The right call? Is Fury taking ‘tactical’ weight gamble for Usyk?

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The right call? Is Fury taking ‘tactical’ weight gamble for Usyk?

A streamlined version of Tyson Fury could be on show at the public workouts ahead of his undisputed title fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum told Sky Sports he had “never seen him look like that”.

Fury is significantly bigger than Oleksandr Usyk, a former undisputed champion down at cruiserweight, and this new condition has fuelled speculation that he is giving up too much of that size advantage.

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Tyson Fury showed how confident he is by singing it’s ‘written in the stars’ that he will be crowned champion over Oleksandr Usyk

However SugarHill Steward, Fury’s trainer, has dismissed such claims. He expects Fury only to be “a little bit” lighter when he boxes Usyk, live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday.

“It’s not even that he’s lighter, he’s just more fit. He hasn’t dropped a bunch of weight just to get down low. It’s just weight where he can be stronger and more mobile and agile and everything else,” Steward told Sky Sports.

“It takes some work to get there and he’s at the point in his life where he wanted to get there. So this is where it’s at.”

He looked back to the criticism he received when he first took on Fury, ahead of the Briton’s second WBC title fight with Deontay Wilder.

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Ahead of his much anticipated undisputed heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk, relive Tyson Fury’s incredible trilogy of fights with Deontay Wilder

Fury packed on further bulk for that fight against the power-punching American.

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Tyson Fury’s trainer SugarHill Steward says he is not concerned by the speculation around his weight in the same way it has been in the past and predicts victory for his fighter.

“When he fought Wilder for the second time he came in at 273lbs and everybody was questioning, everyone was doubting everything. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Why not? Why would you wait to get knocked out?

“In the first fight he waited around and he got caught and knocked down in the 12th round and barely got up,” Steward continued.

“Went on to fight but that’s how you got a draw. I said I’ll make sure you don’t get the draw. You’re going to get a knockout. You’re going to push him and let’s see what he got. Bully the bully.

“See how he likes it. Didn’t like it too well.”

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Oleksandr Usyk was tight-lipped on what his approach for Tyson Fury would be, but did reveal he has a great plan!

The trainer was perfectly confident that Fury’s size for this fight will be functional. “Just strong. Very strong to me,” Steward said.

“It’s not like it’s a weight cut. The way he looks and the way he’s moving and the way he’s boxing, the way he’s punching, all this is because he wants to be better.”

He might have to be better. Usyk, the holder of the unified WBO, WBA and IBF titles, has beaten Anthony Joshua and will be the best opponent Fury has faced certainly since Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, the victory that saw the Briton become a world champion for the first time.

Fury previously warned Usyk that “size does matter”. He’s trimmed that warning now. Fury will still intend to bring his size to bear but his conditioning, it appears, has also kept it in control for this camp.

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Tyson Fury was on good form on media day ahead of his undisputed world heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk as he revealed how much he enjoys trips to the tip among other things!

Has Fury lost too much weight?

Matt Macklin (world title challenger & Sky Sports pundit):

“He looks in good shape. He looks healthy, he looks well, he looks big. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a bit lighter. I don’t think he’ll be dramatically lighter.

“I think he’ll go where his body takes him. I think possibly for the third fight with Wilder he did purposely come in heavy because he knew he was going to take the fight to him and he wanted to manhandle him. But I think with this one, he’ll have trained hard, he’ll have eaten good food but I don’t think he’ll have been on a deficit to get down.

“I don’t think he’ll bulk up but I don’t think he’ll be trying to trim down to a certain weight either. For the last two fights with Wilder I do think he purposely bulked up to have more physical presence.”

Frazer Clarke (Olympic medallist & Sky Sports pundit) says:

“I think he’s looked at Usyk and thought ‘I’m still bigger than you, I’m still stronger than you. I want to close that gap on the speed a little bit’.

“Even if Tyson Fury comes in at 19 stone, he is considerably bigger than Usyk. I don’t think it will have that much of an effect. I also think in terms of punch resistance, it’s not Wilder he’s up against. It’s Usyk, a considerable difference in their past knockouts. Don’t get me wrong, Usyk is dangerous but he’s not the same puncher as Klitschko, as Wilder.

“I think he looks healthy. He looks really good. Still considerably bigger than Usyk. Longer, heavier and stronger.

“Usyk can cover a lot of distance in the ring, he puts punches together and I think it would be a disadvantage to come in so heavy against Usyk. You’ve got to try and get your reactions as quick as his. Because he’s going to be little, he’s going to be agile. They’ve made a tactical decision during the camp.”

It’s one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight championship on Saturday May 18, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book the fight now.

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