Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: Fury won’t look Usyk in the eye


Around 2,500 British fans are expected at the Kingdom Arena on Saturday and a good few hundred were at Thursday’s news conference at the Boulevard venue, although at times they were drowned out by a significantly smaller number of Usyk fans.

Drones hovered above in the clear Riyadh night sky, as the world’s sweat-drenched media and photographers jostled for the best spot.

Boxing greats and former foes Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis watched on from the front row, while a number of ‘A list’ celebrities are expected to turn up on fight night.

Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, recited words from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem which was slightly lost on the boxing crowd.

“If I was you, I wouldn’t worry about poets, I’d worry about your man on Saturday,” replied Fury’s manager, Spencer Brown.

For a fight billed as ‘Ring of Fire’, neither man, quite surprisingly, brought the heat when it was time to talk.

Usyk – an Olympic gold medallist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion – is undefeated in 21 pro fights and holds the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

He appeared more focused on doodling on a pad of paper than the news conference.

“It’s my homework,” Usyk joked, before adding it was a poem which he would share later.

WBC champion Fury has won 34 fights, with one draw, but only narrowly beat boxing debutant Francis Ngannou in October.

For months Fury has been belittling Usyk’s heavyweight capabilities. This week, he has changed approach – complimenting his opponent as the best fighter he will ever face.


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