Boxing-Fury wants to spar with Wayne Rooney in preparation for Usyk bout

FILE PHOTO: Boxing - WBC World Heavyweight Title - Tyson Fury v Derek Chisora - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - December 3, 2022 Tyson Fury in action during his fight against Derek Chisora Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain's WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury has chosen an unusual sparring partner for a potential fight with Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk after ex-Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney agreed to help him prepare for his next bout.

The Old Trafford club's record goalscorer Rooney, now in charge of Major League Soccer team D.C. United, is a big admirer of compatriot Fury, who said he was keen to get involved.

"I spoke to Wayne last night and he's well up for it," Fury told ITV at the weekend. "But he's a right-handed person, so he's got to switch up to be southpaw left-handed.

"So we're going to bring Wayne in for preparation for Usyk."

Asked if he was joking, Fury replied: "No, very, very serious. He's agreed, so he's going to come into camp for around four weeks to help me."

The boxer added that he was a big fan of Rooney, who sang Fury's praises earlier this month after the champion beat Derek Chisora to retain his WBC title.

"I think he's the best we've seen in a long time, and I don't think anyone will beat him. I think he's an absolute legend for what he's done for boxing," Rooney had told TalkSport.

Fury responded last week, saying he grew up watching Rooney as a youngster for England and United, adding that the forward was a huge boxing fan and comes from a boxing family.

"So, hopefully, we can have a little spar in the future sometime," Fury added. "I do need someone smaller to prepare for Usyk. Wayne, if you're listening, get on the blower, son."

Fury is set to fight Usyk in early 2023, after the Ukrainian retained his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles with a split-decision win over Britain's Anthony Joshua in August.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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