Oleksandr Usyk has dared Tyson Fury to target his body when they finally fight.
The date of their undisputed world heavyweight title fight remains the subject of uncertainty, owing to Usyk’s insistence that they have signed a contract to fight on December 23 in Saudi Arabia and that of Fury’s promoter Frank Warren that it will instead take place in 2024.
Fury’s struggles in his victory over Francis Ngannou have contributed to Warren’s belief that he “needs protecting from himself” via a postponement, but whenever they meet Usyk has warned Fury that if he prioritises landing to the body he is wasting his time.
The Ukrainian has long been perceived as vulnerable to the body, contributing to Daniel Dubois targeting him there throughout their fight in August for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. On one occasion Dubois dropped Usyk with a low blow from which the referee Luis Pabon gave him several minutes to recover, but asked of the risk of Fury therefore being encouraged to target him similarly, he responded: “If [Fury] thinks that way, it’s very good.
“Listen, sometimes when you have no capacity to win using the rules – the certain rules of boxing – you try to invent tricky things to get the victory. If you watch the fight on tape, you can see – notice – that he tried the low blow not just once, and the ones I could stand just missed, but the one we’re talking about, I did feel in reality. When I saw that the referee [Luis Pabon] stopped the fight for a low blow, and he told me that I had up to five minutes, I took my time – I don’t know how long it was; a minute; a minute and a half – to recover.”
Rumours persist that Usyk’s compatriot Vasyl Lomachenko will fight George Kambosos Jr at lightweight in 2024. Except for his visit to Riyadh to watch Fury-Ngannou, Usyk – at 36 narrowly older than the 35-year-old Fury – has been in Spain preparing to fight Fury, but he hopes that his admired compatriot will soon announce his next fight.
“I’ve heard the rumours that he’s planning the fight with Kambosos,” he said. “I have no idea when the fight might take place. It’s up to him to decide and announce, of course, but talking from myself, I would love to see Vasily back in the ring.
“I would love him to get into the fight, and to become the champion again. I want this.”
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