LAS VEGAS – Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk can’t happen next because Usyk is contractually committed to an immediate rematch against Anthony Joshua.
But if Ukraine’s Usyk beats Joshua again and Fury makes a successful second defense of his WBC belt in his first fight next year, Fury-Usyk could materialize later in 2022. Their fight for full heavyweight supremacy would be fascinating, but Frank Warren feels Fury is too big and too good for the former undisputed cruiserweight champion.
Warren, whose company co-promotes Fury, broke down a potential Fury-Usyk fight following Fury’s incredible 11th-round knockout victory over Deontay Wilder earlier this month at T-Mobile Arena.
“Usyk against Tyson? I fancy Tyson,” Warren told a small group of reporters. “I think he’s the bigger man. I think he’s got the skills. They’ve both got similar skills. They’ve got hand speed, footwork’s great in the ring. But Tyson’s a much, much bigger guy. And, as you’ve seen, he’ll come and fight.”
The 6-feet-9 Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) is six inches taller than Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and would out-weigh him by 50-plus pounds, based on their official weights for their recent respective victories over Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) and Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs). Usyk’s unique skill set still would present plenty of challenges for Fury if they were to fight for Fury’s WBC title and Usyk’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts.
Warren is confident that Usyk will maintain his potential position for a fight with Fury by beating Joshua again in their immediate rematch, which could take place in March or April, according to Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter. That said, Warren expects a motivated Joshua to take a different approach to Usyk than he did during a 12-round fight he clearly lost September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
“I think he’ll fancy the fight more now, after the last one,” Warren said of Joshua. “I mean, you know, I don’t know if it was true, what [Joshua] was saying or not, but he said his instructions from his corner was not to go for a knockout and just box him. He nearly knocked him over. He hurt him early on in the fight. In that last round, they were about to throw the towel in. You see [trainer Rob McCracken] swirling [it] around.”
Warren noted, too, that Usyk won’t become complacent now that he has made heavyweight history and is a two-division champion.
“He ain’t no Ruiz,” Warren said in reference to former champ Andy Ruiz Jr. “He’s not gonna be training for a rematch in his larder. You know, he’s a proper athlete. And he got a very good trainer. He’s got Lomachenko’s father, who’s a marvelous trainer.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.