Tyson Fury outlines key factor that will secure victory against Oleksandr Usyk

Tyson Fury has insisted that his size will be the factor that decides his title fight with Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia.

The unbeaten Fury will face Usyk, also undefeated, on 18 May to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000. Briton Fury will enter Riyadh as WBC champion, while Usyk holds the unified belts.

The Ukrainian also has pedigree as the only cruiserweight champion of the four-belt era, an accolade he achieved before moving up to heavyweight. Yet the fact that Usyk is a natural cruiserweight will be his downfall in May, according to Fury.

Speaking at a press conference at Morecambe FC’s stadium on Wednesday (10 April), the 35-year-old said: “He [was] undisputed cruiserweight champion, he’s unified heavyweight champion, so anyone would have to respect the man’s achievements.

“Good fighter, so I’ve got a tough challenge in front of me, but I’m very confident in my ability and I’m very confident I’ll beat the guy. Please don’t say that Oleksandr Usyk is s*** after I beat him.

“My personal opinion is: There are weight classes for a reason. When the cruiserweights step up to the big boys, usually they get found wanting. You can beat the average big ones, but you can’t beat the elite big ones, because size matters. He’s gonna be found wanting when he fights me on 18 May.”

Fury’s father John – his “secret weapon” – has played a key role in his camp for the title fight, but Sugarhill Steward will take the lead in the heavyweight’s corner.

“Usyk is able to out-think these guys,” the American said. “They may think about one or two things, but he’s thinking about three or four. Tyson’s the same.”

Tyson Fury at Morecambe FC’s stadium for a press conference on Wednesday (Getty Images)
Tyson Fury at Morecambe FC’s stadium for a press conference on Wednesday (Getty Images)

Steward went on to give a one-word answer when asked to predict the outcome of the fight: “Knockout.” It was a sentiment echoed by Fury’s promoter Frank Warren and manager Spencer Brown, while John Fury predicted a late stoppage – but only after saying: “[It will be a] chess match [...] It’ll end up a bit of a boring fight to watch.”

Fury vs Usyk was originally scheduled for February, but the Briton sustained a cut within two weeks of the fight, forcing its postponement.

“At first, I was a little bit depressed for the first day or so, but afterwards – like all things in life – I realised God’s timing is impeccable,” Fury said on Wednesday. “It’s bang on time. It wasn’t my time to fight for undisputed.”

Fury also insisted that his rivalry with Usyk, 37, is “not personal”. “Usyk’s team are all lovely, decent people,” he said. “It’s strictly business. There’s a lot on the line, but I don’t hate him and he don’t hate me.

“He’s a good husband, a good God-fearing man, so I respect him as a man and as a fighter.”