. He’d always let us use the gym if we ever wanted to use the gym; always give a hand and advice and speak to us about sparring; he even let us train with the coaches. It was like you were part of the camp – it’s not like you were just a sparring partner. You were part of the camp – it was invaluable experience. 

“When he’s giving you advice as well it’s not just someone who gives you small talk – he’s picking it apart; he’s going into detail; he actually cares. He’s even kept in contact since then; he’d pop up every now and again; check in before and after a fight. He’s a good individual. I’ve got a lot of time and a lot of respect for Tyson and the team.

“Tyson, flipping heck – special guy, man. He’s special. If you’re in a camp with Fury, he treats you like you’re one of his own. He’s a special, special man. He really done a lot for me as an individual, and as a boxer. We had some conversations – he gave me some really good advice. He really goes over and above for his sparring partners. I haven’t got enough good things to say about him, in all honesty.

“We had loads of conversations – loads of advice – but there was one conversation where he pulled me to the side after a spar I did, and [recently] that conversation’s been bouncing around my head a little bit.” 

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