Boxing - Usyk will struggle against elite, big heavyweight like me - Fury

  • Boxing
  • Wednesday, 10 Apr 2024

Boxing - Oleksander Usyk Press Conference - RH Bayren Hotel, Gandia, Spain - February 6, 2024 Oleksander Usyk after the press conference REUTERS/Pablo Morano

(Reuters) - Tyson Fury said he respected Oleksandr Usyk ahead of their unified world heavyweight title bout but questioned whether his opponent could contend with a much bigger fighter after making the step up to the heavyweight class.

The long-awaited fight between the two undefeated boxers was originally scheduled for Feb. 17 in Riyadh but postponed two weeks before the bout when Britain's Fury suffered a cut during sparring.

Billed as the "Ring of Fire", the fight will now take place on May 18 to unify Fury's WBC heavyweight championship with the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts held by Usyk, one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world.

Fury, who admitted to being a bit depressed when the fight was postponed, said he was in fantastic shape but did not want the bout to be portrayed as one between two men who despised each other.

"This is not personal, it's strictly business for both fighters. I don't hate him, I respect him as a man, as a fighter," Fury told a news conference on Wednesday.

"He's unified heavyweight champion so anyone should respect his achievements. But I'm very confident in my ability.

"My personal opinion is we have weight divisions for a reason. When the cruiserweights step up to the big boys, they're found wanting. You can beat the average big ones but not the elite big ones."

Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion who vacated his titles to move up to heavyweight, is six feet three inches. Fury is six inches taller and has a longer reach than the Ukrainian.

"This is my time, my destiny, my era and my generation," Fury added.

"If I can't beat Usyk, I'm no good, clearly. I'm not going to pull any punches (saying that)."

While the Briton has taken every opportunity to dismiss his opponent, Usyk has been far more reserved.

"This is showbiz, entertainment - if they don't talk about what's going on then people lose interest. If you don't talk smack in this game, you're never going to make it," Fury said.

"My advice is talk smack, then people notice you."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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