Tyson Fury causes controversy with Ukraine war comments after Oleksandr Usyk defeat

Tyson Fury causes controversy with Ukraine war comments after Oleksandr Usyk defeat

Tyson Fury has caused controversy with comments regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine following his close defeat by Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk deservedly came out on top in Saturday night’s mammoth showdown in Riyadh, becoming the first undisputed champion of boxing’s heavyweight division since the great Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield in 1999.

The margin of victory was not as big as many expected despite the former undisputed cruiserweight champion and amateur king starting brilliantly and then weathering an impressive comeback from Fury in the middle rounds before almost forcing a stoppage in the ninth and controlling the bout thereafter.

The still unbeaten Usyk ended up winning a narrow split decision, with two judges scoring the fight in his favour, 115-112 and 114-113, and the other going 114-113 for Fury, who lost the WBC world title he had held since 2020 in the first defeat of his 36-fight professional career.

Most onlookers felt the right decision had been reached in the end, though Fury was disappointed to have lost and said he felt he had done more than enough to win.

He then caused controversy by claiming that Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia had led to people siding with his opponent, while he also stated his desire to immediately activate his clause for a rematch in October.

“I believe I won that fight,” Fury said in the ring afterwards. “I believe he won a few of the rounds but I won the majority of them.

“We both put on a good fight, best we could do. His country is at war, so people are siding with the country at war.

“Make no mistake, I won that fight in my opinion and I’ll be back. I’ve got a rematch clause.

“I thank Jesus for all the victories he’s given me, I’ve had a split-decision loss to a good little man and I thank him again.

“In the mighty name of Jesus, we go back home to our families and we run it back in October. Good luck to Oleksandr, well done. God bless you.”

In his post-fight press conference, Fury said: “It was a close fight, I thought I did enough but I’m not a judge.

“I can’t judge a fight while I’m boxing it. If they would have said to me in the last round, ‘you’re down, go out and try and finish him’ - I would have done that.

“Everyone in the corner believed we were up. All I had to do was just keep boxing and doing what I was doing. I thought I was getting it.

“It was what it was, I’m not going to cry about spilt milk. I’ve had plenty of victories and I gave God the glory.

“I’ve had this one loss in a close fight with a good man like Usyk. It was what it was. I tried my best in there, I was having a lot of fun actually. I don’t know if it looked like it, but I was playing around, hands behind my back.

“I was enjoying it. He’s a good fighter, I was catching him and he was catching me. It was a good fight.”