By: Sean Crose
“I am very happy, by the way,” WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk told Volodymyr Kibelkov (as reported by The Mirror). And what was it that Usyk was particularly happy about? The fight between himself and Tyson Fury falling through. This, of course, no doubt comes as a surprise for many, as the consensus seems to have been that it was Fury who didn’t want the fight, not Usyk. Indeed, since talks between the Usyk and Fury camps fell through several weeks ago, it’s Fury who has borne the brunt of the criticism. In truth, only those directly involved in the negotiation know the truth regarding whose to blame.
“Even though it sounds weird,” Usyk continued, “I am very happy that this fight is not happening and I am going home. You’ve got to understand me, I trained for three months straight.” If ever there was a good reason for a boxer not to want to fight, it belonged to Usyk, whose Ukrainian homeland has been torn apart by war since Russian forces invaded over a year ago. “Then I get to come back home and spend time with my children,” he said, “and I just enjoy myself.”
Although he was clearly angry at Fury and his camp, the undefeated multi-division titlist now appears to feel things occured for a reason. “It was supposed to happen,” said Usyk. “God tells me this was supposed to happen. I see that nothing is happening, he is trying to play with us, and I told him: ‘That’s it, goodbye.’ He wants to copy Muhammad Ali, but it’s a bad copy.” Even though he’s happy he was able to return home, it’s obvious Usyk still feels Fury wasn’t serious about the fight.
Without a doubt, fans are unhappy that the fight fell apart. The match was set to go down this month, after all. What’s more, the winner would have been declared the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the first since the reign of Lennox Lewis years ago. Of course none of this means that the two men still won’t meet in the ring for all the proverbial marbles. Each fighter is ambitious by nature. The difference in skill sets makes the pairing all the more attractive. The towering Fury has transformed into a boxer-puncher under the tutelage of trainer Sugar Hill Stuart. Usyk, on the other hand, is a ring technician who proved in his victories over Anthony Joshua that he’s right at home facing bigger opponents.
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