Posted on 09/29/2023
By: Sean Crose
WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk have signed a contract to fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship in Saudi Arabia. The news virtually promises that a true king of the heavyweight division will finally emerge. That hasn’t happened since Lennox Lewis dominated the division decades ago. Suffice to say, it’s been a long time coming. In the meantime, Fury will be battling former UFC great Francis Ngannou later this October in a bout he’s widely expected to win handily (though one never knows in the sport of boxing).
What will make a Fury-Usyk fight interesting, aside from the fact that it will be for undisputed, is the fact that it’s hard to tell how it might actually play out in the ring. The towering Fury is an extremely skilled boxer. He can be slippery – as he was when he won his first world title off of Wladimir Klitschko – or he can be aggressive and hard hitting – as he was twice against former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder. The man has been knocked down several times throughout his career, however. Wilder may never have beaten Fury, but he’s dropped the fighter known as The “Gypsy King” repeatedly throughout the course of their three matches. Likewise, Steven Cunningham – a blown up cruiserweight – was able to send Fury to the mat when they fought years ago.
As for Usyk, the man is a walking, talking skill set. As he’s shown in two fights against former WBA, IBF and WBO titlist Anthony Joshua, he is a master at the art of hitting while not getting hit. He’s also considerably shorter than Fury, which may make it harder for Fury to land as he wishes to. With that in mind, Fury is nothing if not a hard man to beat. When applying offense, for instance, he can literally smother his opponents against the ropes. Slick though he can be, can Usyk avoid such a draining and stifling strategy? It’s difficult to tell, really, which is why this fight is of particular interest to fans.
“This is the biggest fight that could possibly be made in our sport,” Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, stated on social media Friday. “Ready to Fight!” Usyk himself stated on social media a short time later. Needless to say, the news of Fury-Usyk is serving to top off a generally excellent year for the sport. Hopefully the trend of the best fighting the best will continue.