History in the making as two boxing champs who have 'never, ever ...

30 days ago

'Now, how rare is that?': Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk finally together for a fight that will happen deep into Sunday morning in Saudi Arabia to reach a Western audience on Saturday

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 1
Photo National Post

Author of the article:

The Associated Press

Greg Beacham

Published May 18, 2024  •  Last updated 5 hours ago  •  3 minute read

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk face off after weighing in ahead of the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO heavyweight titles' fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk during the Ring Of Fire Official weigh-in at BLVD City - Music World on May 17, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Richard Pelham /Getty Images

After Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk finally meet in the ring this weekend, boxing should have its first undisputed heavyweight champion in nearly a quarter-century.

These are the two best fighters from a strong era of heavyweight boxing. Both have reached their mid-30s still undefeated, and both are determined to reach the pinnacle of their careers by winning every major title belt in their division – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Lennox Lewis did it in 1999.

THIS CONTENT IS RESERVED FOR SUBSCRIBERS

Enjoy the latest local, national and international news.

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 2
Photo National Post
Exclusive articles by Conrad Black, Barbara Kay, Rex Murphy and others. Plus, special edition NP Platformed and First Reading newsletters and virtual events.Unlimited online access to National Post and 15 news sites with one account.National Post ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition to view on any device, share and comment on.Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword.Support local journalism.

SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE ARTICLES

Enjoy the latest local, national and international news.

Exclusive articles by Conrad Black, Barbara Kay, Rex Murphy and others. Plus, special edition NP Platformed and First Reading newsletters and virtual events.Unlimited online access to National Post and 15 news sites with one account.National Post ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition to view on any device, share and comment on.Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword.Support local journalism.

REGISTER / SIGN IN TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES

Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience.

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 3
Photo National Post
Access articles from across Canada with one account.Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments.Enjoy additional articles per month.Get email updates from your favourite authors.

Article content

Article content

“Not only will we be crowning the undisputed heavyweight champion, but the two participants in the fight have never, ever lost a fight,” promoter Bob Arum said. “Now, how rare is that?”

Recommended from Editorial

How to watch Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk in Canada

'Unforgettable' video of Auston Matthews 'looking up to the heavens' resurfaces after Keefe fired

Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) has held three of the world’s major titles for nearly three years, while Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) holds the fourth after a career in which he has worn all four championship belts at different points.

They’ve circled a winner-take-all meeting for years – and after false starts, detours and delays, they’re finally together for a fight that will happen deep into Sunday morning in Saudi Arabia to reach a Western audience on Saturday.

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 4
Photo National Post
“I’m ready for a good fight,” Fury said. “And if it’s tough or easy, either way, I’ll be ready.”

The last heavyweight to hold all four major belts was Lewis, who beat Evander Holyfield in 1999 by unanimous decision in Las Vegas. His undisputed reign only lasted about six months, thanks to one of the infinite turf disputes seemingly created whenever sanctioning bodies are involved.

Tyson Fury pose after weighing in ahead of the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO heavyweight titles’ fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk during the Ring Of Fire Official weigh-in at BLVD City – Music World on May 17, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Richard Pelham /Getty Images

The current monumental moment in boxing history is happening at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena, and that’s no coincidence: Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is spending lavish amounts of money to make the world’s top fights, steamrolling the typical grudges and turf disputes between elite boxers and their territorial promoters.

By signing up you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc.

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 5
Photo National Post

Article content

Article content

These fighters’ camps have been at odds for years – Fury’s father head-butted a member of Usyk’s entourage on Monday, leaving John Fury with blood streaming down his face — but money made their grudges go away. Fury reportedly could make $100 million or more in this bout, and a lucrative rematch is highly likely in the fall.

This fight was delayed twice after Fury said he needed more time following his embarrassing performance against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Fury barely got a split decision to beat a mixed martial artist competing in his first professional boxing match, and the effort stoked speculation as to whether Fury is finally headed downhill.

The 6-foot-9 Fury has never possessed a classic prizefighter’s physique, but he looked excessively pudgy when he fought Ngannou, and most observers related his poor conditioning to his overall lack of preparation for the bout.

But Fury showed up in Saudi Arabia to meet Usyk looking noticeably slimmer, and now some are wondering whether he overdid it _ whether he will have the bulk to withstand Usyk’s body work while retaining the strength to respond with his own power shots.

Fury vs Usyk - Figure 6
Photo National Post

Article content

Fury simply laughs at the speculation, trusting his own training and strength to power through any challenge, no matter the measure of his waistline.

Oleksandr Usyk pose after weighing in ahead of the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO heavyweight titles’ fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk during the Ring Of Fire Official weigh-in at BLVD City – Music World on May 17, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Richard Pelham /Getty Images

“(Forget) his belts,” Fury said. “I’m coming for his heart. That’s what I’m coming for.”

This is a fascinating tactical fight: The 6-foot-3 Usyk is smaller than Fury, but the Ukrainian’s work rate and high-level skill have proven insurmountable for nearly all of his opponents. Usyk seems likely to pressure Fury in an attempt to get inside the Briton’s superior wingspan, while Fury is likely to pull out every trick and stratagem in his enormous stockpile to keep Usyk off balance and frustrated.

Both fighters have knockout power, yet both are obviously durable. Fury is motivated to atone for his last performance, while Usyk has a chance to complete his stunning rise from cruiserweight stardom to heavyweight supremacy.

“I’m excited,” Usyk said. “Let’s make history!”

Check out our sports section for the latest news and analysis.

Article content

Read more
Similar news
This week's most popular news