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Carlow Nationalist — I’m ready for a good fight – Tyson Fury reserved as Oleksandr Usyk bout looms

By Duncan Bech, PA, Riyadh

Tyson Fury refused to engage in the face off with Oleksandr Usyk in a muted final press conference ahead of Saturday’s undisputed world heavyweight showdown in Riyadh.

While Usyk stood staring at his rival in the customary ritual 48 hours out from the fight, Fury turned to the crowd and folded his arms.

The British WBC champion, wearing a flame suit in a nod to the event’s ‘Ring of Fire’ billing, began flexing his muscles and mouthing the words of Rocky IV theme music ‘Hearts on Fire’.

When he eventually turned his body to face Usyk he was still looking into the crowd and his Ukrainian opponent eventually bowed and left the stage, having had enough of the mind games.

Usyk spoke the final words at the press conference, summing up the attitude of both fighters by declaring “let the hands do the talking”.

Fury has been happy to stoke the flames this week but he was far more reserved on Thursday night as the biggest heavyweight clash for 25 years draws close.

“I want to thank God for the victory I’ve received already. I want to thank people for putting this event on and I want to thank Oleksandr Usyk for challenging me,” Fury said.

“I’m ready. I’ve got nothing else to say apart from I’m ready for a good fight.”

When asked why he didn’t look at Usyk, Fury said: “He’s a scary looking dude.”

Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk – Press Conference – Thursday May 16th
Tyson Fury takes on Oleksandr Usyk this weekend (Nick Potts/PA)

Perhaps in a nod to the death of London-based boxer Sherif Lawal when making his professional debut on Sunday, Fury offered a measured response when pressed for a message to Usyk.

“God bless him. I’ll say a prayer for him before the fight for us both to get out of the ring safely,” he said.

Usyk, who won his WBA, IBF and WBO belts by outpointing Anthony Joshua, arrived for the press conference wearing a white suit with a black and white sash showing a traditional Ukrainian pattern.

In a sign of his boredom as Sugar Hill Steward spoke at length, he mimicked Fury’s trainer.

Positioned behind his belts, he also spent time doodling with a pen and paper and when asked what he was drawing, he replied “it’s my homework. It’s a poem”, but would not elaborate any further.

Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk – Press Conference – Thursday May 16th
Lennox Lewis was in the crowd at the press conference (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’m happy to be here. I’m excited. Let’s make history. Enough,” was the former undisputed cruiserweight champion’s longest answer.

To underline the bout’s place in history, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield were among the crowd.

Lewis was the last man to rule the heavyweight division when he defeated Holyfield in 1999, before being stripped of the WBA belt the following year. Larry Holmes was also present.

“This is a great fight, it’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for,” Queensbury Promotions boss Frank Warren said.

“They’re the two best heavyweights in the world, both undefeated. The two best heavyweights of a generation.”



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