TYSON FURY: “BEATING USYK NOW PUTS ME NO. 1 STATUS OF ALL TIME.”

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By: Sean Crose

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk showed up for public workouts Wednesday in Saudi Arabia on the eve of Saturday’s undisputed heavyweight title fight. Usyk looked to be in terrific shape, which came as a surprise to absolutely no one since the man has always presented himself as a consummate professional. As for Fury, while he’ll probably never have a washboard stomach, there was no doubt on Wednesday that the Englishman looked leaner than he had in ages. Could it be that Fury, who often feigns indifference to the fight game, is mentally and physically prepared for the fight of his life this weekend against Usyk? Chances are, he is.

“I think he’s the best opponent I’ve ever faced,” Fury has said of Usyk to DAZN, “because I’ve fought world heavyweight champions before.” Fury went on to admit that he’s entering new territory come Saturday night. “I’ve fought undefeated people before,” he said. “I’ve fought Olympic gold medals before, but I’ve never fought a two-weight world champion before.” Fury, it seems, is willing to admit he’s facing the biggest challenge of his life in Usyk. And indeed, Usyk is about as high end an opponent as Fury will have faced. Looking over Fury’s 34-0-1 career, that’s saying something.

“Beating Usyk now puts me No. 1 status of all time,” Fury said. Bold words, to say the least. Then again, Fury is known to say all sorts of things. How many times, for instance, has the man said he’s retired or retiring? Still, it’s clear the fighter known as “The Gypsy King” is aware of just how significant this fight and this opponent is. Usyk has defeated Fury’s fellow Brit Anthony Joshua, after all, while Fury himself has bested hard hitting American Deontay Wilder twice. That means it’s going to be hard to argue the winner of Saturday’s fight won’t be sitting firmly atop the heavyweight mountain.

Despite how he may come across at times, Fury would obviously love to have the words “undisputed heavyweight champion” appear next to his name. What fighter wouldn’t? Indeed, there hasn’t been an undisputed titlist in the big man’s division since the reign of Lennox Lewis – something that adds even more gravitas to the elusive title of “undisputed.” That’s something Fury is well aware of, which is why he’s looking in the shape he is in the leadup to Saturday’s fight.

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