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Perspective

Predictions: Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk

The gypsy king, approaching the twilight of what has been an illustrious career, will finally face off with his Ukrainian opponent in a clash for the vacant undisputed heavyweight championship, live from Saudi Arabia.

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HeavyweightBoxing.com

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (May 14, 2024) - Lineal champion Tyson Fury returns to the ring this weekend in his long-awaited  bout with unified champion Oleksandr Usyk. The gypsy king, approaching the twilight of what has been an illustrious career, will finally face off with his Ukrainian opponent in a  clash for the vacant undisputed heavyweight championship, live from Saudi Arabia.

Will Tyson Fury's size and skill be too much for Oleksandr Usyk on May 18th?

The fight was due to take place over Christmas last year but an injury Fury sustained in sparring, alongside some personal clashes in the build-up to this bout has fans really excited for the action to commence.

Where and when?

The fight will take place on Saturday May 18th at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This is the same venue where Fury participated in a curious event with a non-boxer under dubious circumstances. At the same time, Usyk is also familiar within the kingdom, as he forced this fight by defending his unified title against Anthony Joshua on Saudi soil in their rematch and looks forward to cementing his position at the very top of the world heavyweight rankings. The main event of the evening starts at around 11 pm in the UK, 4pm EST with coverage of the undercard beginning a few hours earlier.

Full card

Jai Opetaia -500 vs. Mairis Briedis +350, vacant IBF cruiserweight championship
Joe Cordina (c) -450 vs. Anthony Cacace +350, IBF super featherweight championship
Agit Kabayel vs. Frank Sanchez, heavyweights
Mark Chamberlain vs. Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab, lightweights
Sergey Kovalev vs. Robin Sirwan Safar, light heavyweights
Isaac Lowe vs. Hasibullah Ahmadi, featherweights
David Nyika vs. Michael Seitz, cruiserweights
Moses Itauma vs. Ilja Mezencev, heavyweights

Previous form

Fury’s 'win' over Nganou was certainly a controversial one as many believed the event was shrouded in mystery. While Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion since 2015, has remained dominant in the ring since his time away and is usually able to dictate the pace of his title defences. However, in the event in question he appeared to never really get going and looked lethargic. However, the 6 feet 9 inch tall enigma will have the upper hand in terms of stature against Usyk and will be able to use his reach to keep the smaller man at bay.

As for Usyk, his professional record sits at 24 fights with 24 wins, 0 draws, and 0 losses, with 14 victories by knockout. The Ukrainian might be the underdog as far as the odds from popular sports betting sites are concerned, but having beaten the likes of Anthony Joshua and more recently Daniel Dubois, he has demonstrated that he has a solid shot at becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion in almost 25 years.

Fight build-up

The Fury family have added fuel to the fire in this one when Tyson’s father, the infamous John Fury, got himself mixed up with Usyk’s training team. The 59-year-old was later seen with a cut forehead and covered in blood after it looks like he was headbutted after provoking one of Usyk’s trainers, although John Fury believes Tyson was being disrespected.

“They were disrespecting my son, the best ever heavyweight to wear a pair of boxing gloves. Coming out with all that rubbish, in my face, trying to be clever.

“Sincere apologies to everybody involved,” Fury added. “It’s just the way we are. Emotions and tensions are running high. He was a very disrespectful fella.

“If you come close in a fighting man’s space, you’re gonna cop for something.

“What matters to me is respect for my son and he wasn’t showing any of it. He mentioned my son and that was it, so he had to have it. It doesn’t bother me [bleeding], it’s what we live for, we’re fighting people. That’s a regular occurrence to me.”

Prediction:

Usyk has clearly demonstrated that he is more than capable of mixing with the top heavyweights, but even with his huge momentum heading into this fight, the sheer size difference might be too much for the Ukrainian to overcome. Despite standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall himself, Fury is a exceptionally large for a heavyweight and deceptively quick for a man of his size.

With that said, there is every chance he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and disrupt the Gypsy Kings flow. Many of Fury's flaws appeared to have been exposed in the "Battle of the Baddest" event and Usyk's team would have been watching, despite the events' novelty arrangements. They are craftsmen and that attention to detail could well prove the difference when it comes to whose hand is raised. However, we think Fury will have enough in the tank whether he earns the knockout, or more realistically, the fight goes the full 12 rounds and he gets the decision.

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