Sparring partner says Usyk has ‘looked the best in this camp’

One of Oleksandr Usyk’s chief sparring partners has claimed the unified heavyweight world champion was peaking before the Ukranian’s preparations were brought to a halt due to Tyson Fury sustaining a cut during a sparring session at his Saudi Arabian training camp. 

Fury claimed an elbow caused him to sustain a cut under the brow of his right eye when questioned on the MMA Hour. 

The pair had been expected to meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 17. However, the undisputed heavyweight encounter will now take place on May 18, which Queensberry Promotions and Turki Alalshikh confirmed.

Emanuel Odiase (1-0, 1KO), a former German amateur international, was helping Usyk prepare for his clash with Fury at the Ukrainian’s training camp in Valencia. 

Odiase, who is signed to Anthony Joshua’s 258 Management, believes Fury’s cut could potentially favour Usyk when the heavyweight pair finally come to blows on. 

“Three months is dangerous because you’ve seen the cut has been opened up,” Odiase told the Daily Mirror. “For sure, Usyk is going to have that in his gameplan right now to target that eye. He won’t go away from his usual gameplan; he will still do what he does, but you’ve seen how he got cut. If he’s in close and Usyk could do some boxing, it could open up again, which now is a huge factor."

Despite his lack of professional experience, Odiase has been a regular training partner for Usyk and trained alongside the Ukrainian throughout the negotiations for a proposed April 2023 fight at London’s Wembley Stadium – until negotiations collapsed. 

The German has previously been employed by Deontay Wilder as a sparring partner and trained and sparred alongside former unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. 

"He looked the best in this camp, as good as ever,” Odiase added. “I think he also felt it too. He was in good shape and the fight was postponed. As the man he [Usyk] is, I don’t think he will get distracted. I wish them all the best [Fury] and a lot of health. It’s annoying but that’s life. You’ve got to stay cool, calm and collected because if you let that stuff get in your head it’s not good for you.

"It's going to be annoying for him because he's [Usyk] been peaking in training camp. He's done that before. I was out in Turkey last March when he was preparing for their [Fury] fight that was supposed to happen in April but it never happened. He's in really good form and is prepared for the style Fury is going to bring to the table.”