Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk – Who wins and why?
It was announced on September 29 that the WBC and Lineal heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury will finally take on unified WBO/WBA/IBF/IBO/Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk in an epic showdown to crown the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis, 24 years ago in 1999.
The fight will take place at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia as part of the Riyadh Season, on February 17.
BBN asked their panel of experts who they think will win the colossal clash to be crowned undisputed heavyweight king:
Ricky HattonFormer two-weight world champion
“I can't see past Tyson. I can't see him losing against anyone, to be honest with you.
“But Usyk's an Olympic gold medallist, undisputed cruiserweight, heavyweight champion of the world, so if anybody's got a chance of beating Tyson, it's Usyk.
“I just think Fury beats him in all areas. He's taller, he's bigger, he's heavier, he's stronger. He can fight southpaw or orthodox, fight up close, fight at a distance.
“When you think Tyson has the height, the reach, he can box southpaw, orthodox, stand there, sit in there and have fight, he can sit and sway and move and make you miss off the backfoot. He can lean, counterpunch, he does everything Usyk does and he’s got the strength and weight advantage. I can’t see anything other than a Tyson win. But it’s not a foregone conclusion. It’s not beyond the realms of impossibility that Usyk wins.
“Fury has fought your Dillian Whytes, your Deontay Wilders and with no disrespect intended, the big lump heavyweights who can stand there and have it. He is the smaller man but what Tyson needs to do to adapt from his fights with Whyte, Wilder and his fight in Saudi Arabia, all he has fought is big lumps and all of sudden he’s got a smaller man who might be a little bit nippy in and out and probably causes another problem that Tyson might not have been used to for four or five years. I think Tyson wins but the size difference against the smaller man causes problems he might not have had in the last four or five years.
“Usyk has a good chin but I don’t think he’s been hit by someone of the size of Tyson. The main problem Tyson is used to fighting 20 stone heavyweights. It’ll be difficult for Tyson but he’ll prepare properly in the gym, and I think he will have his game plan sorted and win the fight. But if it did go the other way I wouldn’t go ‘wow that is a shock’ but you would have to be brave man to go against Tyson because of all the advantages he has.”
George GrovesFormer World champion
“Usyk wins. I don't think Fury's run of fights serve him well to fight in January, say, because his last time out was Chisora, that was almost like a glorified spar. He's got this fight coming up with a UFC fighter, who knows what your mindset is when you're fighting someone who you know is inferior to you, so has he been training properly? Is he sharp? Has he had the right sparring?”
“Usyk is exceptional at being able to change and adapt. His boxing ability is superior, in my opinion, to everyone else in the heavyweight division. What he lacks in natural size, he makes up for in timing, shot placement, adjustments of feet, tempo and power. It’s Usyk’s hardest fight, and it might be a close fight, but I think I think Usyk wins.”
Mark TibbsBoxing trainer
“Tyson Fury wins for me. Natural heavyweight, but can’t afford to have an off night, both superior boxers. I’ve seen smaller men take care of big men lots of times, but, in this case, size matters.”
Anthony YardeWorld title contender
“Fury-Usyk I think it's very interesting, man. They're both undefeated, so there's no blueprint on how to defeat them as of yet. Someone's 0 has got to go.
“I think Fury's size is going to give anyone problems. Everyone saw the Ngannou fight, which is a madness, but when you're comparing Usyk's and Fury's size, that could play a massive part in this fight.”
Martin Rogan Commonwealth heavyweight champion
"As a former foe of Tyson and having shared the ring with him on many occasions from when he was just 17 years of age, I remember the door opening and I was looking at my eye level, as I am 6ft 3in, and I was shocked to see him duck to enter the club. I was sparring him in the Immaculata Boxing Blub in Belfast when he was trying to get on the Ireland boxing team.
"I remember clearly after the sparring session, sitting on the ringside afterwards, to my suprise, acknowledging how big and strong he was and how he handled it at such a young age. I spoke to him and told him he had the ability to become heavyweight champion of the world and just to stay at it. He had great ability to adapt to my aggressive style, so I was taken aback.
"I then fought him for the Irish title, in 2012, unfortunately it was stopped and it should never have been, but that's another story for another day, feeling hard done by in so many ways, but regardless I pushed him from the first bell and he seemed even bigger than my first encounter with this giant of a man, who completely threw me with his unbelievable skills.
"During the fight, he turned southpaw, so all my sparring with David Howe became pointless, then he was orthodox. Great game plan, waste of my money because I had great preparation with my strength and conditioning coach, Ulster rugby player Steven Bell, but was still no match at that point.
"His punches were hard; I handled them but, by god, I stayed hit for a minute or so. I knew I was going to have a tough night, but I was looking at it as my key to the door for bigger things for myself, as he was the money cow for many.
"I have watched him progress over the years and was called upon to spar him for the second Derek Chisora fight. I knew 'Del Boy' had no chance, and his training with his uncle Peter [Fury] was fantastic.
"He went through some tough mental problems and came back and even in his poor condition was winning tough fights showing true grit against Otto Wallin with nasty cuts, but he has seen them all off. He fights Deontay Wilder and shows again his true grit, still his determination wouldn't fail him.
"People say lots of sh*t about fighters and hurl all sorts of abuse, which I have myself been on the receiving end off for no reason, as has Tyson, but I guess some people have nothing better to do to only abuse fighters, we all get it. He has found it hard, I'm sure, at times, to go on but he did and he had nothing to prove only to get better for himself and his family, and he did, and still is it's a never-ending battle with yourself to stay as human and as normal as can be.
"Usyk is a great fighter; a two-division champion, with great handspeed, great footwork, very well tuned and has great belief in himself. I wish both fighters well in this massive fight.
"In my eyes, Tyson also has great skills, great footwork, great boxer brain, great power and a mindset of 'I'm going to smash you up dosser attitude'. I think no disrespect to Usyk, but this will be over pretty quick in my honest opinion in 4 to 5 rounds. Hope it's longer, but you don't get paid overtime and you can't take chances with a guy like Usyk.
"Tyson is too big, too strong, and when he connects then and only then will Usyk feel what many have felt… pain. Tyson must keep it long and powerful and push him from the first bell and show his superiority.
"I'm looking forward to this fight, I will be rooting for Tyson as he deserves this more than anyone I hope they both leave the ring safely and with great admiration for each other, as all us boxers feel after our encounters.
"Let's get ready to rumble! Been a very long time to see this – all belts on the line – great for boxing, great for real boxing fans, and may the best man win.
"Tyson is a real heavyweight. Sorry Usyk, but you're a great in your own right."
Carl Froch Former two-weight world champion
“It's something we needed – an undisputed heavyweight champion. Fair play to everybody involved. I think Frank Warren has done a fantastic job getting it over the line and I'm really pleased, not only as a fan but for the sport of boxing, and I hope it happens. I'm a bit sceptical that it's going to happen a month or so after the Ngannou fight, but then again it will probably be that easy for Fury to beat Ngannou – he’ll just use it as a sparring session – and then maybe he does go into the Usyk fight straight after.
“I can make a case of Usyk beating Fury, he has the skills and the ability and he's used to fighting bigger guys since he entered the heavyweight division, he's thicker set and he's put a bit of weight on, and he seems to be able to hold his own. But he is getting older and slowing down a little bit, but so is Fury, so he could outbox, outwork, and outskill him.
“Also, is Fury at his best? He puts weight on between fights. He’s carrying a lot of belly fat around, he's got love handles, and if Fury is not firing on all cylinders, and Usyk turns up and puts on a career best performance, Usyk will win, and win comfortably, but I just think it’s going to be taken seriously by both of them – and a good Fury beats a good Usyk in a very close fight and an awkward fight.
“I think Fury nullifies his work and ties him up. I’m not so sure if he gets the stoppage. I just think that the size of Fury will be a problem. I don't think Usyk can make that range up against the 6 '9 Fury.
“Short and sweet, I think Fury's too big for him. My predictions is that Fury knocks him out. He'll hit him with a coupke of uppercuts like he Dillian Whyte and I think that will be fight over.”
Derek ChisoraWorld title contender
“Tyson. He's the bigger guy, longer reach. Just Tyson. This is like a man taking candy out a baby's hand Tyson's gonna win. He's gonna walk through that guy, that's it.
“John Fury said it. If he [Ngannou] throws punches like that, he's going to get crushed. And you know what, Tyson is going to come out now and knock him out, because he has a big fight coming up in December. I just saw Francis Ngannou and Mike Tyson and this so-called trainer (who) put on the protections; I saw the open training session. I hope he’s joking and playing cat and mouse. I hope it's a joke and meant to be funny because if it's not, he doesn't stand a chance. He has no chance of getting out of this. He will not make it out of the first round. This will probably be Tyson's quickest knockout. But you know what ? It has to be kidology, that. It has to be complete games because if that's what he's got, well, God help him, he'll be blown to smithereens. That's all I'm saying, buddy. It's embarassing. If this is what he can do in a public training session, don't bother doing a public training session. It's a shame”
Mike TysonFormer undisputed world heavyweight champion
“Tyson Fury will win. He'll overpower him.
“He [Usyk] is not going to win the titles running. I'm a great fan of Usyk's but he's not going to beat Tyson moving and running, he's going to have to eventually fight.”
Paul StevensonEverton Red Triangle head coach
“I think Fury will have a little too much of everything for Usyk.
“As the old saying goes, ‘A good big ‘un will beat a good little ‘un’.”
Joe JoyceFormer WBO Global heavyweight champion
“This is the fight everyone wants to see, and I thought it was going to happen a lot sooner but then the Francis Ngannou fight came.
“Tyson Fury is taller and has a longer range, but Usyk throws more shots, is more skilful in the southpaw stance and it is a 50/50 fight.
“I’m not sure who will win but there will be a rematch.”
Tim RicksonBBN Editor
“The announcement came as a complete surprise to me. I'm pleased to hear the fight is finally on, but I'll only believe it when I see it.
“I don't think I have ever shifted away from a Tyson Fury win, due to his size and strength. Usyk is a pure boxer, with unrivalled skills and experience, but he has shown a few signs recently that he could be heading for a fall. I thought the body shots from Dubois were low, but he also made a meal of it. In the rematch with Joshua, he was given a hard 12 rounds; he won convincingly, for me, but there were a lot more close rounds than I expected there to be. AJ is a limited fighter, so Usyk should have won the rematch the same way he won the first fight, but Joshua did come back improved.
“Fury is a level above Dubois and AJ, so this could finally be a step too far for the former undisputed cruiserweight champ. Not only is Tyson huge and domineering, but he's also fluid, experienced, and knows every trick in the book. I don't want to disrespect Usyk because I have always been a fan, but I think Fury wins fairly capably against him.
“There will probably be a few early rounds where he has to close him down, slow him up, and get him to become a little more static by leaning on him, sapping his strength, generally bullying him. Usyk will stick and move, but he won't be able to run all night from someone as intelligent as Fury, he will get caught up to. Maybe, he could win the early rounds with that tactic, but he won't be able box that way for 12 rounds with someone like Fury. He will be forced to trade well before it even gets to the middle rounds. But then, if Tyson comes out like he did in the Wilder rematch, then he could finish the fight within six rounds. Usyk's power is more gradual then one-punch KO power. He jabs and peppers your head off all night, wearing opponents down until they break. I don't think his tippy-tappy shots are going to bother Tyson, who has proved he can take the world's hardest punch, and should be able to just wade through Usyk's power to land his own clubbing body shots.
“I think Tyson wins by knockout in the second half of the fight.”
Hasim RahmanFormer world heavyweight champion
“I think Usyk will win.
“I think that Usyk is the best heavyweight that's currently fighting today.
“Everything Fury can do in boxing, Usyk can do better.”
Daniel DuboisWBA Regular heavyweight champion
“I think Fury all the way.
“Usyk is a good fighter, he's a tricky guy, but I feel like Fury has got the experience and has proven himself.”
Luke Campbell MBEWorld title contender
“Very exciting fight, two great fighters in their prime. Boxing needs this, so well done to both fighters for finally making it happen.
“Two different boxers in this fight. Tyson likes fighters coming at him, but I think Usyk will be on his toes and be moving non-stop and trying to counter punch. If Tyson wants to make this fight exciting I think he will have to put it on Usyk. Tyson can do this, as he’s the bigger man and does it still at long range. I think it will be a close fight.
“Tyson late stoppage or Usyk points majority.”
Matt MarshFormer British super-bantamweight champion
“Usyk is a great fighter one of the best but at heavyweight he is way to small. Tyson Fury isn’t the best heavyweight boxer but he is the best heavyweight in our generation.
“Tyson Fury wins purely because he is way bigger than Usyk.”
Andy GatenbyRetired unbeaten featherweight
“I can't wait for this one! I think Fury stops him. I think he’s going to come in heavy. Lean on him, headlock him and generally rough him up and bully him. Usyk's is an unreal fighter, but I think Fury will be too big and strong.”
Kieran Farrell, BEMFormer Central Area lightweight champion
“I believe 'The Gypsy King' will show his supremacy and dominance of this era of heavyweights. I think he’s just too big and clever for Usyk. Usyk is a phenomenal fighter but Tyson fury is the man in the heavyweight division, in my opinion.”
Dave Allen Commonwealth heavyweight title contender
“I sparred Usyk and, as brilliant as he was, he's not a big unit. He's not physically the strongest man in the world. I think Tyson would get to him.
“They're both outstanding. Two best talents of this generation, I think, as heavyweights.
“As special as Usyk is, Tyson, being around him as I have over the years, he's just a special fella really. He has vibes of other special athletes that can just do everything. Usyk is probably in the same bracket but can't get away from the size difference, cause it's massive.
“I think Fury wins, to be honest, I think he's too big.”
Bermane StiverneFormer WBC World heavyweight champion
“That Fury-Usyk fight is an interesting one but I’m going with Tyson Fury because he is the bigger fighter. Tyson fights like a super middleweight, he is this big tall giant who can fight, move and is awkward. It’s like having Floyd Mayweather but with a seven foot fighter. It’s not easy to fight Tyson Fury because of his style, he knows how to box. He’s also huge physically so I have to go with Fury due to what he can do.
“Don’t get me wrong, Usyk as an amateur I remember that he was very good and athletic but Oleksandr Usyk is not a real heavyweight though. I think because of Usyk’s ability, I don’t think he will get hit or hurt much so I think Fury wins by decision.”
Miles Shinkwin English light-heavyweight champion
“Wilder and an ageing Wlad aside, his wins aren’t against top calibre or anyone with particularly good boxing skills. Although no one that size should be able to move the way he does and he probably beats a lot of heavyweights in history, but I think that Usyk is special. All-time great special and think if, and it’s a huge if, he is fit enough to stay on his toes and not let Fury shut him down too often, then he can pick his way to a boring points win.”
Jamie Speight Three-time Southern Area champion
“Wow, a fight we’ve waited so long for. I have to be honest and say there is a reason Tyson has put this off for so long, even when Usyk accepted 70/30 split in Tyson's favour.
“As an ex professional fighter myself and now a professional trainer, I know it is a lot harder to punch down than it is to punch up, punching down leaves your chin hanging out to dry, and you can also fall into the range of the other fighter, and I believe Usyk has the technical ability, boxing brain and knowledge to make this a very hard, very uncomfortable fight for Tyson Fury.
“That being said, Tyson is not really training, he’s out of shape and I don’t think he’s taking his next fight very seriously. If this fight goes ahead in December this year, I think Usyk wins either on points or a late stoppage. If Tyson is to beat you Usyk, he needs to impose his size and weight early on, boss the smaller man all around the ring and bully him. It’s a very interesting match-up but right now I’m going with my head and that is Usyk.”
Sergio MichelMusician and boxing superfan
“Tyson Fury vs Olexandr Usyk will yield the first ever, Undisputed, Undefeated, Unified, Lineal Heavyweight Champion of The World. That's a true history making moment right there. Fury should win with ease. Too big, too strong, too skilled, too mobile and can take a punch too well.”
Arijan GorickiFeatherweight contender
“I think that Tyson will try to make this fight dirty by holding Usyk. But Usyk's rhythm and athleticism will be too much for Tyson and I see Usyk winning by UD or a controversial SD for Fury.”
Wanik Awdijan IBF Youth middleweight champion
“Usyk should be the underdog in this fight. Fury’s got all the advantages in this fight: height, weight, his style.
“In my opinion, this fight won't go the distance in favour of Tyson Fury.”
Ace AdamSuper-middleweight prospect
“I believe Fury will emerge victorious in this match. While Usyk may attempt some clever tactics from his playbook, I doubt they will prove sufficient to contend with Tyson Fury. Fury is likely to leverage his long reach and considerable weight advantage as the bout progresses.”
Oskari Metz European title contender
“Well first off, I’m very happy that all parties have agreed to make the fight. Leave it to Tyson Fury to cause some drama.
“I have a feeling Fury’s combination of size and skill will be too much for Usyk here.
“Usyk’s smaller, and while he did use his smarts, movement, and boxing ability to beat the bigger Joshua, Fury’s a superior boxer to Joshua… not to mention he’s even bigger. Either way, it’s a fight between two undefeated guys, so it’s a must-watch. Usyk will have to bust out his greatest chess and dance moves to get to Fury.
“However, I think at this weight, Fury’s a bit much for Usyk in the end.”
Paul SpeakBoxing Manager
“As outstanding as Usyk is as a boxer I think that Fury is just too big and to smart to be beaten by Fury.
“That said, it's heavyweight boxing and anything can happen. Usyk tries to wear his opponents down and go for it in the latter stages of the bout. I think that is the only chance he has of beating Fury, if Fury gets complacent.
“I’m going for Fury but how he does it is up to him.”
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