Last week saw the official announcement of a long awaited undisputed heavyweight world championship. WBC champion Tyson Fury meets IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 17.
“We never 100 percent confirmed December 23.” Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “There was a lot of speculation and everyone was preparing for the 23rd of December. Things happen, the fight didn’t go easy, looks like Tyson got a couple of cuts. They went ten rounds, the distance, so we were expecting that it was going to be moved. Yeah, it wasn’t a surprise. It is boxing, he got hit with a couple of good punches, with the cuts and stuff he just needed some rest time.”
Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) attempts to become a two weight undisputed world champion when he collides with Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) in the Middle East. The Ukrainian superstar ruled the roost a division below, winning the World Boxing Super Series which culminated in a four belt win over Murat Gassiev in Russia nearly five years ago.
“Of course, It has always been the goal.” Klimas explained. “Nobody believed he could be undisputed at cruiserweight, nobody believed he could even come into the heavyweight division. Look what he is doing, look what he is bringing and how things are changing right now.”
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told ProBox TV just last week that, “Tyson Fury doesn’t know how to deal with a southpaw.” Klimas gave his take.
“Yeah, he is not great with southpaw fighters.” Klimas said. "He is not great with small guys. Usyk has both! He is smaller than Fury and is a southpaw, so we will see.”
Fury hit the canvas in his last bout with boxing debutant and MMA powerhouse Francis Ngannou over a fortnight ago. Fury battled through to earn a contentious split decision win.
“I was caring for Tyson as if he was my own.” Klimas said of Fury’s last fight with Ngannou. “I thought he won. It was a very close fight, but I saw him winning the fight. I was really surprised by Francis’s skills. He [Fury] might not have taken him that seriously, I’m sure it was hard to prepare because he doesn’t know what Francis is going to bring. You can’t find any films because he has never fought as a boxer. He came out 100 percent ready and prepared, and that’s why he did a good job.”