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Oleksandr Usyk On Tyson Fury: “He’s Running”

By: Sean Crose

Oleksandr Usyk is currently in the United States, at least in part to raise money for his war torn Ukrainian homeland. On Saturday the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titlist appeared at the Theater in Madison Square Garden to watch his countryman Vasyl Lomachenko battle Jamaine Ortiz in an ESPN+ broadcast main event. Speaking with ESPN’s Mark Kriegal, 20-0 multi-titlist Usyk was asked about fellow heavyweight kingpin, WBC and lineal champion Tyson Fury, who is set to fight longtime contender Derek Chisora for the third time this December. “It kind of makes me a little bit laugh about it,” Usyk said through manager Egis Klimas. “Why he’s doing this?”

Usyk then made it clear that he had believed he and Fury were already set to fight in the near future. “I think we already agreed to him, to fight ” he said of Fury, “and now he’s running telling I don’t want to fight.” When Kriegal asked Usyk if he thought Fury was avoiding him, Usyk couldn’t have been more clear. “I know that.” Of course, this kind of talk is common in the fight game. In fact, trash talk always has, or at least has since the late 1800s, been a part of the sport. Usyk, however, isn’t known as the type to run with the mouth.

Still, Usyk wasn’t about to write off Fury’s skills as a fighter. “He’s danger,” he said of the towering Englishman. “He’s big, he’s giant, he’s very smart. He knows what to do in the ring. He’s dangerous.” Not that Usyk appeared the least bit wary of eventually facing Fury in the ring. “Yes, I want to fight with him,” he said, “and we need to unify all the titles.” So when did Usyk feel a bout with Fury would actually go down” “I think it’s going to be end of February, beginning of March,” he said.

Provided Fury bests Chisora in their early December matchup, a bout with Usyk would make all the sense in the world. In fact, it really is the only fight that would make sense for each fighter. The winner would become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, after all. Still, it’s worth noting that a lot can happen between now and the first quarter of 2023. The fact that Usyk’s homeland is in the midst of a bloody war with Russia darkly attests to that fact. Sometimes even a possible undisputed heavyweight title matchup has to be seen in perspective.

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