The unusual way Oleksandr Usyk found Tyson Fury body doubles for sparring

The unusual way Oleksandr Usyk found Tyson Fury body doubles for sparring

Oleksandr Usyk launched his own app to find sparring partners to imitate Tyson Fury, the Ukrainian has revealed.

Usyk will defend the unified heavyweight titles against Fury in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, while the Briton puts his WBC belt on the line. Barring a draw, the contest will crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 24 years.

Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, has excelled since moving to heavyweight in 2019, but Fury is a notoriously awkward opponent – combining significant size with quick reflexes and high in-ring IQ.

As such, finding sparring partners who can imitate the “Gypsy King” is a difficult task, but Usyk’s team have revealed how he successfully navigated that challenge – with the help of an app that uses AI.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Usyk’s camp manager Sergey Lapin, who runs the Ready To Fight app, said: “It’s become significantly easier to find sparring partners since we launched Ready To Fight.

“Instead of calling 100 contacts trying to organise everything, now everything is all in your phone. You have direct access to a manager or a fighter and everything is transparent. The vast majority of Usyk’s sparring partners were actually found through the app.

“They have come from different countries all over the world. We don’t have a connection to, for example, Africa – which we’ve had a few sparring partners from.

“But without the app it would have been hard to find guys with the same weight, same height, et cetera, as Fury. Of course, there are still guys who Usyk sparred before who came into camp this time as well. [But] the vast majority was found through the app.”

Usyk also lifted the lid on his training regime, saying he spars 15 three-and-a-half-minute rounds with 20-second rests. He has reportedly boxed over 250 rounds in this camp, with a new sparring partner in every round – using over 40 partners overall.

Usyk, 37, and Fury, 35, will both enter their fight unbeaten as professionals.

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